I was thinking about the British Royal Family, particularly the Queen Mother and why she had that title. I started wondering if Queen Elizabeth II died before Prince Phillip (and Charles became King) would Phillip get an equivalent title (at least in the Press, which loves short nicknames for everyone). "King Father" would obviously be wrong as he has never been King but "Prince Father" also sounds odd and suggests "Father of a Prince" rather than "Father of the King". I see Wikipedia talks about "Queen dowagers" and that "dowager Princess" has sometimes been used, so "dowager Prince Phillip" would fit except "dowager" always refers to a female, specifically a widow. So is there any equivalent for a widower?

As far as I know, no male consort has survived his wife in British Royalty but has it happened in other countries or is there an example in British Nobility that could set a precedent for this?

  • As pointed out when Is there a male equivalent to a Dowager [Queen] was asked on Yahoo Answers over a decade ago: You would think there must be, but I don't think the question has come up in all of British history, because all reigning Queens have outlived their husbands or didn't have one (except William & Mary, but they were co-rulers, so he was always the King). We might settle on something if Phillip outlives the Queen, but probably not - that sort of nomenclature is a bit dated today, new ones would be unlikely. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 17:46
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    @FumbleFingers The Yahoo Answer is from "Anonymous". I was hoping if that was the answer that at least someone here could find a reference that is a bit better sourced.
    – Dragonel
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 18:00
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    A clarification: "Queen Dowager" and "Queen Mother" don't mean the same the same thing; it just happens that the late Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon held both titles. "Queen Dowager" is the widow of a King; while "Queen Mother" is a Queen Dowager who is also the mother of a reigning monarch. Elizabeth's title at the time of her passing was (in part) "Princess Elizabeth, Queen Dowager and Queen Mother" Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 18:54
  • @MarkBeadles Is a queen mother actually necessarily a queen dowager? If a king abdicates and the throne passes to his child, is his queen (presuming she’s the mother of the new monarch) not also a queen mother despite not being a dowager since the ex-king is still alive? Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 19:07
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Some sources say that in the UK the queen mother is defined to be a queen dowager who is the mother of the monarch [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_queen_mothers]. On the other hand, Isabella of France does meet your criterion, but I don't know if she was ever called the Queen Mother. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 19:53

2 Answers 2


It is still "dowager." In instances where a king consort has been widowed by a queen regent, he is referred to as the dowager king or dowager king-consort, as exemplified by Ferdinand II of Aragon when his wife Isabella I of Castile preceded him in death. From 1506 to his death in 1516, in the kingdom of Castile, Ferdinand II was referred to as the Dowager King-Consort of Castile or King Dowager of Castile, ruling Castile as regent, because his daughter with Isabella I, Joanna, was not yet of age.

Here are a few of other examples: Dowager Duke Eastman, Dowager King Consort, King Dowager Beets, and Dowager Duke.

  • Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria, was a prince when she married him, and he was known and addressed as the "Prince Consort". Neither Victoria, nor the previous queen regnant, Queen Anne, made their husbands kings consort.
    – tautophile
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 22:31
  • And? What's that got to do with my answer?
    – Billy
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 3:45

To better distinguish Queen Elizabeth, a Queen Regnant, from her mother Queen Elizabeth, Queen Consort to the late King George VI, the latter was styled Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. She was a dowager queen, but was never referred to or addressed as Queen Dowager.

If the present queen should die before her consort, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, he would continue to be (and be addressed as) Duke of Edinburgh, not Prince Dowager.

  • That sounds reasonable, but do you have any evidence from the Royal family that that is indeed what they plan on doing?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 19:36
  • No, Mitch, I don't, or rather, I don't, but someone else might. Check under "consort" in Wikipedia for some leads.
    – tautophile
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 23:19
  • Prince Philip was created Duke of Edinburgh shortly before he married Princess Elizabeth, and was made a Prince of Great Britain several years later. He was never given the title of Prince Consort -- the title Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria held. Wikipedia. Thus there is no need of a special title for Philip should he survive the Queen. Similarly, Princess Anne will hold the title of Princess Royal until she herself dies. Wikipedia.
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 0:52

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