Skip Nav

Why Isn't Prince Philip a King?

The Royal Rule That Keeps Prince Philip From Being a King

Prince Philip became a member of the British royal family when he married then-Princess Elizabeth in November 1947. Born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, he gave up his titles on their wedding day and was instead named Duke of Edinburgh. When Elizabeth became queen after the death of her father in 1952, Philip did not become a king — and there's a longstanding rule that explains why.

In the UK, the husband of a reigning queen is called a prince consort, no matter what. Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, wanted to make her husband, Albert, king consort, but the British government wouldn't allow it because he was technically a foreigner. Instead, he was given the title of prince consort. Technically, there is no automatic right to any title when marrying a monarch; it wasn't until five years after her succession to the throne that Elizabeth II made Philip a prince of the United Kingdom, and he has never formally been designated a prince or king consort title, which is purely symbolic anyway.

On the flip side, the wife of a king normally gets the title of queen, but it too is only ceremonial; Queen Elizabeth I became queen consort when George VI became king, and the same rule goes for Kate Middleton, who will also earn the title when Prince William becomes king. An exception to this will be made when Prince Charles takes the throne, as Clarence House announced after their wedding that his wife, Camilla, will be known as princess consort, saying, "It is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne." However, when the time comes, Charles will have the power to upgrade her title to queen consort if he so chooses. And here's another plot twist: should Prince Philip outlive his wife and see his son Charles become king, he would be able to retain the style "his majesty" and could also be given the title king father, like that of Queen Elizabeth I when Elizabeth II took the throne.

Image Source: Getty / Karwai Tang
More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Did Princess Charlotte Inspire Gucci's Collection?
Fascinating Facts About Patricia Allison
Why Safiya Nygaard Is the Best YouTube Celebrity
Fun Things to Know About Finn Wolfhard
Fun Things to Know About Sophia Lillis
Meghan Markle Shares Video From British Vogue Guest Edit
Fascinating Facts About Lana Condor
Fascinating Facts About Evan Roderick
Prince William Kate Middleton Australia Bushfire Visit 2020
Celebrities Who Got Married on Holidays
Kate Middleton Rewears Alexander McQueen to 2020 BAFTAs
Who Has Jennifer Aniston Dated?
Latest Celebrity
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds