Why The Husband Of Queen Is Not King In England

Why the husband of queen is not king in england

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a x d S E b a y V j T e h C e F w V w i v n e t R a U g F e s F N g e W w G s N

Because the currently-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom is a queen, Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, had two children: Princess Elizabeth — who would become the Queen — and Princess Margaret. Therefore, King George VI had no son. Because of that after he passed away, his eldest child —regardless of gender — Princess Elizabeth succeeded him as the monarch, reigning as the Queen-regnant (a queen who reigned in her own right).

But at the time of George VI’s reign his wife became a Queen, who would later become the Queen Mother during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Why don’t we observe the same condition today by having Prince Philip as a king?

It’s all about taking titles from a spouse. A woman may take titles from her husband and father. But, a man cannot take and inherit titles from his wife and mother. King George VI’s wife, Queen Elizabeth (she’s also named Elizabeth) therefore took the feminime form of her husband’s titles. She reigned as the Queen-consort (wife of the reigning King) rather than a Queen-regnant. Queen-consort is different to Queen-regnant in terms of power in the government. But, both enjoy a relatively same dignity, being entitled to the form of address of ‘Majesty’.

Since Queen Elizabeth II is a Queen-regnant and she’s a female, her husband Prince Philip cannot take her titles in masculine form. Instead, he remained a Prince and become a Prince-consort who is entitled to the form of address of ‘Royal Highness’.

The same rule also applies to other royals, nobilities, and peers in the United Kingdom.

Why the husband of queen is not king in england

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This question seems to come up publicly quite regularly.The answer centres on the two uses of the word QUEEN. While there is only one meaning for the word KING (“a male sovereign ruler of an independent state or people” OED), the term QUEEN has multiple meanings.


Queen, as a term, has its origins in an ancient Germanic word for “wife”. So while the word king specifically means ruler, the word queen came into English to mean specifically “the wife of a ruler”.

This is what we would, today, clarify as a queen consort: the wife of a king, for example, Alexandra (wife of the King Edward VII) referred to while he was on the throne as “The Queen” and, after his death, as a respectful courtesy “Queen Alexandra”. Likewise, Mary of Teck, (wife of the King George V) referred to as “The Queen and, after his death, as a respectful courtesy, “Queen Mary”.

This is all in line with the original meaning of the term Queen as “wife of the king.”To differentiate in formal analytic writing from the meanings below, we might refer to such a person as “Queen Consort”.


Now, the complex bit comes historically with those rare cases when a woman inherited the throne. Bear in mind that in England, Great Britain and then the UK historically it was considered unlikely a woman would inherit the throne, given the custom and rule of male-preferred primogeniture, which means that the heir to the throne is the eldest living son of the present king (and any of their children), then any other sons (and their children), before any daughters. That is, a woman could only succeed to the throne if she had no living brothers at all, and no deceased brothers who left surviving legitimate descendants. (This was altered as recently as 2012 to allow the eldest child, regardless of gender, to inherit, which will make a woman sovereign far more likely than it has ever been in the past).

The term Queen is used here differently, meaning, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “A female ruler of an independent state, people, etc., esp. one who inherits the position by right of birth; a female sovereign. Frequently with ‘the’ as a title”

To differentiate this kind of Queen (sovereign) from the other kind (wife of a king), today we sometimes use the term “Queen Regnant” in analytical writing, meaning “Reigning Queen”.


Briefly, it’s worth mentioning that there are a few uses of Queen as a courtesy exclusively for the wives of Kings who have died. The usual case is that they are no longer referred to as “The Queen” the moment their husband has died, but out of respect they are called “Queen x” (e.g., Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Charlotte) and they are technically a “Dowager Queen”.

If a dowager queen is ALSO the mother of the next monarch, they may be known as “Queen Mother”. Only one has publicly/regularly been known as the “Queen Mother” (the mother of the present monarch, known as “Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother”, because the fact that she had the same name as her daughter would have caused enormous confusion if there were two Queen Elizabeths in public life (i.e., *The* Queen, and the dowager queen).

The term Queen Mother is part of English public speech because it has been used in the Anglican Church Book of Common Prayer which includes prayers for the “Mary, the Queen Mother” and “Alexandra, the Queen Mother”. It is assumed that is is from here where the term for Elizabeth was derived. Beyond that, it is not an official or legal term, and has not been widely used outside of church in the past, precisely because the name (e.g., Queen Mary) was sufficient to identify the former queen.


Short answer: Philip is not king because his wife is the type of Queen described as (2) above (reigning) and not (1) above (wife of a king).

There is no recognised title for the husband of a queen regnant in the UK (or previously in England and Scotland), although there have been a few interesting anomalies described below.One of the reasons for the fact that there are both no prescribed titles and that there are several anomalies is because, as mentioned above, women were unlikely to inherit the throne.

Whereas the Duchess of Cambridge—Kate—will be Queen because she will be of the use of the term (1) described at the very top above.

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