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What will Happen to the British Monachy when Queen Elizabeth II Dies?

As a new year approaches, our beloved Queen Elizabeth II will be closing into her 66th year in what is already the longest reign this country has ever seen. Whilst the Queen is still in remarkably good health, now she is 92 years old, the question of succession and titles are once again starting to raised by the general public.

We often get asked various questions on tours like:

  • Who will be King when Elizabeth dies?
  • Will Charles hand the throne directly to Prince William?
  • Will Camilla be Queen when Charles is King?

Whilst there is no definitive answer, England has over 900 years of tradition with regard to the monarchial history. This article intends use the past as a guide to predicting what will happen in the future. Keep reading if you would like to know the possibilities…

Who Will Become King When Elizabeth Dies?

It’s no secret that William is a lot more popular than his dad. The Royal Wedding between William and Kate saw a staggering 24 million Brits tune into the big day, compared to the very intimate wedding between Charles and Camilla in Windsor. With a very small civil ceremony in Windsor’s Guildhall, not even the Queen was present for the wedding in April 2005. But does that leave the path open for an immediate succession from Queen Elizabeth II to Prince William?

If the past is anything to go by, my personal opinion on the matter is that Charles will definitely become king if he outlives his mother. Never in the history of English monarchs has a grandson surpassed his father to the throne, whether it be for religious or popularity reasons. In France, The Capetian Dynasty would coronate their heir to the throne during their own lifetime to ensure a healthy and long lasting dynasty. In today’s world, we saw a similar style of ceremony in April 2013 when the Queen of The Netherlands Princess Beatrix decided to accede the throne in favour of her son Willem-Alexander. However, British Kings and Queens have only ever performed this type of ceremony once. King Henry II crowned his son Henry The Younger King as an attempt to undermine the power and authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, but this was 800 years ago and under extenuating circumstances.

Saying that, the monarchy has evolved from the days of it’s incredibly strict ways. From the abdication of the Queen’s uncle Edward VIII to the denail of marriage between Princess Margaret and divorcee Peter Townsend, we have seen a huge change in the attitude of The Queen’s view on marriage. For example, less than a year ago we saw a Prince of The United Kingdom marry a mixed race divorcee. If the last 15 years are anything to go by, who knows what could happen in the future?

What title will Camilla and Charles take if he becomes King?

Last year Prince Charles celebrated his 70th Birthday, meaning that if he had have become king at the same age as his mother, he’d be the 4th longest reigning monarch in history. Yet, being heir apparent for a total of 65 years, he has waited longer than any other Prince of Wales to become a monarch.

When/if Charles does become King, he may not even choose to become King Charles III. After all, both Charles I & II were not remembered as particularly good kings, with one being executed and the other being remembered for having at least 14 mistresses. According to laws of succession, Charles can take any of his Christian names when he ascends the throne. He could become King Charles, Philip, Arthur or George. The most likely of these would be George VII, as this is a very popular title for our current House of Windsor.

What Name will Prince Charles Take?
Will Charles become the 3rd King to take this name, or will he go for a more traditional name for the House of Windsor?

Charles has been no stranger to publicity since he was an infant, and certainly recognised the worldwide popularity of his late wife Diana when she tragically passed away in 1997.

As a sign of respect for his late ex-wife, at the civil ceromony in Windsor’s Guildhall in April 2005, Camilla did not become the new Princess of Wales, but instead held her current title Duchess of Cornwall. At the time, many people were wondering if this would make Camilla Queen when Charles became King.  Clarence House made an official statment stating that Camilla would become HRH The Princess Consort. However, it has since been taking down on the websites FAQ’s, inferring that perhaps this prediction has changed. History tells us that by law, when a Prince of Wales becomes King of the UK, his wife will become the Queen Consort.

So as you can see from the past, nothing is set in stone when it comes to our fascinating monarchy and it’s consistantly changing relationship with the general public. If you would like to learn more about the 2018 Royal Wedding and Charles and Camilla’s civil ceremony in 2005, a day trip to Windsor Castle and Guildhall is the perfect day trip from London.


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