Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Queen, a word common to several Teutonic languages in the sense of "woman" or "wife" (Gothic qens and qino, Anglo Saxon cwen, Icelandic kvan and kona; cf. Greek gune). Quean is merely another form of the same word. In Anglo-Saxon "queen" came to be used of the king's wife only. In Wessex, however, hlaefdige ("lady") was the more usual term. "Queen" is the word employed in speaking of Matilda, wife of William I. and other royal consorts of the Norman and Plantagenet dynasties; but it is never applied to the Empress Matilda, who claimed the crown in her own right. It is now used alike of the queen-consort, the queen-dowager (the widow of the late king), and the queen-regnant. Owing to the doubts which still lingered as to whether a woman could reign in England, it was found necessary on the accession of Mary Tudor to pass a statute declaring that the queen-regnant has the same powers and prerogatives as a king. By the Act 25 Edward III. it was made treason to compass or imagine the death of the queen-consort or to violate her person; and, if the queen gave her consent to the latter, she herself committed treason. The legal position of a queen-consort is that of a feme sole and not of a feme couvert, so that she may purchase and convey lands or sue or be sued apart from her husband.