The late Queen Elizabeth's unexpected rule break to secure Camilla's role within the monarchy

"They were backtracking very quickly."

Camilla Queen Consort Queen Elizabeth II
(Image credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty)

Throughout her time as monarch, Queen Elizabeth II was known to fervently follow royal rules. From strict etiquette instructions to secret signals, she was largely traditional in her approach as head of the royal family.  

However, she was also known to break convention on a handful of occasions - particularly when it came to ensuring equality and fairness within her family. She famously changed UK succession laws in 2013, just before Prince George was born, to ensure that if Prince William and Kate Middleton had daughters that they would not be outranked by any younger brothers. 

And it seems that she also took the same approach with Camilla, Queen Consort to ensure that she had 'stability' within the institution. 

As she celebrated her 70th anniversary as Queen, the late monarch released a statement explaining that she wished for her daughter-in-law to be known as Queen Consort when the then-Prince Charles ascended the throne. Although it reportedly 'blindsided' William and Harry, it was the Queen's way of honouring Camilla's 'dedication and loyalty to The Firm' according to one insider. 

It read: "I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.

"And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service."

Royal author Andrew Morton, who also penned the bestselling Princess Diana biography Diana: Her True Story, shared his thoughts on the unexpected move after the Queen's Platinum Jubilee last June.

Talking on royal podcast Pod Save The King, he discussed why he believes that the late Queen made the decision. 

He explained: "The Queen has incrementally bought [Camilla's] status higher and higher. A few years ago she put her in the Privy Council so she could be there when the succession was announced.

"Then she was made a member of the Order of the Garter and finally she says that she'd like Camilla to be called Queen Consort. That has kind of ended the debate because when Prince Charles first married Camilla, the mood music was that she was never going to be called Queen and within a matter of years they were backtracking very quickly."

In Charles and Camilla's official coronation invitations, they are referred to as 'King Charles III and Queen Camilla', indicating that 'Consort' could be dropped from her title once the King is crowned. 

A royal aide told the Daily Mail that the move is 'appropriate', saying: "It made sense to refer to Her Majesty as the Queen Consort in the early months of His Majesty’s reign, to distinguish from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

"Queen Camilla is the appropriate title to set against King Charles on the invitation. The Coronation is an appropriate time to start using 'Queen Camilla' in an official capacity. 

"All former Queen Consorts have been known as Queen plus their first name."

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.