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In the United Kingdom, there exists a couple main signifiers for the monarch. The first is the title, chosen from a slate of first names. The second is the cypher, written like "E II R" surmounted by a crown for the late Queen Elizabeth II. This signifies "Elizabeth II Regina".

I was wondering how the title and cypher change for a King who has the same name as his heir apparent first born daughter. Consider the following scenario:

  1. King Wallace I reigns over the United Kingdom and other dominions.
  2. King Wallace's oldest daughter is also named Wallace.
  3. King Wallace dies, thus his daughter Wallace immediately ascends the throne and decides to take the name Wallace as well.

If #3 happens...how is the monarch's title and cypher affected? Is it "Queen Wallace II" and "W II R" respectively? Or is it "Queen Wallace I" with a cypher of "W I R"?

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    It sounds like this boils down to whether there is a single regnal number sequence for monarchs of a particular name, or whether there are two separate sequences - one for kings and one for queens - of the same name. The details of the royal cipher and of having a queen immediately follow a king of the same name might not be relevant; they should follow from the general rules for assigning regnal numbers. However I imagine they are governed mainly by tradition and precedent, so we would need to have actually had a king and a queen of the same name to answer the question. Has this happened?
    – Ben
    Sep 25, 2022 at 23:20
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    Purely speculative. There can be no correct answer until someone encounters the situation.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 26, 2022 at 5:54
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    Like most things British, if it's never happened before, a decision is made at the time and that stands as a precedent. But I think there is unlikely to be a Queen Wallace - nor a King Wallace for that matter.
    – WS2
    Sep 26, 2022 at 6:44
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    The OP is mistaken in thinking that there would be an existing rule for this kind of never-encountered situation. Sep 26, 2022 at 7:25
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    An analogous situation that could be informative regarding the cypher would be 2 monarchs with the same initial but different names. UK post 1066 this can only mean John and James, but I can't find any sign of a cypher as currently used for King John - and James 1st/6th used IR (presumably because J doesn't exist independently of I in Latin)
    – Chris H
    Sep 26, 2022 at 12:52

2 Answers 2

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There has never been a case in which a queen has shared a name with a preceding king nor a king has shared a name with a preceding queen. There have been no Queen William, Queen Richard, Queen Henry, nor has there been a King Mary, King Anne or King Elizabeth. In English all these names are strongly gendered. Boys just don't get named Mary and Girls aren't named William (Occasionally girls get named George, but more often girls that are called George are actually "Georgina" but prefer to use George as a nickname)

There is no fixed list of names that Kings or Queens can use, the great majority use their birth-name (except those named Albert). And when choosing the name of an heir, the royals tend to be conservative and pick names that are clearly gendered. The situation doesn't arise.

If this tradition were to change, and a queen were to ascend to the throne with the same name as a previous king, the style she chose could easily be set by proclaimation. That is Queen Wallace could simply declare if she was II. This was done for Queen Elizabeth when it was noted that she was the first Queen named Elizabeth of Scotland. She simply proclaimed that she was Queen Elizabeth II across the whole of the UK and not just England.

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    The last part seems to be a pretty good non-speculative answer to the question. Sep 26, 2022 at 12:40
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    Similarly Charles III of the UK is the first Charles of Australia, but will style himself III everywhere
    – Caleth
    Sep 26, 2022 at 13:58
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    @Caleth I wouldn't be so sure. I recall when I lived in Australia in the 1970s there were people who wanted the recently-deceased Queen to style herself, for Australian purposes, "Elizabeth I of Australia".This was before the emergence of a full-blooded republican movement.
    – WS2
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:43
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    The proclamation that she was Elizabeth II across the whole of the UK was not uncontentious, and was resolved with an entirely typical fudge. Sep 26, 2022 at 17:00
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    People are only styled "the First" posthumously. Queen Elizabeth the First was not known as "the First" until there was a Second. For Scotland, the question of EIIR for the Royal Mail was settled by omitting the cipher entirely and simply using the Crown. At least Charles won't have that problem. Sep 26, 2022 at 17:01
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I'm going to add another answer here, as we've already had something of a precedent recently.

The late Queen used EIIR. That could easily have been the cypher of King Edward the Second. It's easily distinguished, not only because of the several centuries in the meantime, but also the design of the cipher is unique to each monarch.

If King Charles's granddaughter should become Queen, she'll get a CR cypher, but it will be distinguishable from Charles I because it will look different.

So Wallace Rex would have his own cypher and Wallace Regina would too. Their regnal numbers would not be in the same sequence because Queen Wallace wouldn't be the second Queen. But that's fine because the ciphers for the King and the Queen would be different.

Even where there are regnal numbers, there's no compulsion to include them in the cipher. George V didn't: he was simply GR. George VI did, probably because there wasn't a huge amount of time between the end of the reign of George V and his starting — but even had he decided to omit VI from his cipher, the letters were such a different design that it would be easy to distinguish.

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