Almost 67 years ago, Princess Elizabeth took the throne to become Queen Elizabeth II, while her husband, Prince Philip, remained a prince. So why Prince Philip wasn’t King Philip? Keep reading to know more about this myth. In this article, we are explaining the Royal titles of the Royal family and how they are assigned.
Why Prince Philip wasn’t the King?
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, has died at 99 years old.
In a statement on April 9, 2021, the Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 9, 2021
His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. pic.twitter.com/XOIDQqlFPn
One of the most unusual confusion about Prince Philip we all question is that why he was not the King of England if he was the husband of Queen. Rather, he was Prince Philip (or the Duke of Edinburgh).
However, when Prince William take charge of the throne as a King, his wife, Kate, will become either “Queen” or “Queen Consort” for as long as William lives – after which Prince George is in line to take the throne as a King, and Kate will take on a new title following that she has become the widow of a king and mother of the ruling king (considering she outlives William).
If Kate is eligible to be Queen, then why was Prince Philip not King?
The answer to this question can be found in British Parliamentary law, which defines who’s up next for the throne, and also what title his or her spouse will have. In terms of succession, the law regards only blood, and not gender. This may sound a little complicated, but it’s can be easily explained. In terms of the spouses of royalty, though, that law treats men and women differently.
Here’s an easy guide to the current line of succession.
When a male in the royal bloodline marries: His wife takes whatever is the female form of his title. Hence, when Prince William married Kate Middleton and became Duke of Cambridge, Kate became Duchess of Cambridge, and when Prince William becomes King, Kate’s title will change to match William’s.
Searching back a couple of generations, when Queen Elizabeth II’s father, George VI, became King, his wife’s title became “Queen Consort,” although she was generally referred to as “Queen Elizabeth” (having been born Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, not to be mixed with Queen Elizabeth I of England, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn). Queen Elizabeth owned her title until George died, at which point Elizabeth II mounted to the throne, and her mum became “Queen Mother.”
When a female in the royal bloodline marries: Her husband is not qualified to take the male form of his wife’s title, as Marlene Koenig, a royal biographer, and writer of the Royal Musings blog, explained. That’s why Princess Eugenie’s husband, Jack Brooksbank, continues “Mr. Jack Brooksbank” when they got married in October 2018.
Keeping the same rules in mind, when Philip Mountbatten married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, he did not become Prince. It wasn’t until 1957 that Queen Elizabeth presented the title of “prince” on Philip by issuing a letter’s patent.
Fun fact: Philip was born a prince to both the Greek and Danish royal families but renounced his claim to those thrones and titles to marry Elizabeth, and probably as an incentive to do so, was appointed His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of the wedding, a title he held until he died in 2021.