Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died Thursday. She was 96.
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Elizabeth’s son Charles is the king and will be known as King Charles III, his office announced. The 73-year-old’s second wife Camilla is the Queen Consort.
Queen Elizabeth II had in April 2018 announced that Duchess Camilla, to become queen consort upon Charles’ ascension to the throne.
Why Queen Consort and not Queen?
A Queen is a monarch with the same rank as a king. However, a Queen Consort is the wife of a reigning king, in this case King Charles III.
A Queen Consort holds the female equivalent of her husband’s title(s). She will be coronated too. However, she does not share the king’s sovereignty and his political and military powers.
The British monarchy’s rules state that “a new sovereign succeeds to the throne as soon as his or her predecessor dies.” However, the formal coronation will take place only after the national mourning.
In Elizabeth’s case, her coronation came on June 2, 1953 — 16 months after her accession on February 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, died.
Prime Minister Liz Truss on Thursday said the country was “devasted” by the death of the monarch.
“We are now a modern, thriving, dynamic nation. Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed. She was the very spirit of Great Britain – and that spirit will endure,” Truss said outside 10 Downing St. in London.
Truss was appointed by the queen just two days ago, becoming the 15th prime minister to serve during Elizabeth’s reign.