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Queen Mother

The term Queen Mother is a title often held by the mother of a reigning monarch. Its full meaning is clear from the two words that make it up: queen indicates someone who served as queen consort (i.e. wife of a king), while mother indicates the holder of the title's relationship with the current monarch.1 The title is not held by someone unless she is simultaneously a former queen consort and mother of the current monarch - with the exception of Helena of Greece and Denmark (see below).

Table of contents
1 Recent British Queen Mothers
2 Other Queen Mothers
3 Exceptional cases
4 Footnote

Recent British Queen Mothers

The following former queen consorts became queen mothers, though not all chose to use that style.

Other Queen Mothers

The title 'Queen Mother' has been widely used in monarchies. Among other Queen Mothers were:

Exceptional cases

In rare cases, the king of a nation may be divorced or a widower. If he remarries, and his second wife outlives him, but is not the mother of his successor, it is unclear what title this woman assumes, though
Queen Dowager or Dowager Queen might be appropriate, under the circumstances.

Queen Noor of Jordan for example was King Hussein's fourth wife, and stepmother of current king Abdullah II. She is still referred to as Queen Noor, although rarely, and then inaccurately, as the "Queen Mother." If anything, she would be the Queen Dowager, although such a title has never been seriously floated.


1 Diana, Princess of Wales suggested to Andrew Morton, a journalist with whom she secretly worked on the book Diana, Her True Story, that when her son, Prince William of Wales became king, she would be known as King Mother. (Source: Andrew Morton, interviewed by Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show on RTÉ.) However no such title does or can exist. She would most likely have remained Diana, Princess of Wales, unless given a new courtesy title, perhaps Dowager Princess of Wales, had the Prince of Wales not married someone else and his new wife outlived him, in which case that would have been his second wife's widowed title and unavailable for use by Diana.