British queen mothers
|Reference style||Her Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
A queen mother is a person satisfying the following criteria:
- She is the mother of the current monarch.
- She is a queen dowager
- She must have been queen consort, but not having ceased to be so due to a divorce or annulment.
Queen mother does not mean mother of the Queen; it applies whether the current monarch is queen or king.
List of queen mothers
Following is a list of women who, on the above definition, were entitled to be known as queen mother at some point in their lives.
- 1910–1925 Alexandra of Denmark (though she preferred not to use the title). Mother of George V.
- 1936–1952 Mary of Teck (who also preferred not to use the title). Mother of Edward VIII and George VI.
- 1952–2002 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of Elizabeth II; her fifty years is by far the longest ever that anyone has held the status of queen mother, and she is the only one ever to have held the formal title of Queen Mother.
House of Hanover
There were no queen mothers among the Hanoverians.
- Sophia of the Palatinate was the mother of George I, but died in 1714. She was herself the Heiress Presumptive of Queen Anne. Her death allowed George to succeed Anne later in the same year. His claim to the British throne was through her.
- Sophia Dorothea of Celle was the mother of George II, but died in 1726. George II did not become King until 1727. She was never regarded as queen, since her husband George I had divorced her in 1694, twenty years before becoming King of England.
- Caroline of Ansbach was the wife of George II but died in 1737. Her husband outlived her. They were the grandparents of their successor George III.
- Augusta of Saxe-Gotha was wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and mother of George III. As her husband was never king, she was never queen consort. She was always called the Dowager Princess of Wales from the death of her husband in 1751 until her own death in 1772.
- Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of George III and mother of both George IV and William IV, but predeceased her husband in 1818.
- Maria Anne Fitzherbert was married to George IV while he was Prince of Wales in 1785. The marriage was considered invalid under the Royal Marriages Act 1772, so she never became queen consort. She never had children by this marriage. She died in 1837.
- Caroline of Brunswick was the queen consort of George IV but died in 1821. Her husband outlived her.
- Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was the queen consort of William IV, but both parents outlived all their children. She outlived her husband and died in 1849. She was an aunt to Queen Victoria.
- Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the mother of Queen Victoria but was never a queen consort, so was not entitled to be queen mother. She still presumed that she would have the title, but her daughter was not very fond of her and made it clear that she would not grant it to her.
- Queen Victoria was mother to Edward VII but was queen regnant until 1901. Since Edward VII did not become king until his mother died, there was no queen mother in his reign. This case is inherent for any monarch whose mother was a queen regnant.
- Alexandra of Denmark was wife of Edward VII and mother of George V. She was Queen Mother from 1910 to her own death in 1925.
- Mary of Teck was wife of George V and mother to both Edward VIII and George VI. However, since Edward VIII was not married while he was King, she was technically not Queen Mother during his reign. She was Queen Mother from December 1936 until the death of her second son in 1952. Since her daughter-in-law then became Queen Mother, Mary was briefly the Dowager Queen Mother until her own death in 1953.
- Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was wife to George VI and mother of Elizabeth II. She was Queen Mother from 1952 until her death in 2002, and held the style HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
There will not be a Queen Mother for many years now, as the first in line to the throne, Prince Charles, is the son of a queen regnant. The mother of Princes William and Harry (second and fourth in line to the throne), Diana, Princess of Wales, is deceased. The next likely Queen Mother will be the now Duchess of Cambridge who, if her husband Prince William becomes king and predeceases her leaving one of their children on the throne, will become Queen Mother.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Webster's Third New International Dictionary.