Duchess of Cornwall
Prior to their marriage, the title was normally used only in Cornwall since customarily the Sovereign's eldest son and heir is created Prince of Wales and his wife is styled the Princess of Wales, and it is those names that are typically used to refer to them. In Scotland the couple use the title Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.
Since under current succession law the title of Duke of Cornwall can only be held by an heir-apparent who is also the eldest son of the monarch, no woman can be Duchess of Cornwall in her own right. However, this may change if the current proposals to change the rules of succession are completed.
Before the present Duchess, the most recent Duchess of Cornwall was Diana, Princess of Wales. During this period, she was usually styled Princess of Wales, as have been most Duchesses of Cornwall.
Before Camilla the only Duchesses of Cornwall to be styled as such were Caroline, wife of the future King George II, who was styled “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge” from 1 August to 27 September 1714; and Mary, wife of the future King George V, who was styled “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and York” from 22 January to 9 November 1901. In both cases they were known by the title for only a few months between their respective fathers-in-law's accession to the throne and their husband's creation as Prince of Wales.
Style and title
Prior to the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, it was stated that she would be styled Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall. She does not use the title Princess of Wales, because it is still popularly associated with the former wife of the Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales. It is intended that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will upon her husband's succession to the throne, become HRH The Princess Consort.
- Shakespeare's King Lear includes the character "Regan, Duchess of Cornwall", Lear's second daughter.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon included the fictional character Morgaine as the Duchess of Cornwall through inheritance.
- Igraine, mother of King Arthur, was Duchess of Cornwall when she caught the eye of King Uther Pendragon in many retellings of Arthurian legend.