LONDON – Camilla Parker Bowles (search) does not want the title of queen after Prince Charles becomes king, his office said Tuesday.
Charles and his bride-to-be, sensitive to strong public opinion against her ever being queen, had said she would take the title of Princess Consort if he becomes king. They are being married in a civil ceremony April 8.
Paddy Harverson, communications secretary for Charles' office, Clarence House, said the government's legal advice that she would be queen if he became king did not prevent her from choosing a different title.
Replying to a question from a lawmaker, Constitutional Affairs Minister Christopher Leslie (search) said in a statement that the marriage of Charles and Parker Bowles would not be "morganatic" — in which the spouse of inferior status has no claim to the status of the other.
"This is absolutely unequivocal that she automatically becomes queen when he becomes king," said Andrew Mackinlay, the lawmaker who raised the question. The reply was issued Thursday, but was not noticed by the news media until Monday.
The Department for Constitutional Affairs confirmed that interpretation, saying that legislation would be required to deny the title of queen to the king's wife.
Several newspapers in Britain, where the public is warming to the royal wedding but still oppose the idea of Queen Camilla, on Tuesday carried headlines reading "Camilla will be Queen if Charles is King," and "Camilla will be Queen."
But Harverson said the government's advice had been wrongly interpreted, and if Parker Bowles didn't want to be called queen, there was no need for legislation.
"The implication of some of today's media reporting is that Mrs. Parker Bowles would have to be called queen unless there is legislation," Harverson said. "This is incorrect and not in accordance with the government's advice. Mrs. Parker Bowles can, as she wishes, be referred to as Princess Consort, rather than queen, without legislation."
Harverson said Parker Bowles had made it clear she didn't want to be called queen and Charles agreed with her choice.
Immediately after their April 8 wedding, Parker Bowles will be called Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, and will not be called Princess of Wales — the title used by the late Princess Diana (search).
Mackinlay dismissed Harverson's statement as "wrong and arrogant."
"We are being asked to accept that the law is what they say it is," he said. "I don't accept that.
"They have missed the point. This is not a matter for them, it is matter for Parliament. Parliament is the custodian of the constitution," Mackinlay said.