The passing of Queen Elizabeth II marks not just the loss of the longest reigning monarch in England’s history — she held the title for over 70 years — it also means a seismic shift in the entire structure of the Royal Family.
As you most likely know, Her Majesty’s eldest son Prince Charles has inherited the throne. It was unclear which name he would use as King — on the table were all his names: Charles, Philip, Arthur, and George. Yes, he could have been King Arthur. It’s not even unusual — Elizabeth’s father was Albert Frederick Arthur George, and he went with George VI. Instead he will go with what’s expected — after all he’s been in the public eye as Charles his entire life, why change now? As such, his official title has now been announced:
King Charles III.
Charles will officially be proclaimed at St James’s Palace in London, before a ceremonial body called the Accession Council. That will have to wait a day or so. As we know he is staying the rest of the night at Balmoral, where his family gathered to say goodbye to their matriarch. It will take even longer after that for him to be officially crowned. The coronation ceremony is a spectacle and takes months of planning. Queen Elizabeth’s was a full 16 months after she succeeded to the throne.
One controversial title question was answered earlier this year, by Queen Elizabeth herself. Charles’ wife, Camilla, will become “Queen Consort” — the title for the wife of the reigning king — in accordance with the wishes of Elizabeth. Her Majesty expressed back in February, the day before her Platinum Jubilee, that it was her “sincere wish” for Camilla to take that official title despite being Charles’ second wife after Princess Diana. The original plan, back in 2005, was that she would be “Princess Consort.”
As Charles ascends, his own eldest, Prince William, officially becomes next in line. As heir to the throne, William’s title will change, as will that of his wife Kate Middleton. They will now be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, a title created to provide income for the heir. William will NOT immediately inherit the title of Prince of Wales, however. That particular title is not automatically conferred and must be gifted by the ruling monarch in a special ceremony, at a time of his choosing. Will and Kate will continue to hold the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well.
Naturally, the entire line of succession moves up: Prince George, 9, will be second in line behind his father, followed by 7-year-old Princess Charlotte and 4-year-old Prince Louis.
Prince Harry is still in the line of succession despite walking away from Royal life. He is now 5th in line, followed by his children Archie and Lilibet. In the unlikely event of Harry’s ascension, his wife Meghan Markle would then be Queen Consort. Wild to think about, right??
Strangely also still in the line of succession is Prince Andrew, who comes next at 8th. Rather upsetting to think about him being so close to the throne if we’re being honest. He is followed by his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, as 9th and 10th in line, respectively.
That should cover all of the immediate changes.
[Image via MEGA/John Rainford/WENN.]