To be a consort is an interesting role in this new century. On paper, they are the support act, the person walking two steps behind. But in a media driven world, where royal watching places an emphasis on style, they can often be the star of the show. In 2020, the consorts of Europe gain as much attention as the monarchs they married. Here are the consorts of Europe at the start of a new decade
The United Kingdom: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The longest serving consort in British history, Prince Philip has been at the Queen’s side throughout her record breaking reign. This year, they will mark the 68th anniversary of her rule. The Duke of Edinburgh, who has never held the title of Prince Consort, retired from public duty in 2017. He has suffered from ill health in recent weeks but is on the road to recovery and set to celebrate his 99th birthday in June 2020.
Queen Silvia of Sweden
Silvia Renate Sommerlath married King Carl XVI Gustaf on June 19th 1976 and went from Ms to Majesty in moments. Their wedding turned her into a queen consort and this summer she will mark 46 years in that role. Born in Germany in 1943, she will turn 77 at the end of 2020.
Queen Sonja of Norway
As 2020 gets under way, Sonja will mark 29 years as Queen of Norway. She assumed the role on January 17th 1991 on the accession of her husband as King Harald V. They had married on August 29th 1968. Sonja was born in Oslo in July 1937 and will celebrate her 83rd birthday this summer.
Princess Marie of Liechtenstein
Born in Prague on April 14th 1940, Countess Marie-Aglae Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau married Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein on July 30th 1967. Her husband became the ruler of his tiny principality on November 13th 1989 and Marie will mark 31 years as Princess of Liechtenstein in 2020 although Hans-Adam passed day to day running of governmental matters to the couple’s son in 2004. Princess Marie will celebrate her 80th birthday this spring.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Born Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista in March 1956 in Cuba, she became a royal in 1981 when she wed the then heir to the throne of Luxembourg, Henri, in a Valentine’s Day ceremony. Her husband took the Luxembourg throne on October 7th 2000 on the abdication of his father, turning her into Grand Duchess. This year, they will celebrate 20 years of Henri’s reign.
Princess Charlene of Monaco
Charlene Wittstock became a princess in July 2011 when she married Monaco’s Sovereign Prince, Albert II, before royals and celebrities from across Europe. Born in South Africa on January 25th 1978, she will celebrate her 42nd birthday as 2020 gets under way and mark 9 years as Monaco’s consort this summer.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Maxima Zorreguieta married into the Dutch Royal Family on February 2nd 2002 when her wedding to the then heir, Willem-Alexander, was watched by millions around the world. She became the first queen consort of the Netherlands in over a century when her husband succeeded his mother on April 30th 2013 and this year they will celebrate 7 years on the throne. Queen Maxima was born on May 17th 1971 and will mark her 49th birthday in 2020.
Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
The first Belgian born woman to be her country’s consort, Mathilde will mark 7 years in the role in 2020. She became Queen of the Belgians on July 21st 2013 when her husband, Philippe, succeeded his father, Albert II. Mathilde had married into the Belgian Royal Family on December 4th 1999. She was born in Uccle on January 20th 1973 and will celebrate her 47th birthday at the start of 2020.
Queen Letizia of Spain
Letizia Ortiz Rocosolano has been Queen of Spain since June 19th 2014 when her husband assumed the throne as King Felipe VI. The couple, who married in Madrid on May 22nd 2004, will mark six years since his accession this summer. Queen Letizia, born in Oviedo on September 15th 1972, will celebrate her 48th birthday in 2020.