In recent news, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip breathed his last on Friday at the age of 99. Only months away from his 100th birthday, he was the longest-serving consort in British history and was also referred to as the Queen’s “strength and stay” for 73 years.
A statement from Buckingham Palace on Friday said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
He was married to the then-princes Elizabeth in 1947 and was by her side when she was crowned as the queen in 1952. This is when he officially became prince consort. However, despite being the husband to the Queen, he was never given the title of King.
Here's what we know about why he was never given the title.
What was the title conferred to Prince Philip?
Prince Philip was most commonly known as His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Thus, this implies that he was s a prince consort, meaning the husband of a queen, but not by default the king. He was further given the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich when he married Elizabeth. Further, he owned a long list of earned, ceremonial, and honorary ranks and titles, like Lord High Admiral, which was a gift by the Queen on his 90th birthday. The former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015 conferred him an Australian knighthood.
Could Prince Philip have become a king?
It is important to note that Prince Philip was married into the royal family. Hence, when King George VI died in 1952, Philip's wife Elizabeth, who was the daughter of King George VI was next in line for the throne. Although Prince Philip’s wife ascended the throne he was not made the king as historically the title has been reserved for active monarchs.
In reality, some spouses of queens have been awarded the title of the king and have co-ruled the nation with their wives, whereas some queens have ruled on their own and their husbands have been called Prince Consorts. Thus, in this case, Queen Elizabeth never exercised the power to make Prince Philip the first king consort in England's history.
In comparison, Kate Middleton will be able to use the title of queen consort when Prince William is crowned because the title of the Queen can be used in a symbolic sense.
"Unless decided otherwise, a Queen consort is crowned with the King, in a similar but simpler ceremony," the royal website says. "If the new Sovereign is a Queen, her consort is not crowned or anointed at the coronation ceremony."
Thus, it was not an unusual event that Prince Philip was not crowned as a king alongside Queen Elizabeth.
Some also speculated that Prince Philip’s nationality could be a reason behind not awarding him the title as he hailed from Greece and Denmark.
Nigel Cawthorne, the author of a book about Philip titled "I Know I Am Rude," argued about this fact. Cawthorne said that before Philip married the Queen, he read the biography of Prince Albert, who was the husband of Queen Victoria. This biography "made very clear to him that the role of the queen's husband had changed," Cawthorne stated.
"Victoria was a Queen who still ruled Britain and Prince Albert was effectively her prime minister in all but name. Even though he had an important role in the palace, he was not made 'King Consort' because he was a foreigner," he wrote.
Although the British monarch can have a king and a queen at the same time, the reality does not require it to do so.
Who's next in line for the throne?
In the line of succession in the British monarchy, the Queen and Prince Philip's oldest son Prince Charles is next in line. After Prince Charles, his oldest son William is next to be crowned, followed by William's first son, George.
Post this, the line of succession experiences some changes including the legislation change in 2013, which successfully ended the exclusive make royal succession. This implied that younger sons could no longer displace older daughters born after October 28, 2011.
Thus, Princess Charlotte is fourth in line for the throne, below her older brother George, but ahead of her younger brother Louis.
The current order of succession is:
1. Charles, Prince of Wales
2. William, Duke of Cambridge
3. Prince George of Cambridge (William and Kate's oldest child)
4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (William and Kate's second child)
5. Prince Louis of Cambridge (William and Kate's third child)
7. Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (Prince Harry and Meghan's son)
8. Andrew, Duke of York (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's second son)
9. Princess Beatrice of York (Prince Andrew's daughter)
10. Princess Eugenie of York (Prince Andrew's daughter)