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Why Camilla Doesn't Use the Title 'Princess of Wales'

Town and Country logo Town and Country 8/13/2018 Temi Adebowale

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall et al. looking at a phone © Chris Jackson - Getty Images Understanding everyone's titles in the British royal family can be a little confusing. There are different guidelines for those who are born into royalty versus those who marry into the family, and even then, the rules are a bit tricky.

Traditionally, when a woman marries into the British royal family, she gets the female version of her husband's title. That's how Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex; Prince Harry was given the title of Duke of Sussex when they got married in May. Similarly, when Lady Diana Spencer married the Prince of Wales-Prince Charles-she became the Princess of Wales.

Now that Prince Charles is married to Camilla, it's Camilla who should be referred to as HRH (Her Royal Highness) The Princess of Wales. But instead, she goes by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, which is the feminine version of one of Charles's other titles. The title of Duke of Cornwall is traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch.

Prince Charles and woman posing for a picture: Royal Marriage Blessing At Windsor Castle © Tim Graham - Getty Images Royal Marriage Blessing At Windsor Castle

The reason Camilla isn't styled as the Princess of Wales is actually a simple one. Although Diana was not the first Princess of Wales, the title became strongly associated with her.

And as Marlene Koenig, royal expert and author of the blog Royal Musings, further explains, the decision was also made to avoid stirring up ill feelings toward Camilla.

When she married Prince Charles, "Camilla was not popular or well liked, [though] this has changed a lot since the marriage as Camilla has taken on a lot of patronages and Charles is a lot happier," Koenig says. "Still, [there was] a lot of tension and anger among a certain element of the population-so it was decided that Camilla would be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall, even though, of course, she is the Princess of Wales."

a person wearing a hat: Royal Ascot 2018 - Day 2 © Samir Hussein - Getty Images Royal Ascot 2018 - Day 2

While Camilla has become more popular in recent years, the style change stuck.

Camilla's title when Charles becomes king is equally controversial. When the couple got married, Clarence House stated that Camilla would adopt the style of Princess consort when Charles ascends to the throne, even though she would legally be Queen consort. However, in 2018, Clarence House removed the statement about Camilla being styled as Princess consort, and when asked by a member of Parliament, Constitutional Affairs Minister Christopher Leslie said that, "This is absolutely unequivocal that she automatically becomes queen when he becomes king."


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