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I am not a history guy. But, from what I have collected from movies, TV shows and people, I see that old British society was male-dominant and there were female rights issues too. But, I also see some powerful queens in the history and the "for Queen and the Country" thing. Where's the catch? These two things don't look compatible.

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When there is a queen regnant, such as Queens Elizabeth I & II, Queen Victoria, there is no King. So the queen didn't really "get power over King" –  Louis Rhys Mar 29 at 18:08
    
@LouisRhys Well, I guess this is the answer then.. –  Sachin Shekhar Mar 29 at 18:14
    
First off, it is always a mistake to analyse history through the lens of stereotype. The role of the Queen/Queen Regent changes through history, and across lines. Furthermore much (although not all) of the gender stereotyping is a modern invention; just as an example, read She-Wolves. –  Mark C. Wallace May 6 at 10:56

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Until now, British law has given priority to male over female heirs of kings. But where there were no male heirs, a girl got the nod.

For instance, King Henry VIII had three (surviving, legitimate) children; Edward (the youngest), Mary, and Elizabeth. Edward, the boy, was crowned king ahead of his two older sisters. He died in adolescence (without children), so his older sister Mary was crowned Queen Regnant (a female king), and when she died childless in middle age, the middle child was crowned as Queen Elizabeth I.

Centuries later, King George VI had "only" two daughters, Elizabeth, and Margaret, so the former was crowned Elizabeth II. But if Margaret had been a boy named Mark, then "Mark" would have been crowned king over Elizabeth.

Going forward, Kate Middleton's first child was a boy, but even if it had been a girl, under the newest laws, the girl would (assuming she lived long enough) have been crowned Queen (Regnant), even ahead of any younger brothers she might have had.

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Thanks. Perfect answer.. No confusion... :) –  Sachin Shekhar Mar 31 at 16:49

Under English law and tradition, just as the spouse of a King is a Queen consort rather than a Queen Regnant, the spouse of a Queen Regnant is a King Consort and not a King Regnant or Monarch.

Other dynastic and national traditions may vary, as for example for Catherine the Great in Russia as well as her grand-mother-in-law Tsarina Catherine I.

Update:
In regards the English tradition of referring to the spouse of a Queen Monarch as a *Prince Consort:

Queen Victoria (reigned 1837–1901) wanted to make her husband Albert king consort, but the British government refused to introduce a bill allowing it, as Albert was a foreigner. She instead gave him the title of Prince Consort in 1857.

Note from this that there was apparently no opposition to the title King Consort being used, only to it being held by a foreigner.

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In the UK, there is no King Consort, the spouse of a queen regnant is a prince consort. I guess the reason is to prevent the consort from appearing to outrank the queen. –  Louis Rhys Mar 29 at 18:10
    
@LouisRhys: see my update. Prince Consort is the more usual title in the UK, but King Consort is an equivalent and alternative titular designation for the same role. –  Pieter Geerkens Mar 29 at 23:24
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Philip of Spain (Mary Tudor's husband) and William of Orange (Mary Stuart's husband) were each King of England etc. where their wives were the heirs, while George of Denmark, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Philip of Greece were not, so it is difficult to say that there has been a consistent rule. –  Henry Mar 31 at 13:30
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@Henry Philip of Spain's position of power over England as a foreigner was feared by locals. William gained power through the Glorious Revolution. It could be argued that the rest were titled Prince Consort precisely to avoid the fear of foreign dominance exhibited in the other two cases. –  called2voyage Mar 31 at 16:24

Britain's order of succession is determined by male-preference cognatic primogeniture (in the future it will be equal primogeniture). This allows a female to ascend the throne as queen regnant (queen in her own right, as opposed to being a consort to a king). Queens Elizabeth I & II and Queen Victoria are example of such queens. In their cases, there is no king - spouses of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II are titled "prince consort", and they are merely consorts to their queens.

On the other hand, queen consorts, such as the spouses of Kings George V & VI, did not have the same position as Queen Victoria's.

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