Royal coronation invitation realises king’s ambition for title of partner formerly known as queen consort
King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the Blue Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace.Photograph: Hugo Burnand/Buckingham Palace/Getty Images
First she was to be known as princess consort. Then she became queen consort. But Buckingham Palace’s coronation invitation confirms what most have suspected all along. From now on, it’s officially Queen Camilla.
For years, the palace has shied away from answering the “queen question” when asked directly what Camilla would be known as when Charles acceded the throne.
Upon her 2005 marriage to the then Prince of Wales, a statement from Clarence House mooted that she would be known as princess consort, such was the sensitivity around the thorny subject. In February last year, Queen Elizabeth II made clear her wish for her daughter-in-law to hold the title queen consort.
But the official invitation, being sent out to more than 2,000 guests for the 6 May ceremony at Westminster Abbey, is the last word on the subject.
Finally fulfilling Charles’s immutable ambition, it invites recipients to the “Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III & Queen Camilla”. It marks the incredible journey of Camilla over more than five decades, from secret romantic involvement to official partner and finally wife of the king – and which will end with her formally being crowned queen alongside the new king.
The coronation invitation confirms Queen Camilla’s new title. Photograph: Hugo Burnand/Buckingham Palace/Getty Images
It was announced on Tuesday evening that Jill Biden, the first lady of the US, will be attending the coronation on behalf of her country.
Joe Biden, the US president, told King Charles in a phone call, in which he congratulated the monarch and expressed a desire to meet Charles in the UK “at a future date”.
A palace source said: “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.”
The royal website will be updated post-coronation to reflect Camilla’s change in title, with queen consort being replaced with Queen Camilla, the Palace said.
The official confirmation of Camilla’s undiluted queenhood features at the centre of the extremely ornate and floral coronation invitation with a design clearly influenced by the green-fingered king’s love of plants and wildlife.
By Andrew Jamieson, a heraldic artist and manuscript illuminator, central is the motif of the Green Man, an ancient figure from British folklore, symbolic of spring and rebirth, to celebrate the new reign. The shape of the Green Man, crowned in natural foliage, is formed of leaves of oak, ivy and hawthorn, and the emblematic flowers of the UK.
The British wildflower meadow bordering the invitation features lily of the valley, cornflowers, wild strawberries, dog roses, bluebells, and a sprig of rosemary for remembrance, with wildlife including a bee, a butterfly, a ladybird, a wren and a robin. Flowers appear in groupings of three, signifying the king becoming the third monarch of his name.
A lion, a unicorn and a boar – taken from the coats of arms of the king and queen – can be seen among the flowers. Camilla’s arms are now enclosed by the Garter, after her installation as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter last summer.
Throughout the coronation service, Charles and Camilla will each be attended by four pages of honour, drawn from family friends or relatives, it has also been revealed, who will form part of the procession through the nave of Westminster Abbey.
Charles’s pages will be his eldest grandson, Prince George of Wales, aged nine; Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, son of the Marquess of Cholmondeley; Nicholas Barclay, 13, grandson of Sarah Troughton, who is one of the queen’s companions; and Ralph Tollemache, 12, son of the king’s godson Edward Tollemache.
Camilla’s will be her three grandsons – twins Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Frederick Parker Bowles, 12 – and her great-nephew Arthur Elliot, 12.
Marking the one-month countdown to the coronation, Buckingham Palace has also released a new photographic portrait of Charles and Camilla, taken last month in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace.