Queen regnant explained
See also: List of current queens regnant.
A queen regnant (plural "queens regnant") is a qualifying reference to a female monarch possessing and exercising all of the monarchical powers of a ruler, in contrast to a "queen consort", who is the wife of a male reigning as monarch and who is without any official powers of state.
In Ancient Egypt, Pacific cultures, and even in historical European countries, as noted below, women regents have been given the title, king or its equivalent, such as pharaoh, when gender is irrelevant to the office. Also the Byzantine Empress Irene 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 Judea, there is mentioned a single Reganant Queen, Athaliah - though the Bible regards her negatively as an usurper. Converesely, the much later Hasmonean Qeen Salome Alexandra (Shlomzion) was highly popular.
Technically, a male king also may be a king regnant or a king consort - but this distinction is unusual and, for example, has been used only twice in the history of the British monarchy and its predecessor monarchies. In all current monarchies that allow for a queen to take the throne, the husband of such a queen is not titled king, generally ranking as a prince. The husband of Mary I of England and Ireland and the second husband of Mary I, Queen of Scots were both created kings consort of their wives' realms. The husband of Mary II, Queen of England and Ireland, and Queen of Scots, was named king regnant co-sovereign with her, as William III of England, II of Scots, and I of Ireland. The latter arrangement was the only occasion of co-sovereignty in Britain - at least officially. Thereafter, informally the husbands of queens regnant in Britain have been styled princes consort (the formal title Prince Consort, however, having been granted only to Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria).
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. Right of succession by gender may be open to men and women, limited to men only, or limited to women only.
The most typical succession in European monarchies from the Late Middle Ages through most of the twentieth century was male-preference primogeniture; i.e., the order of succession cycled through the sons of the monarch in order of their birth, followed then by the daughters. 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 the Holy Roman Empire, she held the title Holy Roman Empress first by marriage and was the de facto ruler for forty years. As noted in the list below of widely-known ruling queens, many ruled in European monarchies.
In the waning days of the twentieth century, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands amended their acts of succession to primogeniture with no preference as to gender. In some cases, the change does not take effect until the generation following the current generations in existence - to avoid dispossessing people who already were in the succession, in a particular position. In China, Wu Zetian became the Chinese Empress Regnant and established the Zhou Dynasty (also known as Wu Zhou 武周) after dismissing her sons and becoming the Empress Regnant. Although the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan currently is barred to women, historically, this has not always been the case and eight of the ruling empresses of Japan are listed below.
Partial list of queens regnant
Although many ancient ruling queens are omitted and unknown queens of cultures poorly recorded or undocumented upon discovery, such as all of the queens in Africa, Micronesia, Oceania, Polynesia, and such are omitted, the following is a list of some queens who are well-known in popular writings.
There has been only one empress regnant documented in Chinese history, Wu Zetian, but there have been many powerful empress consorts or empress dowagers, some of whom effectively ruled, as noted below. Powerful empress consorts or empress dowagers were de facto rulers, but not de jure empress regnants. A concubine who gave birth to a crown prince also could become empress dowager, although her status still was a little lower than an empress dowager who had been the former empress consort.
- Queen Himiko, of Yamatai
- Queen Toyo, of Yamatai
- Empress Jingū (ruled 206–209?) — legendary and possibly mythical; removed from the list of Emperors in the nineteenth century
- Empress Iitoyo
- Empress Suiko (554-628), (ruled 593–628) — first ruling empress
- Empress Kōgyoku (594-661), (ruled 642–645) — formerly Princess Takara (Empress Consort of Jomei)
- Empress Saimei (594-661), (ruled 655–661) - same person as Empress Kōgyoku, second reign under a second name
- Empress Jitō (645-702), (ruled 690–697)
- Empress Gemmei (661-721), (ruled 707–715)
- Empress Genshō (680-748), (ruled 715–724) — formerly Princess Hidaka
- Empress Kōken (718-770), (ruled 749–758)
- Empress Shōtoku (718-770), (ruled 764–770) - same person as Empress Kōken, second reign under a second name
- Empress Meishō (1624-1696), (ruled 1629–1643)
- Empress Go-Sakuramachi (1740-1813), (ruled 1762–1771) — most recent ruling empress
- Seri Ratu Niharsyah the Sultana of Samudera Pasai
- Seri Ratu Ta'jul Alam Shah the Sultana of Atjeh (Aceh) Darussalam, formerly known as Puteri Seri Alam the Daughter of The Great Sultan Iskandar Muda, and wife of Sultan Iskandar Thani (ruled Atjeh for nearly 36 years)
- Seri Ratu Keumalat Shah the god-daughter of Ratu Ta'jul Alam
- Seri Ratu Inayat Shah the god-daughter of Ratu Ta'jul Alam
- Margaret I, Queen of Denmark (ruled 1375–1412), Queen of Norway (ruled 1388–1412), Queen of Sweden (ruled 1389–1412)
- Margaret II (ruled 1972–present)
- Jadwiga of Poland (ruled 1384-1386) - was crowned as, Rex Poloniae, King of Poland, to emphasize that she was monarch in her own right
- Anna Jagiellon (ruled 1575-1595)
- Boudica, queen of the Brythonic Celtic Iceni people of Norfolk in Eastern Britain who, in 61 AD, led a major uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire
- Queen Cordelia
- Queen Gwendolen
- Matilda (or Maud) of England (named, but never ruled 1141 because her title was usurped) styled herself as Lady of the English, although Queen of the English was not unknown; she was named heir by her father, Henry I of England, upon securing the loyalty of nobles of the realm, but Count Stephen of Blois contradicted his promise after the king's death and made himself King of England instead; civil war ensued and was ended when the crown was secured to Matilda's (or Maud's) son, Henry II of England, who became the first king of the House of Plantagenet
- Margaret, the Maid of Norway (heir March 19, 1286 – September 26, 1290) - she was the daughter of Eirik II of Norway and Margaret, daughter of Alexander III, she died during the sea journey to Scotland before being inaugurated
- Mary I, Queen of Scots (ruled December 14, 1542 – July 24, 1567) - she became queen when she was six days old, was crowned at age five, and promptly engaged to the Dauphin of France - the future Francis II
- Lady Jane Grey (ruled July 10 – July 19, 1553) – her cousin Edward VI of England appointed her successor by removing his older half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth from the order of succession as illegitimate heirs; this decision had not been approved by Parliament and was open to questions of its legality; Mary was the heir according to the will of their father Henry VIII of England and was elevated to the throne through revolt; nevertheless, without consideration to Celtic queens such as Boudica, Jane is sometimes referred to as England's first queen regnant; she is called The Nine Days Queen because of the brief period of her reign
- Mary I of England (ruled July 19, 1553 – November 17, 1558) - elevated to the throne in accordance with Henry VIII's will, she is reckoned the first or second queen regnant and subsequent years of her reign as though Jane had never been Queen
- Elizabeth I of England (ruled November 17, 1558 – March 24, 1603) - her elder sister Mary I attempted to remove her from the order of succession; she succeeded her childless older half-sister and led England to one of its richest periods in history, known as the Elizabethan Age; she died childless
- Mary II of England, Mary II, Queen of Scots (ruled February 13, April 11, 1689 – December 28, 1694) - co-reigned with her husband William III; they were given the throne by Parliament after the same deposed James II during the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688
- Anne, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland and later, Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland (ruled March 8, 1702 – August 1, 1714)
- Victoria of the United Kingdom (ruled June 20, 1837 – January 22, 1901)
- Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (ruled February 6, 1952 - present)
Kandake was a title for queens, queen mothers, and queens consort in Nubia, but ruling Kandakes may have included
- Kūkaniloko, 11th Moʻi of Oʻahu, (ruled sixteenth century)
- Kalaimanuia, 12th Moʻi of Oʻahu, (ruled 1600-1665)
- Kamakahelei, 22nd Moʻi of Kauaʻi, (ruled 1770 - 1794)
- Kaikilani, 17th Moʻi of Hawaiʻi Island, (ruled 1575-1605)
- Keakamahana, 19th Moʻi of Hawaiʻi Island,