As the wife of the future heir to the throne, Camilla Parker Bowles has her own duties to perform in the royal family. When Prince Charles rises in power and becomes the new king, people will aptly call Camilla their queen, whether they like it or not. However, if Prince Charles dies before his ascension to the throne, Camilla’s royal status will significantly change.

As of now, Camilla holds two royal titles. While she is most commonly known as the Duchess of Cornwall, she is also the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland. She’s supposed to be the Princess of Wales, too. But she opted not to go by her princess status out of respect for Prince Charles’ ex-wife, Princess Diana. 

When Prince Charles takes the place of Queen Elizabeth as the head of the monarchy, he automatically drops all his royal titles to become His Majesty the King. The same goes for Camilla, who needs to give up her current titles to become the queen or princess consort, the titles commonly given to the king’s wife.

However, in the event that Prince Charles dies before Queen Elizabeth, Camilla might no longer reach the point of being called a queen or princess consort. Since the line of succession is based on birth order and not marriage, Camilla will not be entitled to any of the two royal titles when her husband dies. As Prince William automatically steps up as king, Camilla will find herself in a rather gray area in the royal circle.

If Camilla happens to be Prince William’s biological mother, she will earn the title queen mother when Prince Charles dies. This title is given to the widow of the king and the mother of the monarch. However, whether or not Camilla is entitled to this title is quite questionable because she is technically not the mother of Prince William. Conversely, the fact that she is Prince William’s stepmother qualifies her for the title in a way.

Because of the complexity of Camilla’s position in the royal circle, the decision to make her a queen will lie in the hands of Prince William. If the king decides to not give her the title of queen mother after the death of Prince Charles, then Camilla will most likely remain the Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Charles and Camilla Clarence House official handout photo of the Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony, April 9, 2005, in Windsor, England. Hugo Burnand/Pool/Getty Images