Suo jure

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Suo jure is a Latin phrase, used in English to mean 'in his own right' or 'in her own right'. In most nobility-related contexts, it means 'in her own right', since in those situations the phrase is normally used of women; in practice, especially in England, a man rarely derives any style or title from his wife (an example is Richard Neville, earl of Warwick from his wife's heritage) although this is seen in other countries when a woman is the last heir of her line. It can be used for a male when such male was initially a 'co-lord' with his father or other family member and upon the death of such family member became the sole ruler or holder of the title "in his own right" (Alone).


It is commonly encountered in the context of titles of nobility or honorary titles, e.g. Lady Mayoress, and especially in cases where a woman holds a title through her own bloodline or accomplishments rather than through her marriage.

An empress or queen who reigns suo jure is referred to as an "empress regnant" or "queen regnant", those terms often being contrasted with empress consort or queen consort: "empress" and "queen" are, however, often used alone to refer to either a regnant or consort, the distinction being indicated by context.

Examples of suo jure titles

State portrait of Maria Theresa, which depicts her as the "first lady of Europe" in a precious dress of Brabant bobbin lace. To her right are Hungary's Crown of Saint Stephen, Bohemia's Crown of Saint Wenceslas and the Austrian Archducal hat as symbols of her suo jure reigns. The portrait is in the centre of the Hall of Ceremonies in Schonbrunn Palace (by Martin van Meytens, c. 1752) Maria Theresia im Spitzenbesetzten Kleid.jpg
State portrait of Maria Theresa, which depicts her as the "first lady of Europe" in a precious dress of Brabant bobbin lace. To her right are Hungary's Crown of Saint Stephen, Bohemia's Crown of Saint Wenceslas and the Austrian Archducal hat as symbols of her suo jure reigns. The portrait is in the centre of the Hall of Ceremonies in Schönbrunn Palace (by Martin van Meytens, c. 1752)

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  1. "Hall of Ceremonies".
  2. Sambrook, James (January 2008). "Godolphin, Henrietta, suo jure duchess of Marlborough (1681–1733)" . Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/92329 . Retrieved 2012-05-18.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. The Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile 1980, Article 45 (a).
  4. Chile offers Pinochet new immunity Archived 26 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine , BBC , 25 March 2000