Why Queen Camilla Does Not Have A Lady-In-Waiting

Royalty in Europe has long and storied traditions that may vary depending on what country you are in. One custom that has been carried on by many royal families, regardless of country, is the position of the lady-in-waiting. According to Britannica, the position of a lady-in-waiting is one often bestowed upon women of noble birth who then become a part of the royal household and serve a female monarch.

The women who were placed in these positions were not just put there to hang out and look pretty. They were there to do a job. Some of their jobs include helping the queen get dressed and with personal hygiene matters that would only be appropriate when assisted by another woman (per Britannica). Additionally, they were expected to be the queen's companion and a source of entertainment for her. While this title was and is still considered a great honor, it is also a position that comes with a lot of pressure, even today.

The British Monarchy And Ladies-In- Waiting

While various European royal families across the continent have ladies-in-waiting, the British monarchy has become well-known for its protocols and adherence to tradition. This coveted position has been around since the Middle Ages, and generally, the same sorts of things were expected despite time's progression. Over the centuries, British ladies-in-waiting have generally adhered pretty well to the rules placed on them. However, a few have caused quite a stir from their position close to the crown.

History is full of some pretty infamous ladies-in-waiting, and some of them were a part of the British monarchy. The most obvious example of this takes us back to good old King Henry VIII and his wives. According to National News, three of his six wives, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Katherine Howard, were all at one point ladies-in-waiting. Obviously, marrying the king was not part of the job description, but since then, the role of the lady-in-waiting has changed, involving more modern duties. 

The New Queen Consort Is Changing Things Up

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022, her son Charles became King Charles III. Alongside him was his wife Camilla Parker Bowles, who became Queen Consort. With her new title and position comes the ability to preserve certain traditions or modernize them in the way she sees fit.

In November 2022, Queen Consort Camilla made a choice to basically do away with the centuries-old position of a lady-in-waiting (per Town and Country). Instead, she will be accompanied by what will now be called "Queen's companions." This is a more slimmed-down role that will focus on supporting the Queen Consort during public events and eliminate roles that have to do with administrative tasks. There are reportedly six women who will participate in this new role. However, the late Queen Elizabeth II's ladies-in-waiting will still be a part of the royal household and participate in hosting events at Buckingham Palace.