A queen consort is the consort of a reigning king (or an empress consort in the case of an emperor). She usually shares her husband’s rank and social status. Historically, a queen consort does not hold the political and military powers of the king. In contrast, a queen regnant is a queen in her own right, endowed with all the powers of a monarch and who most often became queen by inheriting the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.
The meaning of consort
A wife, husband, or companion, in particular the spouse of a reigning monarch.
What is the difference between queen and queen consort?
Victoria or even Elisabeth II became queens by descent, through succession. The queen consort is the king’s wife. As the word “consort” stipulates, the queen consort has a common fate with that of her husband, with the same titles, but she does not share the sovereignty of the monarch, nor his military power as commander of the armies.
The appellation of consort is given to the husband or wife of the sovereign and head of state in monarchies. We speak of king consort, queen consort, prince consort or even princess consort.
Charles and Camilla (cropped). President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose for a photo with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall Monday, June 3, 2019, prior to attending a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead). The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Queen Consort in the UK
The recognized wife of a king is a queen consort (literally : queen-wife, Latin regis uxor) or usually just queen, while there is no generally valid form for a queen’s husband (possible are prince consort or king consort, among others).
The masculine form of a royal consort finds its equivalent in German in the terms prince consort or titular king. Although often referred to as a Prince Consort , unlike the female and more common Queen Consort, a male Royal Consort has no set formal title. Philip II of Spain received the title of King Consort from his wife Queen Mary I, Queen Victoria made Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince Consort, while Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as husband of Elizabeth II, who gave her the title of Prince.
Under British law
Under British law, a Queen Consort is also a subject of the King, albeit his consort. However, she shares his dignity with him and enjoys certain privileges. Her formal title is Queen Consort and, analogous to the form of address of the king His Majesty , she is addressed as Her Majesty. Planning her death is treasonable, as is having a sexual relationship with her except for her husband. After the death of her royal husband, she becomes Queen Dowager (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).
Nevertheless, unlike a Queen Regnant (equivalent in rank and title to a king), a Queen Consort does not have the same status as a King, but is subordinate to it in rank. The male counterpart – namely the spouse of a Queen Regnant – also ranks lower than his wife and sovereign monarch, which is reflected in his address as Royal Highness.
When transferring the female form into German, there is the problem that both the term Queen Regnant and Queen Consort can be translated as “Queen”.
In German, on the other hand, there is no such distinction between a queen ruling sovereignly in her own right and a queen raised to this rank by virtue of her marriage to a king, since in the German-speaking area, due to the general practice of Salic law, only queens in the latter sense existed. The only exception is Maria Theresa as Queen of Bohemia and Hungary in her own right from 1740.
Consort in Spain
The king’s consort is queen consort and is treated as Majesty . Consort of the queen is the title that the Spanish Constitution of 1978 assigns to the husband of the Queen of Spain , holder of the Crown. By Royal Decree 470/2014, of June 13, it was specified that his dignity would be that of prince , with treatment of Royal Highness, preferring this to the unexplored formula, also suggested, of maintaining the constitutional title on its own terms as peculiar and unique dignity (as is that of queen consort), and also extend the treatment of Majesty, in a more egalitarian line. These titles, dignities and treatments have for the consort a lifetime and personal character in any case.
In the case of noble titles, the spouses of dukes, marquises, counts, etc. They receive the same treatment and honors as the holders of said grants, whether they are men or women. Widowed spouses maintain said treatments while they remain in such status, losing it in the event of remarriage.
Consort in Germany
The designation reigning queen in Germany
The term reigning for the wife of a king served in the parlance of German monarchies to distinguish between the previous crown princess, who had become queen as a result of her husband’s accession to the throne, and the now widowed queen. In Prussia in particular, two queens lived for many years.
After the death of his father, King Friedrich II decreed that his wife Elisabeth Christine, as reigning queen, should give way to Sophie Dorothea; who was now to be addressed as Queen Mother. The distinction was in common use without being a title. Friedrich Schiller appropriated the monologue of the Maid of Orleans in the play of the same name to the reigning Queen Luise of Prussia.
Johann Daniel Friedrich Rumpf used the term in a city guide for Berlin and Potsdam, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote songs to Her Majesty, the reigning Queen of Prussia, which Johann Friedrich Reichardt set to music in 1809. In the 1850s Karl Eduard used Vehse, the chronicler of the Prussian court, the designation for Elisabeth Christine. The queens of Bavaria also used this distinction.