An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire. A queen regnant possesses and exercises sovereign powers, a queen consort shares her husbands rank and titles, but does not share the sovereignty of her husband. The husband of a queen regnant traditionally does not share his wifes rank, however, the concept of a king consort is not unheard of in contemporary or classical periods. A queen dowager is the widow of a king, a queen mother is a queen dowager who is also the mother of a reigning sovereign. The Byzantine Empress Irene sometimes called herself basileus, emperor, rather than basilissa, empress and Jadwiga of Poland was crowned as Rex Poloniae, King of Poland. Among the Davidic Monarchs of the Kingdom of Judah, there is mentioned a queen regnant, Athaliah. The much later Hasmonean Queen Salome Alexandra was highly popular, accession of a regnant occurs as a nations order of succession permits. The scope of succession may be matrilineal, patrilineal, or both, or, rarely, open to general election when necessary, the right of succession may be open to men and women, or limited to men only or women only. Historically, many realms forbade succession by women or through a line in obedience to the Salic law. No queen regnant ever ruled France, for example, only one woman, Maria Theresa, ruled Austria. As noted in the list below of widely known ruling queens, in the waning days of the 20th century and early days of the 21st, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg and the UK amended their acts of succession to absolute primogeniture. In some cases the change does not take effect during the lifetimes of people already in the line of succession at the time the law was passed, in 2011, the 16 Realms of the Commonwealth agreed to remove the rule of male-preference primogeniture. Once the necessary legislation was passed, this means that had Prince William had a daughter first, in China, Wu Zetian became the Chinese empress regnant and established the Zhou Dynasty after dismissing her sons. It should be noted, however, that Empress Wu used the title huangdi and in many European sources, although the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan is currently barred to women, this has not always been the case, throughout Japanese history there have been eight empresses regnant. Again, the Japanese language uses the term josei tennō for the position which would be empress regnant in English, monarch Order of succession Queen consort Rani Regent Salic law Sultana Monter, William. The Rise of Female Kings in Europe, 1300-1800, studies 30 women who exercised full sovereign authority in Europe
Elizabeth II of the UK, here with her husband on the occasion of her coronation in 1953
Margaret I ruled Denmark, Sweden and Norway in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.