Kate Middleton will have her own coronation ceremony when her husband, Prince William, becomes king of England. She'll also accept the title of "Queen Consort," though she won't be the queen of England, as The Sun reports. It's complicated.
Monarchs And Their Consorts
To have the title of "King of England" or "Queen of England," one must be the reigning monarch. Their spouses do not get to share in the title; unlike in fairy tale books, the queen and king do not reign together - not in the United Kingdom, anyway.
When Princess Elizabeth's father died and she became queen, her husband, Philip Mountbatten, was given the title "Prince Consort." Not "King Consort," however, as the rules are different for men and women. But when Prince William ascends the throne, Kate will be "Queen Consort," not "Princess Consort."
The situation is slightly complicated when it comes to the likely next monarch to rule the United Kingdom. Prince Charles' wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, could take the title of "Queen Consort" when Charles becomes king, but word on the street is that she will choose not to and instead take the title "Princess Consort."
The closer you are to the crown, the more titles you have, and the more important they get. When Elizabeth dies, Charles will inherit a host of titles formerly belonging to his mother, while William will inherit a host of titles formerly belonging to his father.
Kate Middleton will inherit several of the titles formerly belonging to the mother-in-law she never met, Princess Diana. When Charles becomes king, the title of Princess of Wales, which formerly belonged to Diana and now belongs to Camilla (though she doesn't use it), will be hers. She is expected to proudly bear that title as a sign of respect for Diana.
The coronation of a new monarch of the United Kingdom is an extremely big deal. Months pass between the death of the previous monarch and the coronation of the new one while the period of mourning for the previous monarch takes place, and then all of the details of the new monarch's coronation are laid out.
The coronation lasts for hours, while various ceremonies are completed, oaths of fealty are recited, speeches are given, hymns are sung, and so on. The monarch takes upon himself or herself the rights, duties, and responsibilities that come with the job, while tens of thousands line the streets outside. Imagine the inauguration of a president and the investiture of a pope, all rolled into one event.
Queen Consort Kate Middleton, when her day comes, will also have a coronation. Details are scarce, but according to the royal family website, the consort's coronation is "a similar but simpler ceremony."
Of course, there's no telling when Kate's coronation will take place since Queen Elizabeth is still reigning, and then Kate's father-in-law, Charles, will likely have his own reign before it's William's turn.