|Part of a series on|
|Imperial, royal, noble,|
gentry and chivalric ranks in Europe
|Emperor · Empress · King-Emperor · Queen-Empress · Kaiser · Tsar · Tsarina|
|High king · High queen · Great king · Great queen|
|King · Queen|
|Archduke · Archduchess · Tsesarevich|
Grand prince · Grand princess
Grand duke · Grand duchess
|Prince-elector · Prince · Princess · Crown prince · Crown princess · Foreign prince · Prince du sang · Infante · Infanta · Dauphin · Dauphine · Królewicz · Królewna · Jarl · Tsarevich · Tsarevna|
|Duke · Duchess · Herzog · Knyaz · Princely count|
|Sovereign prince · Sovereign princess · Fürst · Fürstin · Boyar|
Marquess · Marquis · Marchioness ·
Margrave · Marcher Lord
· Landgrave · Count palatine
|Count · Countess · Earl · Graf · Châtelain · Castellan · Burgrave|
|Viscount · Viscountess · Vidame|
|Baron · Baroness · Freiherr · Advocatus · Lord of Parliament · Thane · Lendmann|
|Baronet · Baronetess · Scottish Feudal Baron · Scottish Feudal Baroness · Ritter · Imperial Knight|
|Eques · Knight · Chevalier · Ridder · Lady · Dame · Sir · Sire · Madam · Edelfrei · Seigneur · Lord · Laird|
|Lord of the manor · Gentleman · Gentry · Esquire · Edler · Jonkheer · Junker · Younger · Maid · Don|
A queen mother is a dowager queen who is the mother of the reigning monarch The term has been used in English since at least 1560. It arises in hereditary monarchies in Europe and is also used to describe a number of similar yet distinct monarchical concepts in non-European cultures around the world.
A widowed queen consort, or dowager queen, has an important royal position (whether or not she is the mother of the reigning sovereign) but does not normally have any rights to succeed a king as monarch on his death unless she happens to be next in line to the throne (one possibility would be if the King and Queen were also cousins and childless, the King had no other siblings, and she in her other position as his cousin was also his heiress presumptive).
A new reigning king would have (at accession or eventually) a wife who would be the new queen consort; and, of course, a queen regnant would also be called 'Queen'. More to the point, there may be more than one queen dowager at any given time.
The title "queen mother" evolved to distinguish a queen dowager from all other queens when she is also the mother of the reigning sovereign. Thus, upon the death of her husband, King George V, Queen Mary became queen mother, retaining the status throughout the reigns of her sons, Edward VIII and George VI.
The title also distinguishes former queens consort from those who are simply the mother of the current monarch. For example, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was "the Queen's mother" when her daughter Victoria became queen regnant, but she was not "queen mother". The title in British usage is purely a courtesy title. While the wife of a king is called "queen", there is no constitutional or statutory recognition of "queen mother" as a title.
There is no male equivalent to a queen mother (i.e. "king father"). This would occur only if the husband of a queen regnant outlived the queen and was thereafter father to the new king or queen. Such a situation has never occurred. Since the title "queen mother" derives from the woman's previous title of "queen", it would also be incongruous to call such a father of a monarch the "king father", as the husbands of queens regnant are not called "king", but rather "prince consort". The exact title such a person would assume has not been clarified by royal lineage experts. "Prince father" is a possibility.
In the Ottoman Empire, Valide sultan (Ottoman Turkish: ) or Sultana mother was the title held by the mother of a ruling Sultan. The title was first used in the 16th century for Hafsa Sultan, consort of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, superseding the previous title of mehd-i ülya ("cradle of the great"). The Turkish pronunciation of the word Valide is [va:.li'de].
The position was perhaps the most important position in the Ottoman Empire after the sultan himself. As the mother to the sultan, by Islamic tradition ("A mother's right is God's right"), the valide sultan would have a significant influence on the affairs of the empire. She had great power in the court and her own rooms (always adjacent to her son's) and state staff. In particular during the 17th century, in a period known as the "Sultanate of Women", a series of incompetent or child sultans raised the role of the valide sultan to new heights.
In Eswatini, the queen mother, or Ndlovukati, reigns alongside her son. She serves as a ceremonial figurehead, while her son serves as the administrative head of state. He has absolute power. She is important at festivals such as the annual reed dance ceremony.
In many matrilineal societies of West Africa, such as the Ashanti, the queen mother is the one through whom royal descent is reckoned and thus wields considerable power. One of the greatest leaders of Ashanti was Nana Yaa Asantewaa (1840-1921), who led her subjects against the British Empire during the War of the Golden Stool in 1900.
In more symbolically driven societies such as the kingdoms of the Yoruba peoples, the queen mother may not even be a blood relative of the reigning monarch. She could be a female individual of any age who is vested with the ritual essence of the departed queens in a ceremonial sense, and who is practically regarded as the monarch's mother as a result. A good example of this is Oloye Erelu Kuti I of Lagos, who has been seen as the iya oba or queen mother of every succeeding king of that realm, due to the activities of the three successors to her noble title that have reigned since her demise.
These mothers of monarchs, and others, albeit not always officially so titled have also been considered equal to queen mothers:
If a king were to abdicate and pass the throne to his child, then in that case the king could have his son or daughter style him as a king father. King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia was styled as HM King Father Norodom Sihanouk when he abdicated in favor of his son. When King Albert II of the Belgians abdicated in 2013 his style shortened to His Majesty King Albert (as did King Leopold III); "king father" is the name of his role rather than forming part of his style or title.
When Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III of Brunei abdicated, he became the Begawan Sultan or the Sultan Father or Begawan Sultan. He was given the title of His Majesty the Sultan-Father or in Malay was Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan and this office became vacant when he died.
Hold a similar role as mothers or fathers of their country's reigning monarchs: