Why Prince Philip was never called a king

He was a prince and a duke — but never a king.

The death of Prince Philip on Friday renewed the question of why the Queen’s husband was never bestowed the lofty title.

It turns out that an age-old rule within the British monarchy

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is to blame — the title of king can only be given to one who inherits the throne. That means a ruling queen’s husband is referred to as a Prince Consort.

The rule, however, differs for a woman who marries into the royal family, such as Kate Middleton, who will assume the symbolic title Queen Consort when Prince William eventually ascends to the throne.

Then only known as Duke of Edinburgh, Philip became a prince in 1957 when his wife Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the title on him a decade after their marriage.

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Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Philip -- who was never called king.
Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Philip — who was never called king.
Ray Collins – WPA Pool/Getty Images

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