Difference between Queen Mother and Queen Dowager
By Claire Miles - May 15, 2023

Several prominent persons have borne the titles of Queen Mother or Queen Dowager throughout history. Such labels are generally maintained by widowed queens who continue to live throughout their children’s reigns (and even sometimes beyond that). The two titles are frequently used interchangeably. However, this is not always the case.


To use a more general word, Queen Dowager (or Dowager Queen). A dowager is defined as “a woman of high social position who has a title from her deceased husband” by the Oxford Dictionary. By definition, a Queen Dowager is a widowed Queen who holds her title due to her marriage to a now-deceased King. Throughout history, the Dowager has been used to identify any widowed lady who inherited a title from her late husband rather than only royalty.

A Queen Mother is a former Queen who is the current Monarch’s mother. The title of Queen Mother will be applied regardless of whether their kid is a King or Queen. Because most Queen Mothers are also Dowager Queens, the titles are frequently used interchangeably. This, however, is not always the case.

Queen Mother vs. Queen Dowager

A prominent characteristic of a Dowager Queen is that there might be more than one in a given kingdom at any given moment. A Dowager Queen is essentially any female connection to the current Monarch, the widow of a prior monarch. A Dowager can also remain in the line of succession if the current Monarch has no other potential successor.

Dowagers also served as regents when the present ruler was too young to take on any obligations. In contrast to Dowager Queens, there can only be one Queen Mother at a time since the ruling Monarch has only one mother. A Queen Mother retains her title even if she outlives her child; so far, her offspring sits on the throne.

Portrait of Woman with Crown


Comparison Chart
  1. The mother of a reigning monarch who is also a former Queen
The wife of a deceased monarch