‘Queenly’ terms

My students have been asking me for the past few days about terms they have heard during broadcasts regarding the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Queen regnant – a queen who reigns in her own right. Equivalent in rank to a king.
  • Queen regent – a guardian of a child monarch who reigns in their stead (either jointly – de jure, or alone – de facto) until the child comes of age
  • Queen consort – wife of a reigning king. Equal to the king in rank but not in power. The male equivalent is usually Prince consort, although there have been some King consorts
  • Queen dowager /Dowager Queen – the widow of a King
  • Queen mother – a former Queen who is the mother of the reigning monarch

Sweden is, at the moment, ruled by a King and his wife is the Queen. The Crown Princess is a woman and when she becomes queen, her husband (formerly a commoner, now a prince) will become Prince consort. Their daughter, the second in line to the throne, is free to marry a partner of any gender. It will be interesting to see how the titles will work then. Queen and Queen consort, maybe?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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