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Former Duchess Camilla’s coronation as Queen jeopardizes British identity, tradition

Buckingham Palace website
Former Duchess Camilla’s title as Queen rather than Queen Consort is likely to further exacerbate British discontent towards the monarchy. In the U.K.’s post-Brexit political climate, defining national identity was already a daunting task; the royal family’s decision to refer to Queen Camilla without the term Consort has only added to the confusion.

Former Duchess Camilla was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland May 6 despite her lack of direct descent from a monarch, according to AP News. The decision to crown the former Duchess as Queen has sparked controversy and discontent among the British public; according to survey results from the Mirror, only 14% of British adults feel that Queen Camilla should be referred to as “Queen.”

Traditionally, the spouse of a reigning monarch is granted the title of Queen Consort or Prince Consort, which signifies the spouse as a reigning monarch separate from the royal bloodline. Seeing as Queen Camilla is linked to the royal family only through marriage, it seems appropriate she is given the “Consort” title. 

In addition, Duchess Camilla only recently received the title of Queen Consort as a gesture of gratitude for her service from Queen Elizabeth II. In her Platinum Jubilee Accession Day message, the former monarch wrote that it was her “most sincere wish that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.” In response, former Prince Charles declared, “We are deeply conscious of the honor represented by my mother’s wish,” according to Time Magazine.

Prior to the Queen’s announcement, Camilla was intended to receive the title “Princess Consort,” according to Sky News. In 2020, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla confirmed this plan through a spokesperson from Clarence House, the former administrative headquarters for the royals, who confirmed, “The intention is for The Duchess to be known as Princess Consort when The Prince accedes to the throne.”

Despite the former Queen’s wishes, the royal couple revealed that Duchess Camilla would drop the term consort from her title with the title  “Queen Camilla” appearing in the public coronation invitation.

Disregarding Queen Elizabeth’s final wishes jeopardizes long-standing traditions that are intrinsic to the continuity of the royal family. The timing of this decision is particularly imprudent as the U.K. is grappling with the death of the beloved Queen Elizabeth II. The former Queen was not only a famous British public figure but also a key component of British identity and is someone who cannot easily be replaced. 

The Guardian reports that value placed on the monarchy is at a historic low, with three in 10 Britons believing that the monarchy is “very important.” Now more than ever, the royal family must preserve its reputation by respecting the late Queen’s request and providing a sense of continuity for the British people.

In a time when the British national identity is challenged due to the exit from the European Union and political shifts as three Prime Ministers have taken office in the past year, the monarchy serves as a beacon of stability. When royal traditions are also broken, the British public is likely to truly lose their last semblance of patriotism and identity.

Thus, while British citizens consider what role the monarchy should play in the nation’s future, it is the duty of the royal family to provide stability. Disregarding Queen Elizabeth II’s wishes and altering Queen Camilla’s title risks the U.K.’s ability to overcome a period that has already faced significant changes to both the political sphere and the monarchy.

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About the Contributors
Tara Behbehani
Tara Behbehani, Opinions Editor: Online
Tara Behbehani ('25) is the Opinions Editor: Online of The Standard. Behbehani’s passion for reading and writing urged her to take a journalism course. Aside from The Standard, Behbehani is on the debate team and co-leads the Interfaith and Dialogue club.
Annika Skorski
Annika Skorski, Lead Opinions Editor
Annika Skorski (’25) is the Lead Opinions Editor for The Standard. She joined the newspaper in Grade 9 because she enjoys connecting with the global community by reporting on current events to challenge and broaden others' thinking. Outside the newsroom, she leads Model United Nations, loves to read and participates in varsity volleyball, tennis as well as community partnerships.

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