Queen Elizabeth Is Technically Not the Queen of England

Royal titles can be a difficult subject to navigate, especially when it comes to Queen Elizabeth’s plethora of styles. Her Majesty goes by many titles around the world, some of which depend on where she is visiting. Although many royal watchers still refer to her as the Queen of England, you may be surprised to learn that she is technically not the Queen of England at all.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Geoff Pugh – WPA Pool /Getty Images

What is Queen Elizabeth’s official title?

Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne following her father’s death in 1952. She has sat on the throne for the past 68 years, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history. In 2022, Her Majesty will celebrate 70 years on the throne and her husband, Prince Philip’s, 100th birthday.

Over the course of her reign, the Queen has gained many titles. When she inherited the crown, her full official title was Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

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She also holds several unofficial titles, depending on where she is visiting. When Her Majesty is in Jamaica, for instance, she goes by the name Missis Queen, and in Canada’s Salish nation she is called the Mother of all People.

Queen Elizabeth inherited a few titles that are passed down to every reigning monarchy, regardless of their gender. This includes the title of the Duke of Normandy whenever she is in the Channel Islands.

Why isn’t Her Majesty the Queen of England?

Speaking of her unofficial titles, Queen Elizabeth is often referred to as the Queen of England in the media. While many royal watchers know her by this name, she is not technically the Queen of England.

Her Majesty’s officially shortened title is actually Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Queen Elizabeth I was actually the last monarch to hold the title of the Queen of England.

When she passed away in 1603, King James I took over the crown and was coronated the King of the United Kingdom. This united three kingdoms (England, Scotland, and Ireland) for the first time in history.

Since 1603, all of reigning sovereigns have taken the title of King of Queen of the United Kingdom. Unless something drastic changes, that will hold true to Queen Elizabeth’s successor, Prince Charles.

Nevertheless, Elizabeth is still referred to as the Queen of England, a tradition that probably isn’t going away anytime soon.

Was Queen Elizabeth ever a duchess?

There was a time, of course, when Queen Elizabeth was not the Queen of the United Kingdom. When she tied the knot with Philip in 1947, her father, King George VI was still on the throne.

Many members of the royal family receive a dukedom upon marriage, a title that is the highest rank outside of the king or queen. After she exchanged vows with Philip, King George granted him the title of the Duke of Edinburgh, which made her the Duchess of Edinburgh.

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Queen Elizabeth was forced to give up her title as the Duchess of Edinburgh when she took the throne. The reason she could not keep both styles is because it is a lesser title. Philip, on the other hand, was able to keep his title as the Duke of Edinburgh, a style he holds to this day.

Most of Queen Elizabeth’s titles, meanwhile, will be passed down to Charles once he is on the throne. The same holds true for Prince William, who is currently second in line to the throne.

When Charles takes the crown, he will be forced to give us his title as the Duke of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales as well.