What is a Queen Mother?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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A Queen Mother, is, simply, the mother of the reigning monarch. Most U.S. residents are most familiar with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, mom to England's Queen Elizabeth II. When England's Queen Mother died in 2002, at age 101, she was accorded a state funeral.

A queen mother is the mother of the monarch, if she has also been queen consort herself. Otherwise, she is known as the dowager queen. The reasons behind this distinction are lost in antiquity.

When Queen Elizabeth's husband, King George VI, died, her title changed from "Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth" to "Her Majesty, the Queen Mother." She retained the "Her Majesty" style, as would a dowager queen, and chose the title "Queen Mother" since she was not fond of the term "dowager." The Queen Mother continued to perform royal duties until the end of her life, at her choice. The queen mother in any country generally chooses what duties, if any, she will undertake for the crown. She is due all the courtesies and considerations of the reigning monarch until the end of her life.

Whether the mother of the sultan, king, queen or caliph, the mother of the sovereign, whether queen mother or dowager queen, has historically enjoyed a certain amount of prestige and even power. Many rulers throughout the ages have been greatly influenced by their mothers' advice and position. For better or for worse, a monarch's mother almost always has extensive influence over the sovereign.


England's Queen Mother was a universal favorite with Britain's press, and was one of the few royals who was rarely, if ever, hounded, attacked or insulted. Even the editorial cartoonists left her in peace, by and large. Affectionately known as "The Queen Mum," she was also the favorite royal among the British people. Her strength as she stood by her husband during World War II endeared her to the older population, and her grandmotherly demeanor made her accessible to younger people.

A queen mother of any country is almost always a force to be reckoned with. She has been on a throne, may have possibly governed as regent, and usually knows the government players thoroughly. Never underestimate the power of a mom.


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Post 2

@Lostnfound: She really was. I read the book "The King's Speech" and she really did support her husband and help him when he needed to speak publicly, as he often did during World War II.

She was always kind of fireproof. No matter what the British press said about Queen Elizabeth or the antics of her kids, they usually stayed strictly away from criticizing the Queen Mother.

Post 1

I think everybody loved "the Queen Mum." She was a remarkable lady.

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