Charles III with the current queen consort, Camilla (pictured in 2019)
Charles III with the current queen consort, Camilla (pictured in 2019)
Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving royal consort in world history[1]
Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving royal consort in world history[1]

A royal consort is the spouse of a reigning king or queen. Consorts of monarchs of the United Kingdom and its predecessors have no constitutional status or power but many have had significant influence.[2] There have been 11 royal consorts since Britain's union of the crowns in 1707, eight women, and three men.

Prince Philip, the longest-served and oldest-ever consort, died aged 99 after having served for nearly 70 years. His mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who died aged 101, lived longer than any other royal consort, but at the time of her death she did not hold the position of consort, as her husband King George VI had died 50 years before her.[3]

After the death of Prince Philip, the position of royal consort was vacant until the death of Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022. Camilla became the queen consort upon the accession of Elizabeth II's eldest son, Charles III, as King.[4]

History

Since the union of England and Scotland in 1707, there have been eleven consorts of the British monarch.[5] Queens between 1727 and 1814 were also Electress of Hanover, as their husbands all held the title of Elector of Hanover.[6] Between 1814 and 1837, queens held the title as Queen of Hanover, as their husbands were Kings of Hanover.[7] The personal union with the United Kingdom ended in 1837 on the accession of Queen Victoria because the succession laws (Salic Law) in Hanover prevented a female inheriting the title if there was any surviving male heir (in the United Kingdom, a male took precedence over only his own sisters, until the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 which removed male primogeniture).[8] In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Hanover was annexed by Prussia and became the Province of Hanover.[9]

Style

The wife of the reigning King has typically been styled as "Her Majesty The Queen" and is addressed as "Her Majesty" or "Your Majesty" (When addressing directly). While upon Charles III's accession to the throne Camilla's legal title became "Her Majesty The Queen";[10], she has been styled "Her Majesty The Queen Consort".[11] Buckingham Palace has stated that whether Camilla will eventually be known as "Her Majesty The Queen", as queen consorts traditionally are, is "a question for the future".[12]

The husband of a reigning Queen is addressed according to the style he has either been given upon marriage, or prior to marriage - he does not automatically share the same titles, style and honour of his wife.

Exceptions

Not all wives of monarchs have become consorts, as they may have died, been divorced prior to their husbands' ascending the throne, or married after abdication. Such cases include:

1. Princess Sophia Dorothea of Celle, wife of George, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (the future King George I), married 22 November 1682, divorced 28 December 1694, died 13 November 1726.

2. Lady Diana Spencer, wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (the future King Charles III), married 29 July 1981, divorced 28 August 1996, died 31 August 1997.

Wallis Warfield, wife of Edward, Duke of Windsor (the former King Edward VIII), married 3 June 1937, widowed 28 May 1972, died 24 April 1986.

An unusual case was Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who had separated from her husband George IV prior to his accession, became queen consort by law but had no position at court and was forcibly barred from attending George IV's coronation and being crowned.[13]

Only George I and Edward VIII were unmarried throughout their reigns.[14]

Male consorts

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is the only male consort to be awarded the title of Prince Consort.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is the only male consort to be awarded the title of Prince Consort.

While all British female consorts were automatically styled as queen, the titles of the three male consorts were inconsistent.

Future consorts

Charles III ascended the throne following the death of his mother, Elizabeth II. His heir apparent is William, Prince of Wales, whose wife Catherine, Princess of Wales is presumed to become the next queen consort.

List of consorts

Picture Name Arms Birth Marriage Became consort Coronation Ceased to be consort Death Resting place Tenure Spouse
Michael Dahl (1656-1659-1743) - Prince George of Denmark (1653–1708) - 533846 - National Trust.jpg
Prince George of Denmark and Norway
Coat of Arms of George of Denmark, Duke of Cumberland.svg
2 April 1653
Son of Frederick III of Denmark and Norway
and Duchess Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
28 July 1683 1 May 1707

Creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain; previously English royal consort since spouse's accession 8 March 1702
Not crowned 28 October 1708

55 years, 209 days
Westminster Abbey 1 year, 180 days Anne
Style of Michael Dahl - Queen Caroline - Warwick Shire Hall.jpg
Princess Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Coat of Arms of Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach.svg
1 March 1683
Daughter of John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
and Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach
22 August 1705 11 June 1727

Spouse's accession
11 October 1727 20 November 1737

54 years, 172 days
Westminster Abbey 10 years, 162 days George II
Allan Ramsay - Queen Charlotte (Royal Collection)1.jpg
Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Coat of Arms of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1761–1801).svg

Coat of Arms of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1801–1816).svg

Coat of Arms of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1816–1818).svg
19 May 1744
Daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg, Prince of Mirow
and Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen
8 September 1761 8 September 1761

Marriage to the monarch
22 September 1761 17 November 1818

74 years, 126 days
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle 57 years, 70 days George III
Dupont - Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales.jpg
Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Coat of Arms of Caroline of Brunswick.svg
17 May 1768
Daughter of Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
and Princess Augusta of Great Britain
8 April 1795 29 January 1820

Spouse's accession
Not crowned 7 August 1821

53 years, 72 days
Brunswick Cathedral 1 year, 190 days George IV
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.jpg
Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Coat of Arms of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.svg
13 August 1792
Daughter of Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
and Princess Louise Eleanore of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
13 July 1818 26 June 1830

Spouse's accession
8 September 1831 20 June 1837

Spouse's death
2 December 1849

56 years, 311 days
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle 6 years, 359 days William IV
Prince Albert 404387.jpg
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Coat of Arms of Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.svg
26 August 1819
Son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
10 February 1840 10 February 1840

Marriage to the monarch
Not crowned 14 December 1861

42 years, 110 days
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle then Frogmore Mausoleum 21 years, 307 days Victoria
QueenAlexandra.jpg
Princess Alexandra of Denmark
Coat of Arms of Alexandra of Denmark.svg
1 December 1844
Daughter of Christian IX of Denmark
and Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel
10 March 1863 22 January 1901

Spouse's accession
9 August 1902 6 May 1910

Spouse's death
20 November 1925

80 years, 354 days
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle 9 years, 104 days Edward VII
Queen Mary by William Llewellyn.jpg
Princess Mary of Teck
Coat of Arms of Mary of Teck.svg
26 May 1867
Daughter of Prince Francis, Duke of Teck
and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
6 July 1893 6 May 1910

Spouse's accession
22 June 1911 20 January 1936

Spouse's death
24 March 1953

85 years, 302 days
25 years, 259 days George V
Queen Elizabeth Bowes Lyon in Coronation Robes by Sir Gerald Kelly.jpg
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Coat of Arms of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.svg
4 August 1900
Daughter of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
and Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck
26 April 1923 11 December 1936

Spouse's accession
12 May 1937 6 February 1952

Spouse's death
30 March 2002

101 years, 238 days
15 years, 57 days George VI
The Duke of Edinburgh (2).jpg
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark
Coat of Arms of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.svg
10 June 1921
Son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
and Princess Alice of Battenberg
20 November 1947 6 February 1952

Spouse's accession
Not crowned 9 April 2021

99 years, 303 days
69 years, 62 days Elizabeth II
Duchess of Cornwall (Chair of State) 2022.jpg
Camilla Rosemary Shand
Coat of arms of Camilla Shand, Queen consort.svg
17 July 1947
Daughter of Bruce Shand
and The Hon. Rosalind Cubitt
9 April 2005 8 September 2022

Spouse's accession
6 May 2023 Incumbent

Age: 75 years, 165 days
Living 113 days Charles III

References

  1. ^ "Royal Family to pay tribute to His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh in new BBC One film". BBC. 8 September 2021. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  2. ^ Tudor and Stuart consorts : power, influence, and dynasty. Aidan Norrie. Cham, Switzerland. 2022. ISBN 978-3-030-95197-9. OCLC 1336986822.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link); Bogdanor, Vernon (1995). The monarchy and the constitution. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-152089-1. OCLC 344061919.; Queens & power in medieval and early modern England. Carole Levin, R. O. Bucholz. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-8032-2278-6. OCLC 316765760.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Campbell, Colin, Lady (2012). The queen mother : the untold story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, who became Queen Elizabeth the queen mother (First ed.). New York. ISBN 978-1-250-01896-0. OCLC 861786771.
  4. ^ Holden, Michael (2022-09-08). "From 'Rottweiler' to Queen Consort, Camilla's rise from shadow of Diana". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  5. ^ "Monarch award, Consort category". Merry Christmas. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  6. ^ Kirsty.Oram (2015-12-30). "The Hanoverians". The Royal Family. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  7. ^ "Marie, , Queen of Hanover. She was the wife of King George V of..." Getty Images. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  8. ^ Emma.Goodey (2016-03-17). "Succession". The Royal Family. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  9. ^ "Kingdom of Hannover". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  10. ^ "Is Camilla now Queen Camilla?". Constitution Unit.
  11. ^ "The Queen Consort". The Royal Family. 8 September 2022. Archived from the original on 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  12. ^ Duffy, Nick (10 September 2022). "'Question for the future' whether Camilla is called The Queen or Queen Consort, says palace". I. Retrieved 30 September 2022.; Furness, Hannah (14 October 2022). "Palace to quietly drop Consort from Queen Camilla's title". The Telegraph.
  13. ^ "Why Was Queen Caroline Barred From Her Husband's Coronation?". TheCollector. 2022-03-17. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  14. ^ "Why was Edward VIII still unmarried at 42 years old? At that time wasn't it customary for royal parents to arrange an engagement or urge ..." Quora. Retrieved 2022-11-02.