Created By: jatay3October 10, 2011 Last Edited By: jatay3October 13, 2011
Troped

Ruling Couple

King and Queen are Partners

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Most rulers have spouses and many have mistresses(or "misters?") as well. However often times only one of the couple exercises rule and the other is merely to decorate the palace, provide heirs, seal alliances and entertain the king.

A ruling couple on the other hand are equal or near equal partners. Rather then one ruling and one staying in the palace they jointly rule. The rulers will rely on each other as a trusted counselors and they will be The Wise Prince and The Woman Wearing The Queenly Mask in one. Perhaps they will show this by receiving audiences on two thrones. Perhaps the consort will have a regular seat in the royal council and a vote. Perhaps even the two of them will discuss deep and labyrinthine affairs of state during matrimonial activities. And likely they will be addressed as partners and written down as such in the chronicles. If historians refer only to the reign of Alice or the reign of Bob then this trope might be averted. If however historians regularly refer to the reign of alice and bob then it is a ruling couple.

This usually refers to a monarchial government as monarchy is intentionally a Family Business. Rarely it can be pictured in The Republic.

On many occasions, they will also be a Battle Couple.

Literature

  • Belisarius Series: Justinian and Theodora(and in Real Life) for the Romans; Rao and Shakuntala for the Marathans; Kungas and Irene for the Kushans.

  • Belgarion and Ce'Nedra of Riva, and Korodullin and Mayaserana of Arendia from the Belgariad.

  • Selenay and Daren of Valdemar

  • Dune: Leto and Jessica

  • Deryni This seems to be Kelson's plan for Araxie in King Kelson's Bride, as it had been for Rothana in The Quest for Saint Camber. Since things with Rothana didn't pan out, and since Araxie is also a Haldane by birth, Kelson suggests triggering the Haldane potential in her as it has already been done in himself. Araxie is not averse to the idea and enters into thoughtful speculation on the matter; no Haldane has ever been Queen of Gwynedd before, and it isn't known if a female Haldane could have her potential triggered (or even that she carries it).

  • Eugenides and Irene in The Queens Thief series.

  • Lord Of The Rings: Celeborn and Galadrial
    • Though Galadrial often seems to be the senior partner

  • Following the second book in The Sword Of Truth series, the protagonist, Richard Rahl, ascends to his hereditary title as ruler of the D'Haran Empire. Two books later, he marries Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor (basically, the ruler of a race of women that can permanently brainwash anyone just by touching them) and become, ostensibly, the most powerful husband and wife duo in the world. While Richard is undoubtedly the more active and usually the more dominant of the two, the two are practically equals, with people sworn to serve Richard also sworn to serve Kahlan and vice-versa. There are not very many moments in the story where the two are allows to rule as a partnership (almost every time they get together, they're torn apart or one is taken out of commission via Diabolus Ex Machina), but there are smatterings of it here and there.

  • Cayleb and Sharleyan in Safehold. There are married rulers in the books, but these two are the only case where they're co-rulers with equal authority. A number of their decisions after their marriage are made partly to emphasize this fact.

  • The Silmarillion: Manwe and Varda

  • Sixteen Thirty Two: Mike Sterns and Rebecca though of course Grantsville/USE is not a monarchy. Still the same sort of interaction applies.

  • In addition to Selenay and Daren in the Valdemar books, any royal spouse will become a co-consort provided that he/she is also chosen as a herald. There are several examples of this mentioned in the back story.

  • Vorkosigan Saga: Aral and Cordelia are Viceroy and Vicereine of Sergyar. Not bad for a culture where, just a few years earlier, a woman had to have a sex change operation to be allowed onto the Council of Counts.

Live Action TV

  • Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon Five. In this case it is a bit complicated as rather then being heads of government they are heads of a trans-state La Resistance that includes some government leaders. Later they both lead an intersteller confederation.

Real Life

  • Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain

  • William and Mary of Great Britain.

  • Another Real Life example would be Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia, at least after WWI broke out. After Nicholas took personal command of the army and went to the front, Alexandra ruled in Petrograd in his stead. It didn't work out so well...
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • October 10, 2011
    JoeG
    • Vorkosigan Saga: Aral and Cordelia are Viceroy and Vicereine of Sergyar. Not bad for a culture where, just a few years earlier, a woman had to have a sex change operation to be allowed onto the Council of Counts.
  • October 10, 2011
    KingZeal
  • October 10, 2011
    Jordan
    Eugenides and Irene in The Queens Thief series.
  • October 10, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    This seems to be Kelson's plan for Araxie in King Kelson's Bride, as it had been for Rothana in The Quest for Saint Camber. Since things with Rothana didn't pan out, and since Araxie is also a Haldane by birth, Kelson suggests triggering the Haldane potential in her as it has already been done in himself. Araxie is not averse to the idea and enters into thoughtful speculation on the matter; no Haldane has ever been Queen of Gwynedd before, and it isn't known if a female Haldane could have her potential triggered (or even that she carries it).
  • October 10, 2011
    X2X
    ^^^ Romancing Rulers/Romancing Reigners sounds like it could be misconstrued as "peasant tries to woo royalty." Ruling Couple and Regal Romance (or something along the lines of that like Romantic Rulers/Romantic Royalty or Royal Romance) works.
  • October 10, 2011
    Falco
    A Happily Married king and queen? Not sure it needs its own trope.
  • October 10, 2011
    jatay3
    No, a king and queen who rule as partners as opposed to one hanging around the palace. If you can remember the name of the one as well as the other that's a clue. The point is not that they are Happily Married; theoretically they may hate each other. The point is that they both carry the burden of actual statecraft.
  • October 10, 2011
    Falco
    Ah right, all the romance-themed name suggestions confused me.
  • October 10, 2011
    jatay3
    I was afraid it might be a little confusing.
  • October 11, 2011
    Antigone3
    So this is more of a joint-rule situation?

    If so, then we can add Belgarion and Ce'Nedra of Riva, and Korodullin and Mayaserana of Arendia (both from the Belgariad), and Selenay and Daren of Valdemar
  • October 11, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ I presume so, especially given the inclusion of Ferdinand and Isabella. Expect the spouse to have a seat on the royal privy council (with a vote), meet foreign ambassadors, maybe even discuss politics as part of pillow talk.
  • October 11, 2011
    jatay3
    The last part sounds cool.
  • October 11, 2011
    KingZeal
    Don't know if this fits, but:

    • Following the second book in The Sword Of Truth series, the protagonist, Richard Rahl, ascends to his hereditary title as ruler of the D'Haran Empire. Two books later, he marries Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor (basically, the ruler of a race of women that can permanently brainwash anyone just by touching them) and become, ostensibly, the most powerful husband and wife duo in the world. While Richard is undoubtedly the more active and usually the more dominant of the two, the two are practically equals, with people sworn to serve Richard also sworn to serve Kahlan and vice-versa. There are not very many moments in the story where the two are allows to rule as a partnership (almost every time they get together, they're torn apart or one is taken out of commission via Diabolus Ex Machina), but there are smatterings of it here and there.
  • October 11, 2011
    jatay3
    Should I start adding more of the examples suggested on or does anyone object?
  • October 11, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    No objection from me. While you're about it, perhaps flesh out the description with other points, like what you said about the propensity for both names to be said together being an indication of this trope. Evidence of official acknowledgement of this (a pair of thrones being shown, the spouse having a seat on the privy council) would be good, as would the political pillow talk.
  • October 12, 2011
    jatay3
    bump
  • October 12, 2011
    dangerwaffle
    Real Life example: William & Mary, British co-monarchs.

    I'm not sure if Aral and Cordelia of the Vorkosigan Saga actually count; Cordelia obviously has a great deal of power in practical terms and Aral certainly treats her as a partner, but it's mentioned a couple times that she tries to stay in the background as much as possible so that she can get things done without sexist Barrayarans grumbling about being ruled by a woman.
  • October 12, 2011
    Zsuzsa
    In addition to Selenay and Daren in the Valdemar books, any royal spouse will become a co-consort provided that he/she is also chosen as a herald. There are several examples of this mentioned in the back story.
  • October 12, 2011
    Zsuzsa
    Another Real Life example would be Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia, at least after WWI broke out. After Nicholas took personal command of the army and went to the front, Alexandra ruled in Petrograd in his stead. [[{Understatement} It didn't work out so well...]]
  • October 12, 2011
    jastay3
    Czarist Russia was an unbelievably ponderous state at the time, and had a Deadly Decadent Court Beyond The Impossible from what this troper has read. Possibly no one could have ruled it well. Not that it matters for this trope.
  • October 12, 2011
    jatay3
    This is ready. It just needs more hats.
  • October 13, 2011
    sgamer82
    • Cayleb and Sharleyan in Safehold. There are married rulers in the books, but these two are the only case where they're co-rulers with equal authority. A number of their decisions after their marriage are made partly to emphasize this fact.

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