Why Isn’t Prince Philip a King?

(Last Updated On: September 9, 2022)
Why Isn’t Prince Philip a King?

Being the husband of the Queen of England, it seems that Philip should have automatically become a king. After all, if the roles were reversed and Philip was a king, then Elizabeth would still have be a queen. However, that’s not quite how titles work under English common law. So why isn’t Prince Philip a king?

Why Isn’t Prince Philip a King?

Within the English common law system, the title and rank within a royal family makes up their name. Thus, when a woman takes her husband’s name (which is traditionally how it is done), she also takes on that rank—again, it’s part of their name. However, there is no automatic right for anyone to take a title when they marry a monarch.

For example, if a woman marries a prince, she could automatically take on the role of princess. The same applies to dukes and other royal offices. However, if the roles are reversed and the woman is the one with the higher title, her husband would not acquire that title. But the woman doesn’t lose her ranking.

In essence, it’s a quirk in the law and revolves around the tradition of women taking their husband’s names upon marriage. Since most husbands don’t take their wives names when they marry, they don’t get the title with it. If the husband has a title, they will retain their ranking.

Another reason why Philip was never considered a king is because of tradition within the law. Back when Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901, she asked to have her husband Albert dubbed as king consort. The government denied that request because he was considered to be a foreigner. Thus, he was given the title prince consort. When it comes to succession and titles, they typically only apply to bloodlines.

Currently, the British line of succession to the throne is as follows:

1. Prince William

2. Prince George

3. Princess Charlotte

4. Prince Louis

5. Prince Harry

What Is the Role of the King or Queen of England?

The king or queen of England serves as the head of state, but they don’t develop legislation. That is left to the people who are elected to Parliament. The king or queen and the office is usually just a symbol of unity and national pride. As the head of state, when they interact with Parliament, it is expected they will be neutral in relationship to the nation’s political parties.

The king or queen opens each session of Parliament and is responsible for assenting to pieces of legislation that are passed by Parliament. If there are any state orders, they are approved by the king or queen. In addition, they have the authority to appoint a prime minister.

Mainly viewed as a figurehead, the king or queen in England doesn’t really wield any real authority. However, the authority they do have is an important part of the government. They are also part of a longstanding tradition, supporting the people of the country through various charities and organizations, and giving the world a family to be inspired by and enthralled with.

Want some inspiration from the Queen? Check out these Queen Elizabeth II quotes.

Did you know Sporcle has thousands of United Kingdom quizzes? Make sure to try a few out. You can start with the quiz below!

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