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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Why is Queen Elizabeth II's husband a prince rather than a king?

Monarchy follows its own rules, and the British monarchy is no exception. On a hunt for royal trivia, we sought out Yahoo!'s Elizabeth II category. There we found a FAQ page about Britain's current queen.

Created by the Queen Elizabeth II Library in Newfoundland, Canada, the page answers a lot of questions about the library's namesake. A common query centers on Queen Elizabeth II's husband, asking "Why is Prince Philip not King Philip?" Here's the answer:

In the British monarchy, the husband of a female monarch does not have any recognized special status, rank, or privileges. In actual fact Prince Philip does play a major role in royal affairs, but this is not recognized in terms of his title. Interestingly enough, the wife of a male monarch (e.g. the Queen Mother was the wife of King George VI) takes on her husband's rank and style upon marrying, becoming Queen.

The official British Monarchy web site offers more details about the royal spouse. Prince Philip is the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and was born Prince of Greece and Denmark. Upon his marriage to then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, Philip was given the title "Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich," and was made a
Knight of the Garter. (He became a British citizen around this time and renounced his Greek and Danish titles). Elizabeth II was coronated in 1953, and in 1957, she granted Philip the title "Prince of the United Kingdom."

So, though his current princely title is a gift from his wife, he was really a prince from birth. But only his son, Prince Charles, has a shot at becoming king.

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