Queen consort

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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 spouse's social rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles, but historically, she does not share the regnant's political and military powers. E In contrast, 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. A well known example of a queen regnant is Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She reigned as queen regnant from 1558 until her death in 1603. [1]

Contents

Titles

The title of prince consort for the husband of a reigning queen is rare. Examples are Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in Scotland; Antoine of Bourbon-Vendôme in Navarre; Francis, Duke of Cádiz, in Spain; and Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Portugal. Another example includes Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, whom in the event of marrying Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and her insistence that he be given a title of his status, became Albert, Prince Consort. [2]

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. Queen consorts often held an informal sort of power that was dependent on what opportunities were afforded to her. Should she produce a healthy heir, have an amiable personality, ambition and piety then chances were higher for her to gain this informal type of power. [3] They may 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 and culture, queen consorts may have served as a cultural bridge between nations. Based on journals, diaries and accounts, some queen consorts exchanged and introduced new forms of art, music, religion and fashion. [4] This is all based on the individual women, their experiences. If the Court, and even more so, the King were in favor of the Queen Consort she could gain power over time with cultural and social influence and with the birth of an heir. 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

Anne of Bohemia and Hungary, consort of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor Annajagiello.jpg
Anne of Bohemia and Hungary, consort of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Queen Catherine (1550-1612), consort of King Eric XIV of Sweden Kaarina Mansdotter in a detail from the original painting Erik XIV and Karin Mansdotter.jpg
Queen Catherine (1550–1612), consort of King Eric XIV of Sweden
Queen Sophia Magdalene wearing the crown of the Queen of Sweden. Sophia Magdalene of Sweden coin c 1785.jpg
Queen Sophia Magdalene wearing the crown of the Queen of Sweden.

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).

See also

Related Research Articles

Emperor Type of monarch

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Regnal numbers are ordinal numbers used to distinguish among persons with the same name who held the same office. Most importantly, they are used to distinguish monarchs. An ordinal is the number placed after a monarch's regnal name to differentiate between a number of kings, queens or princes reigning the same territory with the same regnal name.

Empress dowager is the English language translation of the title given to the mother or widow of an East Asian emperor, or a Southeast Asian (Vietnamese) emperor.

Hurrem Sultan Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (c.1502-1558)

Hurrem Sultan, also known as Roxelana, was the chief consort and wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. She has become 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, dowager queen or queen mother 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 lady-in-waiting or court lady is a female personal assistant at a court, royal or feudal, 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. A princess regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an "Principality"; an empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an "empire".

Sultana (title)

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.

Princess consort is an official title or an informal designation that is normally accorded to the wife of a sovereign prince. The title may be used for the wife of a king if the more usual designation of queen consort is not used.

Ottoman Imperial Harem

The Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire was the Ottoman sultan's harem – composed of the wives, servants, female relatives and the sultan's concubines – occupying a secluded portion (seraglio) of the Ottoman imperial household. This institution played an important social function within the Ottoman court, and wielded considerable political authority in Ottoman affairs, especially during the long period known as the Sultanate of Women. Multiple historians claim that the sultan was frequently lobbied by harem members of different ethnic or religious backgrounds to influence the geography of the Ottoman wars of conquest. The utmost authority in the Imperial Harem, the valide sultan, ruled over the other women in the household; she was often of slave origin herself.

Royal cypher

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Jure uxoris describes a title of nobility used by a man because his wife holds the office or title suo jure. Similarly, the husband of an heiress could become the legal possessor of her lands. For example, married women in England and Wales were legally incapable of owning real estate until the Married Women's Property Act 1882.

The royal descendants of Victoriaand of Christian IX 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, Queen Victoria was nicknamed "the grandmother of Europe" while King Christian IX was nicknamed "father-in-law of Europe". Of the remaining kingdoms of Europe today, only Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands descends neither from Queen Victoria nor King Christian IX.

A queen mother is a dowager queen who is the mother of the reigning monarch The term has been used in English since at least 1560. 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 Imperial title used for the chief consort of an Ottoman Sultan

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.

References

  1. Warnike, Retha (2007). "Elizabeth I: Gender, Religion and Politics". History Review. 58 (30): 30–31.
  2. Chancellor, Frank B. (1931). Prince Consort. New York: The Dial Press. pp. 215–218.
  3. Orr, Clarissa Campbell (2004). Queenship in Europe 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–9. ISBN   0521814227.
  4. Watanabe- O'Kelly, Helen (2016). "Cultural Transfer & The Eighteenth Cenutry Queen Consort". German History. 34 (2): 279–292. doi: 10.1093/gerhis/ghw002 .
  5. "Marie-Antoinette | Facts, Biography, & French Revolution". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  6. Phillips, Lawrence Barnett (1871). The Dictionary of Biographical Reference: Containing One Hundred Thousand Names, Together with a Classed Index of the Biographical Literature of Europe and America. S. Low, Son, & Marston. p. 900.