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Jure uxoris is a Latin term that means "by right of his wife" or "in right of a wife". It is commonly used to refer to a title held by a man whose wife holds it in her own right. In other words, he acquired the title simply by being her husband.

The husband of an heiress became the possessor of her lands and titles jure uxoris, "by right of [his] wife". In the Middle Ages, this was invariably true even for queens regnant and princesses regnant. Accordingly, the husband of the reigning female monarch became monarch. In some cases, the king thus ascended, remained king even after the death of the wife, and in some cases left the kingdom to their own heirs who were not issue of the wife in question (cf. Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland, who ascended as husband of Queen Jadwiga). In the event of a divorce between a reigning female monarch and her husband, the husband would remain the monarch and the wife would lose her status. One example of this is when Marie of Boulogne and Matthew I of Boulogne were divorced in 1170. Marie ceased to be Countess, while Matthew I continued to reign until 1173.

In later times, the woman remained the monarch, but the husband had some power. For example, Maria Theresa of Austria was queen regnant of Hungarymarker and Bohemia, but her husband Francis was king consort.

In Portugal, there was a specific condition for a male consort to become a king jure uxoris: fathering a royal heir. Queen Maria I already had children by her husband when she became Queen, so he became King Peter III of Portugal at the moment of his wife's accession.

In 1836, Queen Maria II married her second husband, Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Ferdinand became monarch jure uxoris the next year (in 1837), as soon as their first child was born, and he reigned as Ferdinand II, together with his wife. Queen Maria's first husband, Auguste of Beauharnais, was not monarch jure uxoris, because he died before he could father an heir.

Jure uxoris monarchs are not to be confused with kings consort, who were merely consorts of their wives, not co-rulers.

References

  1. H.C. Black, Black's Law Dictionary, rev. 4th ed. 1968, citing Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. 3, p. 210.



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