A king-emperor (feminine queen-empress) is a sovereign ruler who is simultaneously a king of one territory and emperor of another. This title usually results from a merger of a royal and imperial crown (as in
Austria-Hungary), but recognises that the two territories are different politically or culturally and in status (an emperor sometimes being considered higher in rank than a king, particularly in the German states). It also denotes a king's imperial status through the acquisition of an Empireor vice versa.
The dual title signifies a sovereign's dual role, but may also be created to improve a ruler's prestige. Both cases, however, show that the merging of rule was not simply a case of annexation where one state is swallowed by another, but rather of unification and almost equal status, though in the case of the British monarchy the suggestion that an
emperoris higher in rank than a king was avoided by creating the title king-emperor (queen-empress) instead of "emperor-king" ("empress-queen").
Following the Proclamation of Empire in 1877, when the
British Crowntook over from the East India Company the administration of British India, Queen Victoria, was considered to have gained Imperial status and assumed the title Empress of India. She was thus the Queen-Empress, and her successors, till George VI, were known as King-Emperors; this title was the shortened form of the full title, and in widespread popular use.
The reigning Queen-Empress used the initials R I (Rex/Regina Imperator/Imperatrix) or the abbreviation Ind. Imp. (Indiae Imperator/Imperatrix) after their name (while the one reigning Queen-Empress, Victoria, used the initials R I, the three consorts of the married King-Emperors simply used R). This was also used on British coins, including coins of George VI dating to 1948, even though the Indian Empire ended in 1947.
Another use of this dual title was when in
1867the multi-national but Austrian-German ruled Austrian Empire, facing growing nationalism, saw a reform that gave nominal and factual rights to Hungarian nobilityculminating in the revival of the Austrian-annexed Kingdom of Hungaryand therefore creating both the dual-monarchic union state of Austria-Hungaryand the dual title of king-emperor (though in German the word order of "Kaiser und König" follows the rank, as well of the titles as of the received importance of the countries).
Habsburgdynasty ruled as Emperors of Austriaover the western and northern half of the country and as Kings of Hungaryover the Kingdom of Hungarywhich enjoyed some degree of self-government and representation in joint affairs (principally foreign relations and defence). The federation bore the full name of "The Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen".
Holy Roman Emperors were also Kings of Italy, Germany and Burgundy for most of the time that title existed. They were also Kings of France, Spain, Rome, Sicily, Naples, Bohemia and Jerusalem at other times.
Napoleon I of Francewas also King of Italy. His title was shortened in "Emperor-King" ("Empereur-Roi" or "l'Empereur et Roi") rather than "King-Emperor".
Kaiserlich und königlich
* [http://www.king-emperor.com] (Indian Army during the reign of the King-Emperors)
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king-emperor — ˈ ̷ ̷ˈ ̷ ̷( ̷ ̷) ̷ ̷ noun : a king who is also ruler of an empire; specifically : the British monarch in his onetime capacity as emperor of India the darling of the Saxon king emperors F.H.Cramer the … king emperor of one fourth of the world… … Useful english dictionary
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