British queen mothers

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Queen Elizabeth was styled "Queen Mother" during her widowhood.
Styles of
Queen mother
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am

Queen mother is defined as "a queen dowager who is the mother of the reigning sovereign".[1][2]


Further information: queen mother

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.

As a queen, a queen mother retains the style of Her Majesty.

List of queen mothers[edit]

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.

House of Hanover[edit]

There were no queen mothers among the Hanoverians.

20th century[edit]

  • 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 fifth 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "queen mother, n.". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.): "The widow of a king who is also the mother of the reigning monarch. "
  2. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary.