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King consort

From Academic Kids

King consort is a title given in some monarchies to the husband of a Queen regnant. Nowadays, it is a symbolic title only, the sole constitutional function of the holder being similar to a Queen consort, namely to produce an heir to the throne. Spain, Portugal, and Scotland have all had kings consort; however, since the rank of king normally outranks that of queen, in most monarchies the Queen's husband is given the title of prince or prince consort instead. In Denmark and the Netherlands, the queen's husband is made a prince.

Earlier, the husband of a heiress became the possessor of her lands (and titles) jure uxoris. In Middle Ages, this was totally true for even Queens Regnant and Princesses Regnant. Accordingly, the husband of the reigning female monarch became monarch, and from this the denotation "King Consort" is a consequence. In some cases, the king thus ascended, remained king even after the death of the wife, and in some cases left the kingdom to their own heirs who were not issue of the wife in question (cf Wladyslaw Jagello, King of Poland, ascended as husband of Queen Jadwiga). In the event of a divorce between a reigning female monarch and her husband, the husband would remain the monarch and the wife would lose her status. One example of this is when Marie of Boulogne and Matthew I of Boulogne were divorced in 1790. Marie ceased to be Countess, while Matthew I continued to reign until 1793.

Later, the woman remained as the monarch, but the husband had some power, usually as co-regent. For example, Maria Theresa of Austria was queen regnant, but her husband Francis was King Consort.

Queen Mary I, Queen regnant of England (reigned 1553 - 1558), accordingly styled her husband Philip King of England and that was recognized in the administration of the realm, where the dating went "Mary & Philip"; Philip was also king of Naples, and later in his own right King Philip II of Spain (reigned 1556 - 1598) and King Philip I of Portugal (reigned 1580 - 1598).

The husband of Queen regnant Mary II of England (reigned 1689 - 1694) became King regnant and co-ruler William III of England (1689 - 1702). Mary had requested from the Parliament to pass an act allowing them to rule jointly as co-sovereigns. This was the only such case in British history. After her death William continued to rule on his own. Conversely, Philip of Spain lost his English title when his wife died.

Victoria of the United Kingdom (reigned 1837 - 1901) wanted to make her husband Albert king consort. But the British government refused to introduce a bill allowing it, as Albert was a foreigner. She instead gave him the title of Prince Consort in 1857.

In the United Kingdom, there is no automatic right of the consort of a Queen to receive any title, as with any husband of a suo jure peeress. Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (reigned 1952 - ) did not create her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh a Prince of the United Kingdom until 1956, four years after her accession. He has never been formally designated prince consort or king consort.


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