On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 after 70 years of serving her country and commonwealth.
News of the death sent shockwaves across the globe, and millions of subjects and admirers may have found that their grief was mixed with an anxious uncertainty about what might happen next.
After all, most of us have no memory of a previous UK monarch, and the world has changed considerably since Elizabeth ascended to the throne way back in 1952.
So in the interest of answering questions and suppressing rumors, here’s our brief rundown of how things will change for the royal family, the UK, and the world at large in the weeks to come:
God save the King
The most obvious and immediate change, of course, is the accession of the accession of the Queen’s eldest son, Charles, to the throne.
As we reported earlier, there were brief rumblings about a succession crisis due to Charles’ unpopularity at home and abroad, but there was never any real doubt as to who would be next to wear the crown.
And so, the man who spent 73 years as Charles, Prince of Wales is now King Charles III.
And his wife, Camilla, will serve as Queen Consort.
A statement issued by Clarence House in 2005 revealed that Camilla would be known as Princess Consort once Charles began his reign.
But the Queen changed her position on that matter in February of 2022.
“When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me,” Elizabeth said during the 70th year of her reign.
“And it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
And so, Prince Charles is now King Charles III, and Camilla Parker Bowles has gone from Duchess of Cornwall to Queen Consort.
“Within minutes of Buckingham Palace addressing the very sad news of the Queen’s passing, we heard the first words from the new King and confirmation from Buckingham Palace that Charles will indeed be known as King Charles III,” royal expert Katie Nicholls told Entertainment Tonight.
“He could’ve chosen to take a different name as King. He has chosen King Charles III.”
Nicholls added, “What we do know about the titles, is that King Charles has decided to be King Charles III, and we do know that we now have Queen Consort Camilla.”
As for other title changes, some were immediate, some will take place in the very near future, and others remain uncertain.
On Instagram, Prince William and Kate Middleton have already changed their titles from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.
Just moments ago, Charles made the announcement that William and Kate would also become the new Prince and Princess of Wales.
There’s no surprise about the new titles, but until today, there was some uncertainty as to when the change might take place.
The American Royals
That leaves Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose future is considerably more uncertain.
The couple are currently the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but there’s been speculation that Charles might strip them of their titles.
That seems highly unlikely.
However, the couple’s children, Archie and Lilibet, became prince and princess (and Archie became sixth in line for the throne) when the Queen died, and Charles might very well deny them those titles.
That might sound like an absurdly villainous move to make in the wake of the Queen’s death, but Charles could have practical reasons.
Harry and Meghan are not very popular in the UK, and by stripping the children of their titles, Charles could, with one fell swoop, tidy up the line of succession and send the message that the Queen’s no-nonsense attitude is alive and well.
In recent years, the Queen has taken steps to present a more pared-down, economically efficient royal family, and Charles could decide to carry on that legacy by cutting official ties with the California branch.
Of course, the biggest questions about the future concern Charles himself and his sometimes testy relationship with the British press and public.
It seems unlikely that he’ll ever be embraced like his mother, and he certainly won’t reign for nearly as long.
Charles has reportedly accepted his role as a sort of transitional figure who will keep the torch lit between the respective reigns of Elizabeth and William.
And with the popularity of the royals at an all-time low among UK residents, the new king will certainly have his work cut out for him.