Keep Track Of These Big Changes After Charles Becomes King
So... does Camilla become queen, or what?
It’s truly the end of on era: On Sept. 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom died after 70 years on the throne. After seven decades as queen, she was the second-longest-serving monarch in history, and the only monarch that many people remember. With a literal lifetime since the last time a new king or queen ascended to the British throne, there are a lot of new changes in the works. Here’s what you should know about what happens now that Charles has become king.
After Queen Elizabeth II, 96, was put under close medical supervision at Balmoral Castle as of Sept. 8, her doctors, friends, family — and people all over the world — were concerned about her health.“The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime,” U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss wrote in a Sept. 8 tweet. “My thoughts — and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom — are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time.”
And at 1:30 p.m. ET, the royal family announced that the queen had, indeed, passed away. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” read a statement shared in a tweet, naming Queen Elizabeth’s favorite Scottish estate. It also effectively announced Charles’ ascension as king. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
The queen's reign began when she was just 25 years old, almost immediately after the death of her father, George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952. Now, with her death, the responsibility of the crown passes immediately to the next in line: Prince — now King— Charles.
When Is King Charles’ Coronation?
On Sept. 9, King Charles III made his first public address with a pre-recorded video from Buckingham Palace, where he paid tribute to the queen and expressed his love for Harry and Meghan.
While he doesn’t *technically* have possession over the crown just yet, the new monarch was bestowed the title of King of the United Kingdom immediately upon his mother’s death. According to Reader’s Digest, an “accession council,” made up of a group of specially tasked advisors, will gather at St. James’s Palace in London to carry out the ceremony for the official coronation. The king will then swear an oath, and the country’s Parliament members will also take oaths of allegiance to serve him.
It might be awhile before the King gets his official coronation, though, given that a massive ceremony like this will take quite some time to organize. In 1952, the year Queen Elizabeth took the throne, it was a full 16 months between when her father, George VI, died on Feb. 6 of that year, and when she was officially crowned on June 2, 1953.
Will Camilla Be Queen?
It’s not guaranteed that the spouse of a monarch be given the title “king” or “queen.” In fact, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband of more than 70 years, never held that title — instead, he was known as the “Prince Consort.”
But this isn’t the case for Camilla, King Charles III’s wife. Per the BBC, Queen Elizabeth herself said in February 2022 it’s her “sincere wish” for Camilla to be known as “Queen Consort,” once Charles takes the throne. And in Charles’ address on Sept. 9, he said, "in recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort."
Do Will & Kate's Titles Change?
As Prince Charles becomes King of the United Kingdom, Prince William — now first in line for the throne — has also undergone a title change. Following the queen’s death, William was stripped of his former title of Duke of Cornwall and officially became the Price of Wales. William wasn’t the only one who gets a title change — his wife, the former Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, also changed in rank within the British monarchy and became the Princess of Wales (a title previously held by Princess Diana). In his first speech as king on Sept. 9, Charles said, "With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given," per CNN.
While the queen’s death is undoubtedly a huge moment of change, there’s still a long future ahead for the British monarchy.
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