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A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in rank and title to a king, who reigns suo jure (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 pro tempore 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 suo jure over a "principality"; an empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns suo jure over an "empire".
A queen regnant possesses and exercises sovereign powers, whereas a queen consort or queen regent shares her spouse's and/or child's rank and titles but does not share the sovereignty of her spouse or child. The husband of a queen regnant traditionally does not share the queen regnant's rank, title, or sovereignty. However, the concept of a king consort or prince consort is not unheard of in both contemporary and classical periods.
A queen dowager or empress dowager is the widow of a king or emperor; a queen mother is a queen dowager who is also the mother of a reigning sovereign.
The oldest attested queen regnant was the Sumerian queen of Kish, Kubaba, who reigned in the later mid-3rd millennium BC, and the Pharaoh Sobekneferu from the 18th/17th century BC.
In Ancient Africa, Ancient Persia, Asian and Pacific cultures, and in some European countries, female monarchs have been given the title king or its equivalent, such as pharaoh , when gender is irrelevant to the office, or else have used the masculine form of the word in languages that have grammatical gender as a way to classify nouns. The Byzantine Empress Irene sometimes titled herself basileus (βασιλεύς), 'emperor', rather than basilissa (βασίλισσα), 'empress', and Mary of Hungary was crowned as Rex Hungariae, King of Hungary in 1382.
Among the Davidic Monarchs of the Kingdom of Judah, there is mentioned a single queen regnant, Athaliah, though the Hebrew Bible regards her negatively as a usurper. The much later Hasmonean Queen Salome Alexandra (Shlom Tzion) was highly popular.[ citation needed ]
Accession of a queen regnant occurs as a nation's order of succession permits. Methods of succession to kingdoms, tribal chiefships, and such include nomination (the reigning monarch or a council names an heir), primogeniture (in which the children of a monarch or chief have preference in order of birth from eldest to youngest), and ultimogeniture (in which the children have preference in the reverse order of birth from youngest to eldest). The scope of succession may be matrilineal, patrilineal, or both; or, rarely, open to general election when necessary. The right of succession may be open to men and women, or limited to men only or to women only.
The most typical succession in European monarchies from the Late Middle Ages until the late 20th century was male-preference primogeniture: the order of succession ranked the sons of the monarch in order of their birth, followed by the daughters. Historically, many realms, like France, Holy Roman Empire forbade succession by women or through a female line in accordance with the Salic law, and nine countries still do, such countries being Japan, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Bhutan. No queen regnant ever ruled France, for example. Only one woman, Maria Theresa, ruled Austria. As noted in the list below of widely-known ruling queens, many reigned in European monarchies.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg  and the UK  amended their laws of succession to absolute primogeniture (in which the children of a monarch or chief have preference in order of birth from eldest to youngest regardless of gender). In some cases, the change does not take effect during the lifetimes of people already in the line of succession at the time the law was passed.
In 2011, the United Kingdom and the 15 other Commonwealth realms agreed to remove the rule of male-preference primogeniture. Once the necessary legislation was passed, this means that had Prince William had a daughter first, a younger son would not have become heir apparent. 
In 2015, Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history. She was the longest currently serving head of state and longest currently reigning monarch from 2016 until her death on 8 September 2022. 
Because there is no feminine equivalent to king and emperor in East Asian languages, different titles are used for female monarchs and female consorts. The titles of female monarchs in East Asia are translated directly as "female king" or "female emperor" and the titles of female consorts in East Asia are translated directly as "king's consort" or "emperor's consort". So, the titles of female monarchs in East Asia are the same as those of male monarchs, just indicating that they are women. [lower-alpha 1]
In China, the term nǚhuángdì (女皇帝, "female emperor"), abbreviated as nǚhuáng (女皇), has been used for three empresses regnant to assume the title of huángdì: Daughter of Xiaoming, Chen Shuozhen and Wu Zetian, because the title huánghòu (皇后, "emperor's consort") means only an empress consort. [lower-alpha 2] The term nǚwáng (女王, "female king") was also used for queens regnant of Sumpa and it is different from the title wánghòu (王后, "king's consort") which means a queen consort.
In Korea, the term yeowang (여왕, "female king") was developed to refer to three queens regnant of Silla: Seondeok, Jindeok and Jinseong, because the title wangbi (왕비, "king's consort") means only a queen consort. The term yeoje (여제, "female emperor") was also used for Yi Hae-won, the titular empress regnant of Korean Empire because the title hwanghu (황후, "emperor's consort") means only an empress consort.
Although Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia, it used the royal titles of East Asia. [lower-alpha 3] The title as a queen regnant of Trưng Trắc was Nữ vương ("female king") and the title as an empress regnant of Lý Chiêu Hoàng was Nữ hoàng ("female emperor"), and they are different from the titles of female consorts.
In Japan, the title used for two queens regnant of Yamatai: Himiko and Toyo was joō (女王, "female king") and it is different from the title ōhi (王妃, "king's consort") which means only a queen consort. The term josei tennō (女性天皇, "female emperor") has been used for empresses regnant of Japan because the title kōgō (皇后, "emperor's consort") means only an empress consort. 
Although the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan is currently barred to women following the Imperial Household Law (Emperor Naruhito has a daughter, Princess Aiko. She cannot accede to the Chrysanthemum Throne), this has not always been the case; throughout Japanese history, there have been eight empresses regnant. The Japanese imperial succession debate became a significant political issue during the early 2000s, as no male children had been born to the Imperial House of Japan since 1965. Prime Minister Junichirō Koizumi pledged to present parliament with a bill to allow women to ascend the Imperial Throne, but he withdrew this after the birth of Prince Hisahito (Naruhito's nephew) in 2006.
Emperor Kinmei was the 29th Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign is said to have spanned the years from 539 to 571. Some historians regard Kinmei as the first historical Japanese Emperor based on historical evidence.
Emperor Bidatsu was the 30th Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Emperor Yōmei was the 31st Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Emperor Sushun was the 32nd Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Empress Suiko was the 33rd monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Empress Kōgyoku, also known as Empress Saimei, was the 35th and 37th monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Empress Genshō was the 44th monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Her reign spanned the years 715 through 724.
Empress Kōken, known as Empress Shōtoku after her second accession to the throne, was the 46th and the 48th monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Emperor Ninken was the 24th legendary Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. No firm dates can be assigned to this Emperor's life or reign, but he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 4 February 488 to 9 September 498.
Emperor Keitai was the 26th legendary emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Emperor Ankan was the 27th legendary Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Emperor Senka was the 28th legendary Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Emperor Seiwa was the 56th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
A posthumous name is an honorary name given mainly to the illustrious dead in East Asian culture. It is predominantly practised in East Asian countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand. Reflecting on the person's accomplishments or reputation, the title is assigned after death and essentially replaces the name used during life. Although most posthumous names are given to royalty, some posthumous names are given to honour significant people without hereditary titles, such as courtiers or military generals.
Empress Meishō was the 109th monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Her reign lasted from 1629 to 1643.
The Empress of Japan is the title given to the wife of the Emperor of Japan or a female ruler in her own right. In Japanese, the empress consort is called Kōgō (皇后). The current empress consort is Empress Masako, who ascended the throne with her husband on 1 May 2019. Much like their male counterparts, female rulers who ascend the throne by their birthright are referred to as 天皇 (tennō), but can also be referred to as 女性天皇 or 女帝 (jotei). josei tennō refers only to an empress regnant of Japan, and jotei refers to an empress regnant of any countries.
The ranks of imperial consorts have varied over the course of Chinese history but remained important throughout owing to its importance in management of the inner court and in imperial succession, which ranked heirs according to the prominence of their mothers in addition to their strict birth order. Regardless of the age, however, it is common in English translation to simplify these hierarchy into the three ranks of Empress, consorts, and concubines. It is also common to use the term "harem", an Arabic loan word used in recent times to refer to imperial women's forbidden quarters in many countries. In later Chinese dynasties, these quarters were known as the back palace. In Chinese, the system is called the Rear Palace System.
Kōkyū (後宮) is the section of a Japanese Imperial Palace called the Dairi (内裏) where the Imperial Family and court ladies lived.
The daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei, whose given name is unknown, was briefly the emperor of the Xianbei-led Chinese Northern Wei dynasty. She bore the surname Yuan, originally Tuoba. Yuan was the only child of Emperor Xiaoming, born to his concubine Consort Pan. Soon after her birth, her grandmother the Empress Dowager Hu, who was also Xiaoming's regent, falsely declared that she was a boy and ordered a general pardon. Emperor Xiaoming died soon afterwards. On 1 April 528, Empress Dowager Hu installed the infant on the throne for a matter of hours before replacing her with Yuan Zhao the next day. Xiaoming's daughter was not recognised as an emperor (huangdi) by later generations. No further information about her or her mother is available.