This article needs additional citations for verification .(March 2020)
|Part of the Politics series|
|Part of a series on|
| Imperial, royal, noble,|
gentry and chivalric ranks in Europe
|Emperor ·Empress (dowager) · Tsar ·Tsarina · High king ·High queen|
|King (regnant · consort · dowager · father) · Queen (regnant · consort · dowager · mother) · Grand duke ·Grand duchess · Archduke ·Archduchess|
|Prince (consort) · Princess (consort) · Duke ·Duchess · Crown prince ·Crown princess · Jarl · Prince-elector ·Princess-elector|
|Marquess ·Marchioness · Margrave ·Margravine · Count palatine · Voivode|
|Count ·Countess · Earl · Ealdorman|
|Viscount ·Viscountess · Castellan · Burgrave ·Burgravine · Advocatus · Vidame · Starosta|
|Baron ·Baroness · Thane · Lendmann · Primor · Boyar|
|Baronet ·Baronetess · Lord of the Manor|
|Knight ·Chevalier · Eques · Imperial Knight · Druzhinnik|
|Esquire · Gentleman ·Gentlewoman · Ministerialis|
Queen consort is a term (not a title) used to identify the position of the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her spouse's social rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles and may be crowned and anointed, but historically she does not formally share the regnant's political and military powers, unless on occasion acting as regent.
In contrast, a queen regnant is a female monarch who rules in her own right and usually becomes queen by inheriting the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.
A queen dowager is the widow of a king, and a queen mother is a former queen consort who is the mother of the current monarch.
When a title other than king is held by the sovereign, his wife can be referred to by the feminine equivalent, such as princess consort or empress consort.
In monarchies where polygamy has been practised in the past (such as Morocco and Thailand), or is practised 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.
While the wife of a king is usually titled as the queen, there is much less consistency for the husband of a reigning queen. The title of king consort is rare. Examples are Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in Scotland and Francis, Duke of Cádiz, in Spain. Antoine of Bourbon-Vendôme in Navarre and Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Portugal gained the title king, not king consort, and were co-rulers with their reigning queen wives because of the practice of Jure uxoris .
The title of prince consort for the husband of a reigning queen is more common. An example is Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He married Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; because she insisted that he be given a title identifying his status, he became Albert, Prince Consort.
The traditional historiography on queenship has created an image of a queen who is a king's "helpmate"and provider of heirs. They had power within the royal household and partially within the court. Their duty was running the royal household smoothly, such as directing the children's education, supervising the staff, and managing the private royal treasury. They unofficially acted as hostesses, ensuring the royal family was not involved in scandals and giving gifts to high-ranking officials in a society where this was important to maintain bonds. As a result, consorts were expected to act as wise, loyal, and chaste women.
Some royal consorts from foreign origins have served roles as transfers of culture. Due to their unique position of being reared in one culture and then, when very young, promised into marriage in another land with a different culture, they have served as a cultural bridge between nations. Based on their journals, diaries, and accounts, some exchanged and introduced new forms of art, music, religion, and fashion.
However, the consorts of monarchs have no official political power per se, even when their position is constitutionally or statutorily recognized. They often held an informal sort of power that was dependent on what opportunities were afforded to her. Should she have an amiable personality and high intelligence, produce a healthy heir and gain the favor of the court (especially the monarch's), then chances were higher for her to gain it over time. There have been many cases of royal consorts being shrewd or ambitious stateswomen and, usually (but not always) unofficially, being among the monarch's most trusted advisors. In some cases, the royal consort has been the chief power behind her husband's throne; e.g. Maria Luisa of Parma, wife of Charles IV of Spain. Often the consort of a deceased monarch (the dowager queen or queen mother) has served as regent if her child, the successor to the throne, was still a minor—for example:
Past queens consort:
Past empresses consort:
Current queens consort:
Current empress consort:
Current queens consort in federal monarchies
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).
An emperor is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife, mother, or a woman who rules in her own right and name. Emperors are generally recognized to be of the highest monarchic honor and rank, surpassing kings. In Europe, the title of Emperor has been used since the Middle Ages, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of Pope due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western Europe. The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as "Emperor".
Tsarina or tsaritsa is the title of a female autocratic ruler (monarch) of Bulgaria, Serbia or Russia, or the title of a tsar's wife. The English spelling is derived from the German czarin or zarin, in the same way as the French tsarine/czarine, and the Spanish and Italian czarina/zarina. (A tsar's daughter is a tsarevna.)
Empress dowager is the English language translation of the title given to the mother or widow of a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese emperor in the Chinese cultural sphere.
Hurrem Sultan, also known as Roxelana, was the chief consort and legal wife of the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. She became one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history as well as a prominent and controversial figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women.
A queen dowager or dowager queen is a title or status generally held by the widow of a king. In the case of the widow of an emperor, the title of empress dowager is used. Its full meaning is clear from the two words from which it is composed: queen indicates someone who served as queen consort, while dowager indicates a woman who holds the title from her deceased husband. A queen mother is a former queen, often a dowager queen, who is the mother of the reigning monarch.
A lady-in-waiting or court lady is a female personal assistant at a court, attending on a royal woman or a high-ranking noblewoman. Historically, in Europe, a lady-in-waiting was often a noblewoman but of lower rank than the woman to whom she attended. Although she may either have been a retainer or may not have received compensation for the service she rendered, a lady-in-waiting was considered more of a secretary, courtier, or companion to her mistress than a servant.
A queen regnant is a female monarch, equivalent in rank and title to a king, who reigns in her own right over a realm known as a "kingdom"; as opposed to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king; or a queen regent, who is the guardian of a child monarch and rules temporarily in the child's stead, be it de jure in sharing power or de facto in ruling alone. She is sometimes called a woman king. A princess regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over a "principality"; an empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an "empire".
Sultana or sultanah is a female royal title, and the feminine form of the word sultan. This term has been officially used for female monarchs in some Islamic states, and historically it was also used for sultan's consorts.
Valide sultan was the title held by the "legal mother" of a ruling sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The title was first formally used in the 16th century during Hafsa Sultan's, mother of Sultan Suleyman I, reign, superseding the previous title of mehd-i ulya. or "the nacre of the pearl of the sultanate". Normally, the living mother of a reigning sultan held this title. Those mothers who died before their sons' accession to the throne were never bestowed with the title of valide sultan. In special cases sisters, grandmothers and stepmothers of a reigning sultan assumed the title valide sultan.
Şehzade is the Ottoman form of the Persian title Shahzadeh, and refers to the male descendants of an Ottoman sovereign in the male line. This title is equivalent to "prince of the blood imperial" in English.
The royal descendants of Queen Victoria and of King Christian IX, monarchs of the United Kingdom (1837–1901) and Denmark (1863–1906) respectively, currently occupy the thrones of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of the First World War their grandchildren occupied the thrones of Denmark, Greece, Norway, Germany, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. For this, Victoria was nicknamed "the grandmother of Europe" while Christian IX was nicknamed "father-in-law of Europe".
A queen mother is a former queen, often a queen dowager, who is the mother of the reigning monarch. The term has been used in English since the early 1560s. It arises in hereditary monarchies in Europe and is also used to describe a number of similar yet distinct monarchical concepts in non-European cultures around the world.
Haseki Sultan was the title used for the chief consort of an Ottoman Sultan. In later years, the meaning of the title changed to "imperial consort". Hürrem Sultan, principal consort and legal wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, was the first holder of this title. The title lost its exclusivity under Ibrahim I, who bestowed it upon eight women simultaneously. The title haseki sultan was used until the 17th century. After that, kadınefendi became the highest ranking title for imperial consorts, although this title was not as prestigious as haseki sultan.
The Pantheon of the House of Braganza, also known as the Pantheon of the Braganzas, is the final resting place for many of the members of the House of Braganza, located in the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal. The pantheon's burials have included Portuguese monarchs, Brazilian monarchs, a Romanian monarch, queen consorts of Portugal, and notable Infantes of Portugal, among others.
Padshah Begum was a superlative imperial title conferred upon the empress consort or 'First Lady' of the Mughal Empire and was considered to be the most important title in the Mughal harem or zenana. This title can be equivalent with "empress" in English, but in only approximate terms in the Mughal context.