Prince Philip was never king despite marrying Queen Elizabeth II. Here's why.

queen elizabeth prince philip 60th wedding anniversary
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Fiona Hanson/Getty Images
  • When Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth II, he became prince consort, not king consort.

  • Some say he wasn't given the title of king because we would have outranked the Queen.

  • Others cited Philip's nationality or the changing role of the monarchy.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, died at the age of 99 on Friday.

Philip had had heart problems for some time and had recently had a procedure for a preexisting heart condition.

Philip was the longest-serving British consort in history. He was made prince consort after he married Queen Elizabeth II in 1947.

During his 73-year marriage to the Queen, Philip was never given the title of king.

Philip likely wasn't king because he would have outranked the Queen with the title

The Queen's title is traditionally considered lower in rank than a king.

The title of queen can mean either a female monarch or the wife of the monarch, while a king can only ever describe a reigning monarch, Mental Floss reported.

This could explain why Philip was never called the king of England or king consort and why he wasn't crowned during the monarch's coronation in 1953.

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The Queen and Philip at her coronation in 1953. Associated Press

In addition, Philip was not in the line of succession for the British crown, so it would not have made sense for him to be crowned alongside the Queen.

In comparison, Kate Middleton will be able to use the title of queen consort when Prince William is crowned, because it can be a symbolic title.

"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."

So it was not unusual that Philip was not crowned alongside the Queen.

But others speculate that the changing role of the monarchy is why Philip was never king

Though ranking is the most obvious reason for Philip's given title, Nigel Cawthorne, the author of a book about Philip titled "I Know I Am Rude," argued that his nationality might have more to do with why he was not made king consort.

Before he married the Queen, Philip read a biography of Prince Albert, who was married to Queen Victoria, that "made very clear to him that the role of the queen's husband had changed," Cawthorne said.

"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.

Philip was born a prince of Greece and Denmark - so, following the precedent set by Albert, he would not have been able to be king consort.

Cawthorne also told Insider that the evolving role of the monarchy likely contributed to Philip being made prince consort instead of king consort.

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The Queen and Philip on their thrones. Getty

"Elizabeth as Queen would no longer wield Victoria's power," Cawthorne said. "His wife's office was confined to the institution of the monarchy as it existed in Britain. As a spouse, he had to fit in since he had no standing in the line of succession or in the institution."

The monarchy acts as more of a figurehead than a governing body in modern times. The reigning monarch and those who are in the direct line of succession are the only members of the royal family who retain any power, so it would not have made sense for Philip to be a king consort alongside the Queen.

There's no way to know what the exact reasoning for Philip's title was, and we likely won't see a similar situation for many years.

The next three people in line for the crown - Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George - are all male, so it will probably be decades before a female monarch is in the same position as Queen Elizabeth II was.

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