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Queen regnant

queen regnant, queen regnant and queen consort
A queen regnant plural:queens regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king, or a queen regent, who is the guardian of a child monarch reigning temporarily in their stead An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire

A queen regnant possesses and exercises sovereign powers A queen consort shares her husband's rank and titles, but does not share the sovereignty of her husband The husband of a queen regnant traditionally does not share his wife's rank, title or sovereignty However, the concept of a king consort is not unheard of in contemporary or classical periods

A queen dowager is the widow of a king A queen mother is a queen dowager who is also the mother of a reigning sovereign


  • 1 History
    • 11 East Asia
  • 2 Current queens regnant
  • 3 List of all queens regnant
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links


Elizabeth II of the UK, here with her husband on the occasion of her coronation in 1953

In Ancient Egypt, Ancient Persia, Asian and Pacific cultures, and even some European countries, as noted below, female monarchs have been given the title king or its equivalent, such as pharaoh, when gender is irrelevant to the office, or else have used the masculine form of the word in languages where gender is needed The Byzantine Empress Irene sometimes called herself basileus βασιλεύς, 'emperor', rather than basilissa βασίλισσα, 'empress' and Jadwiga of Poland was crowned as Rex Poloniae, King of Poland

Among the Davidic Monarchs of the Kingdom of Judah, there is mentioned a single queen regnant, Athaliah, though the Hebrew Bible regards her negatively as a usurper The much later Hasmonean Queen Salome Alexandra Shlom Tzion was highly popular

Accession of a regnant occurs as a nation's order of succession permits Methods of succession to queendoms, kingdoms, tribal chiefships, and such include nomination when the sitting monarch or a council names an heir, primogeniture when the children of a monarch or chief become regents in order of birth from eldest to youngest, and ultimogeniture when the children become regents in the reverse order of birth from youngest to eldest The scope of succession may be matrilineal, patrilineal, or both; or, rarely, open to general election when necessary The right of succession may be open to men and women, or limited to men only or women only

Margaret I ruled Denmark, Sweden and Norway in the late 14th and early 15th centuries

The most typical succession in European monarchies from the Late Middle Ages through most of the twentieth century was male-preference primogeniture; ie, the order of succession cycled through the sons of the monarch in order of their birth, followed by the daughters or grandsons Historically, many realms forbade succession by women or through a female line in obedience to the Salic law, and some still do No queen regnant ever ruled France, for example Only one woman, Maria Theresa, ruled Austria As noted in the list below of widely known ruling queens, many ruled in European monarchies

In the waning days of the 20th century and early days of the 21st, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg and the UK amended their acts of succession to absolute primogeniture In some cases the change does not take effect during the lifetimes of people already in the line of succession at the time the law was passed

In 2011, the 16 Realms of the Commonwealth agreed to remove the rule of male-preference primogeniture Once the necessary legislation was passed, this means that had Prince William had a daughter first, a younger son would not become heir apparent

East Asia

In China, Wu Zetian became the Chinese empress regnant and established the Zhou Dynasty after dismissing her sons It should be noted, however, that Empress Wu used the title huangdi 皇帝, "emperor" and in many European sources, as a female emperor rather than an empress regnant Similarly, a few decades earlier in Korea, Queen Seondeok of Silla and Jindeok of Silla developed the term yeowang 여왕, "female king" to refer to themselves instead of the term wangbi 왕비, which is usually translated as "queen consort" and refers to the wife of a king or emperor

Although the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan is currently barred to women, this has not always been the case; throughout Japanese history there have been eight empresses regnant Again, the Japanese language uses the term josei tennō 女性天皇, "female imperial ruler" for the position which would be "empress regnant" in English, with kōgō 皇后 being the term reserved for an empress consort

Current queens regnant

Elizabeth II
 United Kingdom6 February 1952
 New Zealand
 Jamaica6 August 1962
 Barbados30 November 1966
 The Bahamas10 July 1973
 Grenada7 February 1974
 Papua New Guinea16 September 1975
 Solomon Islands7 July 1978
 Tuvalu1 October 1978
 Saint Lucia22 February 1979
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines27 October 1979
 Belize21 September 1981
 Antigua and Barbuda1 November 1981
 Saint Kitts and Nevis19 September 1983
Margrethe II
 Denmark14 January 1972

List of all queens regnant

Further information:List of queens regnant

See also

  • Monarch
  • Order of succession
  • Queen consort
  • Rani
  • Regent
  • Salic law
  • Sultana


  1. ^ "Overturning centuries of royal rules" BBC News 
  2. ^ "New rules on royal succession come into force" BBC News 
  3. ^ Bloxham, Andy 28 October 2011 "Centuries-old rule of primogeniture in Royal Family scrapped" Telegraph London Retrieved 2011-12-31 

Further reading

  • Monter, William 2012 The Rise of Female Kings in Europe, 1300-1800 Yale University Press p 271 ISBN 9780300173277 ; studies 30 women who exercised full sovereign authority in Europe

External links

  • Queens Regnant throughout the times

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Queen regnant

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