Sunday, May 15

Should a reigning queen’s husband be able to get the title of king? Politicians refuse to take up the debate

Should a reigning king’s wife be called a queen, while a reigning queen’s husband only becomes a prince? No, says historian. Politicians refuse to take up the debate.

After the politicians changed the Constitution, Ingrid Alexandra has inherited the throne. But how far should equality go?

Last Friday, Princess Ingrid Alexandra turned 19 years old. Then the spotlight was on equality in the royal house. The government gave her a skin-bound imprint of the announcement that the Constitution was amended so that women had equal inheritance rights as men to the throne.

– This was an important constitutional change in the name of gender equality. It made Princess Ingrid Alexandra heir to the throne when she was born in 2004, said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

But how far should this equality go? Should it also have consequences for the use of the title of a reigning queen’s spouse?

– Now that there is equality in the succession, in the future it will be 50/50 whether the monarch is male or female. Then, from a gender equality perspective, it would be completely wrong for a male monarch’s wife to be called queen, while a female monarch’s husband should only be titled with the lower title prince.

This is what historian and author Trond Norén Isaksen says. He has written a number of books about the royal house.

King Harald’s spouse Sonja has the title queen. Should a future queen’s husband still be called a prince?

Silent politicians in several parties

Politicians in several parties refuse to start the debate. Aftenposten has been in contact with both the Labor Party, the Conservative Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party. Parliamentary leaders or heads of communications are asked if anyone would like to comment on the matter. The response has been very weak.

There are two reasons why Isaksen believes that a reigning queen’s husband should be named king. One is therefore the consideration of gender equality. The second is that there are long historical traditions for a queen’s husband to be called king in the same way that a king’s wife is called queen.

“Calling a queen’s husband a prince is a relatively modern phenomenon,” he says.

He explains that it originated in Great Britain in the 19th century and was followed by the Netherlands and Denmark in the 20th century.

– An advantage if the debate is taken on a principled basis

The question may become relevant on the day Ingrid Alexandra becomes queen and has possibly chosen to marry a man. It is probably a few decades ahead. Her father, Crown Prince Haakon, takes over the throne before her.

– During those years, hopefully gender equality will make further progress. But it will be an advantage if this debate can be taken on a principled basis and not end up as a personal debate based on whether people like Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s husband or not, says Isaksen.

He believes a reigning queen’s husband can get the title of king, without Constitution must be changed. Peter Frølich, the leader of the Storting’s control and constitution committee, disagrees. But he does not want to take any initiative himself.

Must replace “king” with “monarch”

– As the conservative politician I am, I do not think we should get rid of the “king” and “queen” in today’s constitution, he says.

– So you think it should be like now?

– It is a solution. If we are to change that, the Constitution must be changed. One must remove the use of “king” and “queen” and use the gender-neutral word “monarch” about the reigning king or queen, he says.

He explains this by saying that the “king” has a very special function in the Constitution.

– Whoever has that title, will get that authority, and that power can not be shared, he emphasizes.

He thus believes that if a future reigning queen gets a king by her side, then the latter will according to the Constitution be assigned the tasks the queen then has.

– But should one take this debate?

– Those who want to introduce a gender-neutral monarch in the Constitution must get on the field now, he says.

Isaksen: An advantage if the “king” is replaced by the “monarch”

Isaksen believes that section 3 of the Constitution makes it clear that when a woman has inherited the throne, the word “king” in the Constitution should be understood as the queen and not anyone else. For this reason, he believes that it is not necessary to change this law for a reigning queen’s husband to be called king.

– But since there is now equality in the succession, and thus in the future there will be a 50 percent chance that the monarch is a woman, it will only be an advantage if the word “king” in the Constitution is generally replaced by “monarch” , he says.

According to Isaksen, it is customary for the monarch and not the politicians to decide the titles of the members of the royal family. He reminds that it was the king who decided that Mette-Marit should be titled Crown Princess, that Ari Behn did not become prince, and that Princess Märtha Louise’s children should not have royal titles.

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