Queen consort

A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king (or an empress consort in the case of an emperor). A queen consort usually shares her husband's social rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles, but historically, she does not share the king's political and military powers. A queen regnant is a queen in her own right with all the powers of a monarch, who (usually) has become queen by inheriting the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.

In Brunei, the wife of the Sultan is known as a Raja Isteri with prefix Pengiran Anak, equivalent to queen consort in English, as were the consorts of tsars when Bulgaria was still a monarchy.

Titles

The title of king consort for the husband of a reigning queen is rare, but not unheard of. Examples are Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in Scotland; Antoine of Bourbon-Vendôme in Navarre; and Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Portugal.

Where some title other than that of king is held by the sovereign, his wife is referred to by the feminine equivalent, such as princess consort or empress consort.

In monarchies where polygamy has been practiced in the past (such as Morocco and Thailand), or is practiced today (such as the Zulu nation and the various Yoruba polities), the number of wives of the king varies. In Morocco, King Mohammed VI has broken with tradition and given his wife, Lalla Salma, the title of princess. Prior to the reign of King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan monarchy had no such title. In Thailand, the king and queen must both be of royal descent. The king's other consorts are accorded royal titles that confer status.

Other cultures maintain different traditions on queenly status. A Zulu chieftain designates one of his wives as "Great Wife", which would be the equivalent to queen consort. Conversely, in Yorubaland, all of a chief's consorts are essentially of equal rank. Although one of their number, usually the one who has been married to the chief for the longest time, may be given a chieftaincy of her own to highlight her relatively higher status when compared to the other wives; she does not share her husband's ritual power as a chieftain. When a woman is to be vested with an authority similar to that of the chief, she is usually a lady courtier in his service who is not married to him, but who is expected to lead his female subjects on his behalf.

Role

In general, the consorts of monarchs have no power per se, even when their position is constitutionally or statutorily recognized. However, often the queen consort of a deceased king (the dowager queen or queen mother) has served as regent if her child, the successor to the throne, was still a minor—for example:

Besides these examples, there have been many cases of queens consort being shrewd or ambitious stateswomen and, usually (but not always) unofficially, being among the king's most trusted advisors. In some cases, the queen consort has been the chief power behind her husband's throne; e.g. Maria Luisa of Parma, wife of Charles IV of Spain.

Examples of queens and empresses consort

Sophia Magdalene of Sweden coin c 1785
Queen Sophia Magdalene wearing the crown of the Queen of Sweden.

Past queens consort:

Past empresses consort:

Current queens consort:

Current empress consort:

Because queens consort lack an ordinal with which to distinguish between them, many historical texts and encyclopedias refer to deceased consorts by their premarital (or maiden) name or title, not by their marital royal title (examples: Queen Mary, consort of George V, is usually called Mary of Teck, and Queen Maria José, consort of Umberto II of Italy, is usually called Marie José of Belgium).

See also

Elizabeth (given name)

Elizabeth is a feminine given name derived from the Ancient Greek Ἐλισάβετ (Elisabet, Modern Greek pronunciation Elisávet), which is a form of the Hebrew name Elisheva (אֱלִישֶׁבַע), meaning "My God is an oath" or "My God is abundance", as rendered in the Septuagint.

Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville (also spelled Wydville, Wydeville, or Widvile) (c. 1437 – 8 June 1492) was Queen consort of England, as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483.

At the time of her birth, her family was mid-ranked in the English aristocracy. Her mother Jacquetta of Luxembourg had previously been an aunt by marriage to Henry VI. Elizabeth's first marriage was to a minor supporter of the House of Lancaster, Sir John Grey of Groby. He died at the Second Battle of St Albans, leaving Elizabeth a widowed mother of two sons.

Her second marriage to Edward IV was a cause célèbre of the day, thanks to Elizabeth's great beauty and lack of great estates. Edward was the first king of England since the Norman Conquest to marry one of his subjects, and Elizabeth was the first such consort to be crowned queen. Her marriage greatly enriched her siblings and children, but their advancement incurred the hostility of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, 'The Kingmaker', and his various alliances with the most senior figures in the increasingly divided royal family. This hostility turned into open discord between King Edward and Warwick, leading to a battle of wills that finally resulted in Warwick switching allegiance to the Lancastrian cause, and to the execution of Elizabeth's father, Richard Woodville in 1469.

After the death of her husband in 1483, Elizabeth remained politically influential even after her son, briefly proclaimed King Edward V of England, was deposed by her brother-in-law, Richard III. Edward and his younger brother Richard both disappeared soon afterwards and are presumed to have been murdered on Richard's orders. Elizabeth subsequently played an important role in securing the accession of Henry VII in 1485. Henry married her daughter Elizabeth of York, ended the Wars of the Roses, and established the Tudor dynasty. Through her daughter, Elizabeth was the grandmother of the future Henry VIII. Elizabeth was forced to yield pre-eminence to Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and her influence on events in these years, and her eventual departure from court into retirement, remains obscure.She died in 1492, possibly of plague.

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

Joan of England (22 July 1210 – 4 March 1238), was Queen consort of Scotland from 1221 until her death. She was the third child of John, King of England and Isabella of Angoulême.

Joan of England, Queen of Sicily

Joan of England (October 1165 – 4 September 1199) was a queen consort of Sicily and countess consort of Toulouse. She was the seventh child of Henry II, King of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. From her birth, she was destined to make a political and royal marriage. She married William II of Sicily and later Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, two very important and powerful figures in the political landscape of Medieval Europe.

List of British royal consorts

A royal consort is the spouse of a ruling king or queen. Consorts of monarchs in the United Kingdom and its predecessors have no constitutional status or power but many had significant influence over their spouse. Some royal consorts, such as current consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have also helped to enhance the image of the Monarchy by becoming celebrities in their own right. Prince Philip is the longest-serving and oldest-ever consort. His mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who died aged 101, lived longer but at the time of her death she did not hold the position of consort, as her husband King George VI died 50 years before her.

List of English royal consorts

The English royal consorts were the spouses of the reigning monarchs of the Kingdom of England who were not themselves monarchs of England: spouses of some English monarchs who were themselves English monarchs are not listed, comprising Mary I and Philip who reigned together in the 16th century, and William III and Mary II who reigned together in the 17th century.

Most of the consorts are women, and enjoyed titles and honours pertaining to a queen consort; some few are men, whose titles were not consistent, depending upon the circumstances of their spouses' reigns. The Kingdom of England merged with the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707, to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. There have thus been no consorts of England since that date.

List of French consorts

This is a list of the women who have been queens consort or empresses consort of the French monarchy. All monarchs of France were male, although some women have governed France as regents.

53 women were married to French monarchs: 49 queens and three empresses. Ingeborg of Denmark and Anne of Brittany were each queen more than once. Marie Josephine Louise of Savoy was queen de jure during the Republican and Imperial periods, but never wife of the de facto head of the French state.

From 1285 to 1328, the crowns of Navarre and France were united by virtue of the marriage of Joan I of Navarre to Philip IV of France, and by the succession of their three sons, Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV. Thus, the wives of these three kings were queens consort of Navarre as well as of France. With the death of Charles IV, however, Navarre passed out of the hands of the French kings until 1589, when Henry III of Navarre became Henry IV of France.

Upon Henry IV's succession, his wife, Margaret of Valois, who was already queen consort of Navarre, also became queen consort of France. Thereafter, until 1791, queens of France were also queens of Navarre. The crown of Navarre merged with the French crown in 1620, but the French kings continued to call themselves King of Navarre until 1791. The title of King of Navarre was reassumed with the Restoration of 1814–15, but dropped with the Revolution of 1830; the Bonaparte and Orléans consorts did not use it.

List of Thai royal consorts

This article lists the Thai royal consorts of monarchs of Thailand from the foundation of the Sukhothai Kingdom in 1238 until the present day.

List of consorts of Portugal

Throughout its history, the Portuguese monarchy has had only two queens regnant: Maria I and Maria II of Portugal (and, arguably, two more: Beatriz for a short period of time in the 14th century; and Teresa, in the 12th century, which technically makes her the first ruler and first Queen of Portugal).

The other women who used the title of "Queen of Portugal" were merely queens consort, wives of the Portuguese kings. Nevertheless, many of them were highly influential in the country's history, having ruled as regents for their minor children and heirs, as well has having a great influence over their spouses.

Elizabeth of Aragon, who was married to Dinis I, was made a saint after there were said to have been miracles performed after her death.

The husband of a Portuguese Queen Regnant could only be titled King after the birth of any child from that marriage. Portugal had two Princes Consort - Auguste de Beauharnais, 2nd Duke of Leuchtenberg and Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha - both consorts to Maria II of Portugal. The first one died leaving his wife childless, and therefore never became King of Portugal. Maria II's second husband was her consort until the birth of their first child, Pedro V of Portugal. Upon birth of the heir, Ferdinand ceased to be consort and instead became de jure uxoris King of Portugal, as Fernando II. Maria I's husband, Pedro III, was titled de jure uxoris King automatically after his wife's accession, since the couple already had an heir José, Prince of Brazil.

Maria Komnene, Queen of Jerusalem

Maria Komnene or Comnena (Greek: Μαρία Κομνηνή, c. 1154 – 1208/1217) was the second wife of King Amalric I of Jerusalem and mother of Queen Isabella I of Jerusalem.

She was the daughter of John Doukas Komnenos, sometime Byzantine dux in Cyprus, and Maria Taronitissa, a descendant of the ancient Armenian kings. Her sister Theodora married Prince Bohemund III of Antioch, and her brother Alexios was briefly, in 1185, a pretender to the throne of the Byzantine Empire.

Mary Tudor, Queen of France

Mary Tudor (; March 1496 – 25 June 1533) was an English princess who was briefly Queen of France, the progenitor of a family that eventually claimed the English throne. She was the younger surviving daughter of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the third wife of Louis XII of France who was more than 30 years older than she. Following his death, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The marriage was performed secretly in France during the reign of her brother Henry VIII and without his consent. This necessitated the intervention of Thomas Wolsey; Henry eventually pardoned the couple, but they were forced to pay a large fine.

Mary's second marriage produced four children, and she was the maternal grandmother of Lady Jane Grey through her oldest daughter Frances. Grey was the de facto Queen of England for nine days in July 1553.

Piast dynasty

The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. The first documented Polish monarch was Prince Mieszko I (c. 930–992). The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir III the Great.

Branches of the Piast dynasty continued to rule in the Duchy of Masovia and in the Duchies of Silesia until the last male Silesian Piast died in 1675. The Piasts intermarried with several noble lines of Europe, and possessed numerous titles, some within the Holy Roman Empire.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was the wife of King George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. She was Queen consort of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from her husband's accession in 1936 until his death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter. She was the last Empress consort of India.

Born into a family of British nobility, she came to prominence in 1923 when she married the Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. The couple and their daughters embodied traditional ideas of family and public service. She undertook a variety of public engagements and became known for her consistently cheerful countenance.In 1936, her husband unexpectedly became king when his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth then became queen. She accompanied her husband on diplomatic tours to France and North America before the start of the Second World War. During the war, her seemingly indomitable spirit provided moral support to the British public. After the war, her husband's health deteriorated and she was widowed at the age of 51. Her elder daughter, aged 25, became the new queen.

From the death of Queen Mary in 1953, Elizabeth was viewed as the matriarch of the British royal family. In her later years, she was a consistently popular member of the family, even when other members were suffering from low levels of public approval. She continued an active public life until just a few months before her death at the age of 101 years, 238 days, seven weeks after the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret.

Queen Sofía of Spain

Sophia of Greece and Denmark (later Sofía of Spain) (Greek: Σοφία; born 2 November 1938) is a member of the Spanish royal family who served as Queen of Spain during the reign of her husband, King Juan Carlos I, from 1975 to 2014. Queen Sofía is the first child of King Paul of Greece and Frederica of Hanover. As her family was forced into exile during the Second World War, she spent part of her childhood in South Africa, returning to Greece in 1946. She completed her secondary education in a boarding school in Germany before returning to Greece where she specialised in childcare, music and archaeology. She married Juan Carlos, son of the Spanish pretender Infante Juan, on 14 May 1962 with whom she has had three children: Elena, Cristina, and Felipe.

She became queen upon her husband's accession in 1975. On 19 June 2014, Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of their son Felipe VI.

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