Hero: Why is the Demon King a woman?
Demon King: It's a traditional title. I can't help it...When a woman reigns, or otherwise holds some position of power or importance, she may do so with a masculine title and all of the authority that goes with it, instead of using the title's feminine equivalent. The most common version of this takes the trope name literally (a female monarch titled as "King" instead of "Queen"), but there are many other gender-specific titles that can be used instead, one of the more common ones being 'Queen-Regnant'. This might be because:
— Maoyuu Maou Yuusha: Episode 1
- The ruler in question is actually a woman disguised as a man.
- The ruler is openly a woman, but still has a masculine title.
- The woman rules under the outright legal fiction that she is a man.
- The laws that say a queen can't rule fail to specify that a king must be male. This is usually done as a way to get out of a Succession Crisis.
- The title is masculine, regardless of who has it.
- The nation crowning the woman king wants to make it clear that she rules in her own right rather than as consort.
- The Queen is masculine, and the title of "King" denotes masculinity rather than being male.
- The woman simply prefers the masculine title to the feminine one and insists on using it.
- The original title is gender-neutral when taken literally. It either carries a non-literal masculine connotation because males are more likely to bear it or is represented by a masculine term in translation because of gender assumptions on the part of the translator.
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Examples of women in disguise
Anime & Manga
- A filler episode of Naruto has a princess masquerading as her brother, the king. Unusual in that she could've taken the throne under her own name from day one (and does by the end), but switched places with her dead brother so she could figure out who murdered him.
Films — Live-Action
- This was the concept behind one of the earliest filmed versions of Hamlet. Hamlet, played by Asta Nielson, is a girl being raised as a boy so that she will inherit the throne on her father's death. This repression is the source of much of the young prince's famous angst, besides the true reason why "he" rejects Ophelia. (In fact, Hamlet is in love with Horatio, who doesn't know the truth until it's too late to reciprocate).
- In Mercedes Lackey's By the Sword, it's mentioned that the current Son of the Sun, leader of theocratic Karse, is a woman pretending to be a man, including wearing a faux mustache.
- Discworld: Technically happens in Guards! Guards!, but only because nobody'd thought (or dared) to ask the dragon who'd seized temporary rulership of Ankh-Morpork if it was male or female before they started calling her "King".
- Traditionally, all dwarves are assumed to be male, so presumably many secret females have taken the title of Low King. At the end of Raising Steam, Rhys Rhysson openly announces she is female, and therefore Queen.
Myths & Religion
- The legendary Pope Joan, who, it was claimed, lived in the 9th century, disguised herself as a man and reigned as Pope "John" for a few years until she was exposed as a woman when she gave birth on horseback.
- In SoulCalibur: Legends The Masked Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire is actually a woman, despite having a (granted, rather effeminate) male voice with the mask on. You'd think gendered pronouns would give it away, but she always refers to herself as we. It gets weird when she says things like, "Don't tell anyone that we are a woman."
- In Fate/stay night, Saber is King Arturia Pendragon. She was pretending to be a male King Arthur, but according to the narrator, most people in her inner circle (besides Merlin and "Arthur"'s official wife, Guinevere, who both already knew) either realized or at least suspected that she is a girl, they just chose to ignore it.
Examples of women with a masculine title
Anime & Manga
- Various Ancient Belka Kings in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha still keep that title even if they are female. Specific examples are Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sägebrecht and Ixpellia, the king of Galea. And Lord Dearche is always referred as "king" by other people.
Bardiche: Yes, sir!
- Nanoha and Fate's Devices call them "Master" and "Sir", respectively. Chrono's device uses the gender-neutral "boss". This was lampshaded as a Running Gag in The Abridged Series:
Fate: That's "ma'am!"
- Sir Integra Hellsing. Although this is most probably a mistake on the part of the author (the proper title for a woman of her status being "Dame"), Fanon holds the explanation that she took a masculine title in order to assert her authority over the Hellsing organization.
- Moukaku The Nanban King from Koihime†Musou
- Major General Armstrong of Fullmetal Alchemist is usually referred to as "sir" by her men.
Soldier #1: Hey, you do know that our CO's a woman as well...Soldier #2: She's too scary to be a woman!
- The Idol masters in Idolmaster: Xenoglossia are all girls. In the original game the idol 'master' was the player, a producer (master) of idols but because Sunrise made the anime In-Name-Only the 'masters' of the 'Idols' (giant robots in this instance) became female.
- In High School Dx D, this is more of a chess motif during a Rating Game. An example would be Rias herself who is considered a King because she's the most important person in that particular game. The inversion, a male with title of Queen, appears at least once as well.
- Lord Satan in My Balls.
- The first thing Hero notices when meeting its archenemy the Demon King in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is that it is actually a very polite, buxom redheaded woman.
- In Saki Achiga-hen, Kuro is known as the "Dragon Lord" of Achiga. Similarly, one translation for Shizuno's ability is "Lord of the Mountain Depths".
- In Hunter × Hunter, all 14 children of the King of Kakin are referred as "Princes", regardless of their gender, so everyone can be treated equally and have the same right to succeed the crown.
- In Slayers, the Lord of Nightmares, "She who shines like gold upon the Sea of Chaos", the supreme creator goddess of the Slayers universe.
- The Hero King Adelaide from Dog Days. It's never explained why she got the title instead of her implied husband, the crown prince Valério.
- Pokémon: Hunter J's mooks always call her "Sir."
- The Tentei (Emperor of Heaven) in Fist of the North Star is eventually revealed to not only be a woman, but that she is actually the estranged twin sister of Kenshiro's traveling companion Lin.
- In A Brief History of Equestria this happens to Princess Platinum — as the only child of King Aurum in the patriarchal Kingdom of Unicorns, theoretically her father's death would have started a civil war among the members of the Deadly Decadent Court. To prevent this, Aurum exploited the Exact Words of the law, pointing out that "says that the queen cannot rule. Doesn’t say the King cannot be a mare," allowing Platinum to take the throne under the title of King.
- The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds: Word of God is that the ruler of the Dragon Clans is always called King, even if it's a female... and you can tell a female King to call herself Queen at your own risk.
- Frostblood has Jaina as the new Lich King and often referred to as the Lady King. This is due to a nerubian queen who can't tell the difference between genders of other races and a troll's decision to combine her titles of Lady and King. Only once is it ever brought up that she should be the Lich Queen.
- This applies to Gryphonia in Rites of Ascension, where the current King is a gryphoness named Morvana.
Films — Live-Action
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: The nine leaders of the pirates are called Pirate Lords, regardless of gender. And their leader is called the Pirate King, also regardless of gender, as demonstrated when Elizabeth Swann gets the dubious honor.
- A variation of this trope in Beasts of the Southern Wild wherein Wink insists that his daughter Hushpuppy is going to one day be "the king of the Bathtub." Not queen, king.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service:
- Regardless of the fact that Lancelot is the name of a man, it is Roxy who gets the role.
- All members of the service are referred to as Kingsmen, regardless of gender.
- Furiosa of Mad Max: Fury Road is styled as an "Imperator" in her Post Apocalyptic society. The word is the Latin ancestor of English "Emperor", and the female form would be "Imperatrix", the ancestor of "Empress".
- Variant: all the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are bred to be females. Including the Tyrannosaurus rex, whose name means "tyrant lizard king". The fourth movie also includes a genetic hybrid named Indominus rex ("untamed king").
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, starting partway through the Mage Winds trilogy the High Priest of Vkandis and ruler of the theocracy of Karse is a woman named Solaris, whose title is "Son of the Sun". Having been handpicked very publicly for the position by the Sun God Vkandis Himself seems to have thoroughly overcome the gender barrier that previously existed with regards to the role, but the terminology remains unchanged.
- Likewise, D'ol Falla in the Green-Sky Trilogy is High Priest of the Vine, and women who run guilds are called guild-masters.
- Only a Magician can be King of Xanth. A Magician is a magic-user of the highest power, though a female Magician is called a Sorceress. Since only men are called Magicians, only men can be King, right? Well ... at a time when Xanth direly needed a new King, someone finally realized that if a Sorceress is a "female Magician," that means Sorceresses are a type of Magician and qualified for office. (The female ruler is still a King, though. Xanth has no ruling Queens.)
- In Megan Whalen Turner's series The Queen's Thief, the Queen of Eddis is called Eddis when as a woman she should have been called Eddia.
- In Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series, the Lady Knight Alanna is referred to as "Sir Alanna." This is because she masqueraded as a boy for literally the entirety of her knight training because girls weren't allowed to become knights, and as a result was knighted as "Sir Alan" and only revealed to be female afterwards. As a result she does not carry a shield with a distaff (feminine) border. Keladry of Mindelan, on the other hand, is "Lady Knight Keladry" because she trained openly as a female, and has a distaff shield. (Word of God says that Alanna retained the "sir" to make a point, and that Kel uses "Lady" to make a different point.)
- In Pyramids, there's precedent for the royal family of Djelibeybi being able to change sex by decree. "No, sire, she is a man. She herself declares this."
- In Honor Harrington, only men of the royal line can be Emperor of the Anderman Empire. At least once an emperor failed to produce any male heirs and it looked like there would be a dynastic civil war between his various cousins. Then his sister proclaimed herself to be a man and took the throne, basically daring all her male cousins to object if they thought they could make it stick. They universally declined the offer and, by all accounts, she became one of the empire's longest ruling and most effective leaders since the original Gustav Anderman himself.
- A borderline case (in that she's only the head of household rather than a monarch) occurs in the short story Obligated Service. An extended family has a lack of males with the legal head of household being an immature teenager (since on Grayson only men can be the head of a household). One of the female family members is made the official head of the household on the grounds that as a naval officer she is legally a Gentleman
- In Temeraire, the Tswana society resolves around ancestor worship, and they practice telling stories of deceased loved ones to dragon eggs, so that the dragons are born as reincarnations of great leaders. This has led to their entire empire being led by a young female dragon who is the "reincarnation" of their last king.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, some time during Barrayar's Time of Isolation, a Countess was legally declared a male in order to inherit (and later had "that bizarre lawsuit" about her marriage). By the time of A Civil Campaign, Lady Donna Vorrutyer finds a modern, technological option.
- In The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, king and queen are unisex titles in dragon society, and apparently quite different in function. When Cimorene, a human princess from a typical medieval fairytale kingdom, asks female dragon Kazul why she takes the title of king rather than queen when she becomes the ruler of dragonkind, Kazul retorts that the perks and duties of the queen of dragons are much less desirable than those of the king. When this is brought up it's also mentioned that the current queen is male, but he never appears in the series in person.
- In the Dragaera novels, members of aristocratic Houses are broadly referred to as "____lords" (Dragonlord, Dzurlord, etc) regardless of gender, and the Warlord may be of either sex. Averted with noble titles such as Duke, Count, or Empress, which do get adjusted for gender of their incumbent.
- This is the whole basis of the book Ladylord. The ruling lord has only daughters, and so names one of them his "son". The title of the book is a reference to the odd style some people use due to her unique situation. Her political maleness doesn't extend to actually being considered male in other senses, however - she has a husband rather than a wife, for example.
- Similar to the Star Trek: Voyager example below, the police in In Death refer to superior officers as sir.
- In Mary Renault's The King Must Die, the Amazon leader Hippolyta speaks with Theseus saying it's "one king to another." He agrees but says "but you're a queen." She says no, she's a king, a woman king. When he falls in love with her, it's as equals.
- In The Traitor Son Cycle, Sauce is titled Ser Alison, as lady knights are so rare in this world, there's no specific title for them.
- The rulers of the Land in the first trilogy of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are all known as Lords, despite being a gender-mixed group. In fact, the Land does not seem to recognise any gendered titles at all, at least in the present day - it was ruled by a King and Queen once, but that is ancient history by the start of the series.
- In Star Trek up until Voyager female superior officers were called "Sir". Janeway refused that, insisting on being called Captain or "Ma'am". In spite of this, the bridge crew still called her "Sir" periodically.
- "Mister" Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was the first time this was prominently explained. The idea is simply that due to the egalitarian future that the Federation lives in, titles are supposed to be neutral and not distinguish based on gender. So they just settled on using "sir" as a universally applied title. It also makes a lot of sense when you consider that several Federation species have more than two sexes.
- Ronald Moore decided this was worthy of exporting to the rebooted Battlestar Galactica (which is considered by many to be what Star Trek: Voyager would have been had Moore's hands not been bound by Executive Meddling.) The principle established in the series is that "sir" became universal in the military, but not in civilian society. Thus Lieutenant Starbuck, President Roslin, Admiral Cain, etc. are addressed as "Sir", although "Ma'am" remains in civilian usage. So President Roslin's aide Billy Keikeya addresses her as "Ma'am" in a civilian context, but Captain Apollo addresses her as "Sir" because she's his commander-in-chief.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Next Doctor", Miss Hartigan is pronounced the CyberKing.
- On Farscape, Zhaan refers to herself as a priest, not a priestess. Her native word for her job is "Pa'u", but she's rarely called anything other than just "Zhaan". Zhaan is actually a sentient plant, so it's unclear whether other characters are just assuming feminine gender based on appearance.
- On Due South, Fraser habitually refers to his boss, Inspector Thatcher, as "sir".
- In Hikari Sentai Maskman, Prince Igam is working with the bad guys in order to restore the Igam Clan to their former glory (and gets into friction with the others because her goals aren't always in line with her boss's.) She uses male pronouns. However, bizarrely, a number of characters are astonished when she is "revealed" to be female even though she did nothing to alter her obviously female features and voice.
- Captain Gates, the replacement of Captain Montgomery, on Castle is a woman who insists on being called "sir".
- On the reality show King of the Nerds, winners are referred to as "King" regardless of gender. Both the winners of season 1 and 2 were female.
- Spellbinder: Land of the Dragon Lord. The ruler of a country in an alternative dimension is called the Dragon Lord, whether it's a man or a woman.
- The Empress Of China: When, at the end of the series, the main character finally becomes a monarch in her own right, the subs call her "Emperor", to differ with her previous title of "Empress" as in "Main Wife". In Mandarin, obviously, "Empress" and "Main Wife" are different words.
- Iron & Wine's song "Woman King" is all about this trope. So are most of the other songs on the same EP.
- In "Moment 4 Life" by Nicki Minaj, she refers to herself as king and this is even shown in the music video, which has a Storybook Opening that starts with "Once upon a time, there was a king named Nicki."
- In Traveller, among the Aslan on the rare occasions that there is no male heir for a male position it is known for females to be declared "legally male". She must swear celibacy and act as a male in all duties appropriate to her gender. According to canon, this is more common in Aslan legends than in practice.
- "Prince" is the title for the vampire ruler of a Camarilla city in Vampire: The Masquerade or pretty much any city in Vampire: The Requiem, regardless of the prince's sex. The former explains the title as a tribute to Niccolò Machiavelli, as a Camarilla prince secures his/her position through cunning, charisma and brutality, not heredity.
- In Masquerade, the Sabbat use a lot of titles from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, although nothing stops women from holding any specific office. The rough equivalent of a Prince would be an Archbishop.
- In the Tir Tairngire supplement for Shadowrun, all members of the nation's ruling council are called "Prince", regardless of gender. The female council members are the ones who insist upon this practice, as they believe "Princess" would convey too much of a frilly-Disney-eye-candy public image.
- In Exalted, Exalts are called "Princes Of The Earth", regardless of gender. Same with Green Sun Princes.
- In Planescape, this is the apparent case with Shemeshka the Marauder, a yugoloth who calls herself King of the Crosstrade, due to being the undisputed master of the largest network of spies, thieves, assassins and other unsavories in Sigil, and who flies into an infamouse rage if the matter of her technically being the Queen of the Crosstrade is brought up. According to the "Uncaged: Faces of Sigil" sourcebook, however, there's another reason why she insists on being called king over queen: "she" is actually a transsexual, who dresses up like, acts like and basically pretends to be female to the point it's whispered she's given birth to a tiefling daughter, as pretty much everybody is fooled.
- In Tales of Zestiria, various figures throughout the world's history, regardless of gender, have been identified as a "Lord of Calamity," someone who creates powerful malevolence by spreading negative emotion. The game's prequel, Tales of Berseria, reveals that the first Lord of Calamity was a woman named Velvet Crowe.
- Inverted in the flash series Alice Is Dead, The Queen is always referred to as "he".
- Pony Fantasy VI features Emperor Gilda, who is based on a rather tomboyish Jerkass from one half of the source material.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, the Card Club uses card terminology for all its members. The club's leader, Quistis, is the female "King". She actually won the title from the Garden's doctor, who is also female.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2: The Grimoire of the Rift features the Bonus Bosses, the Five Kings of Cinqueleur, the Red, the Blue, the Green, the Black, and the White, each focusing on that type of Color-Coded Wizardry. They are all called "kings", even though the Red and the Green are part of a female One-Gender Race.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: In the Japanese version, Emmeryn's formal title is "Holy King"; outside of its use, everyone just calls her the queen. The English version removes any gender confusion by calling the ruler of Ylisse the "Exalt", a more or less gender neutral term.
- Additionally, one of Chrom's signature class skills, Rightful King, is also obtainable by his daughter Lucina.
- In Quest for Glory V, the Rites of Rulership are in place to crown a King of Silmaria. Series Action Girl Elsa von Spielburg is in the running for it. Fortunately, few people treat this like it's a bad thing. Though the events of the game result in the Player Character being the first choice to become King, the player can refuse the throne, which will lead to Elsa taking it up in his stead. Nothing is made of what the result is if the player also chose to marry Elsa.
- In Sa Ga Frontier, the human girl Asellus is made the "Prince" of Facinaturu, the Land of the Mystics. This is probably because a) there, "princess" is a term for Lord Orlouge's mistresses; and b) because the Mystics don't seem to care much about gender (this part of the game contains a lot of gay subtext.)
- In Dragon Ball Online, "Future" Trunks is confronted by "The World King Of Time", though translations gave her the slightly less gendered title "Lord" and Xenoverse gives here the gender neutral "Kaioshin/Supreme Kai" title instead.
- In Armello Scarlet named herself "The Bandit King" when she united the Bandit tribes of Armello under her banner.
- Arissa Lavigny-Duval of Elite: Dangerous was declared to become the Emperor of the Duval Empire by the Imperial Senate.
- Related to the Fate/Stay Night example in the 'females disguised as males' section, in the spinoff game Fate/Extra, we also have surprise, surprise, another Saber. Fate/Extra's playable Saber is Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, The Fifth Emperor of the Roman Empire. (And yes, she does refer to herself as 'Emperor', not the female variant Empress). And once again, she's a gender-flipped version of a famous historical monarch.
- In Hollow Knight, the Mantis Lords are all female, though the player doesn't discover this until they've killed the Lords' exiled brother.
- Symbolic application in Misfile. The best of the local street-racers is crowned 'King of the Mountain', and right now, that happens to be Ash, who is (currently) female. When she first won the title, they tried to change it to 'Queen of the Mountain', but due to her recent Gender Bender, she protested. LOUDLY.
- In Magience, Fae titles needn't match the holder's gender. The current King is female, and her late husband was Queen.
- In Paradox Space, Andrew's horse-themed chess set gives the kingly crown and opposite-color starting position to the piece with female Tertiary Sexual Characteristics, and the queenly crown to the one with a Badass Moustache.
- In Girl Genius When Colette succeeds her father, she decides to stick to the term "Master of Paris", since "Mistress of Paris" would make it sound like — in her own words — "the ultimate demimondaine".
- A More Personal Union: The Polish Sejm, worried that the throne of Poland will devolve to the Hapsburgs, promises to legitimize any child Sigismund II will have with his mistress. The child is female, and becomes King Augusta of Poland. Augusta becomes a Tomboy Action Girl who—when pressured to have an heir—worries that her child will be a female again. The Sejm once again vows to accept any child, male or female, as an heir. Augusta has a daughter, who she names Jadwiga.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Earth & Water", Flame Princess usurps her father and is referred to by her guards as "the new Flame King".
- Jim Button: Well, Li Si was considered for the position of King of the Sky Kingdom but she turned it down. Anyway, her father is the Emperor of Mandalia and it's not clear if she'll become Emperor or Empress once she inherits the throne.
- Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero: Unable to tell the genders of each citizen of Oceanaquariopolis, Penn isn't sure if their Prince is a man or a woman.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the episode "Gauntlet of Fire", when Princess Ember wins the titular Gauntlet, she earns the title of "Dragon Lord" from her father. Later episodes even refer to her as "Dragon Lord Ember," and she one called herself "Daughter of Torch, Winner of the Gauntlet of Fire, and Lord of All Dragons".
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, the Supreme Leader of the KND is always referred to as "sir" even if they're a girl, as seen with Numbah 362.
- Older Than Dirt: Ancient Egypt had several female rulers from multiple dynasties:
- Hatshepsut crowned herself Pharaoh and maintained an elaborate legal fiction of maleness. Because the Pharaoh was, mythologically speaking, the son of Ra, he had to be a man, even if he was a woman. She even insisted on being called "His Majesty". Statues of her go so far as to depict her with a male body, but an obviously female face. The traditional false beard worn even by male pharaohs was especially necessary in her case.
- Sobekneferu (reigned 1806–1802 BCE) is the first known female King of Egypt, which makes her the Ur-Example of this trope. She reigned during the twelfth dynasty, but women might have been crowned King as far back as the first.
- Because the records from the end of the 18th Dynasty are so fragmented due to attempts to obliterate Akhenaten and his family, there was serious speculation for a time that the pharaoh Smenkhkare was Akhenaten's widow Nefertiti ruling as a male. Today, they are pretty sure that Nefertiti ruled as a woman, and Smenkhkare was a separate person who took the throne after her. The confusion arose partly because they both used the throne name Ankh-kheperu-re (Life and Transfiguration of Ra).
- Likewise, Cleopatra VII, usually described as "Queen of Egypt" actually held the title of Pharaoh. She and her brother (who were married) constantly vied for the throne until his untimely death, and then another younger brother became her co-ruler before he died as well, leaving her sole ruler.
- Jadwiga of Anjou, King of Poland. This one is a fine case of Loophole Abuse: Although the law made no provision for a ruling queen (Regina Poloniae), no law said that the king had to be male. By crowning a woman King, Poland avoided a Succession Crisis.
- This happened again in 1575 when Anna Jagiellon was crowned as "King of Poland" and co-ruler with her spouse Stephen Bathory.
- Although the Latin word for "Queen" is "Regina", Elizabeth I of England ruled as Elizabeth Rex; Rex is Latin for "King". In one famous speech, she stated that even though she had the body of a woman, she had the heart and stomach of a King of England. Then her navy went out to kick the Spanish Armada's ass.
- Her mother Anne Boleyn was made the Marquess of Pembroke (a masculine title, despite the feminine-looking ending) prior to her marriage by her future husband Henry VIII. The actual female equivalent is "marchioness"note . She was given the masculine title because she held the rank in her own right, rather than by marriage.
- Elizabeth's elder half-sister, Mary I, was never created Princess of Wales, as that title is reserved solely for the wife of the monarch's heir presumptive. However, for many years she was their father's only legitimate heir, so she lived at Ludlow (the official residence of the Prince of Wales) and was permitted to use the livery colors and seal of the Prince of Wales. Many nobles and scholars of the day considered her to hold the rank in all but official capacity; her tutor, Juan Vives, dedicated one of his works to "the Lady Mary, Prince of Wales."
- Queen Elizabeth II is the Lord of Mann (on the Isle of Man), since British titles held by the monarch revert to the crown, which is why Cornwall is recreated every reign.
- She is likewise the Duke not Duchess of Normandy, in her capacity as the ruler of the Channel Islands, and the Duke of Lancaster in Lancashire.
- During World War II, her father George VI was encouraged to invest Princess Elizabeth as Prince(ss) of Wales in her own right in order to help secure the loyalty of the restive Welsh. He refused, as although he had the authority to do so (the Crown being the fount of all honours), he recognised that the title "Prince of Wales" was generally accepted to be a title for the heir-apparent to the throne, which Elizabeth could never be under the male-preference primogeniture in effect at the time. The theory of it was that Elizabeth could always be dispossessed by a younger brother should one be born; even though everyone knew perfectly well that George VI was not having any further children, it was the formalities that mattered to the King. In place of the title, Elizabeth was invested in the Gorsedd (the Welsh order of bards and a fairly big deal), and toured Wales more often.
- Historically, the ruler of Hungary was required by law to be a King. So, the two female rulers of Hungary, Mary of the House of Anjou (a sister of the Polish King Jadwiga above, by the way) and Maria Theresa, were formally titled Kings of Hungary.
- After the invasion of Silesia by Frederick II, Maria Theresa appealed for aid in the Hungarian Diet. Reportedly, a number of cavaliers rose, drew their swords, and shouted, "Moriamur pro nostro Rege, Maria Theresia." (Let us die for our King, Maria Theresa).
- Averted with Maria Theresa's main title, Holy Roman Empress. While she ruled in her own right as Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Bohemia, etc., etc., etc., she was officially only Empress-consort (or later, Dowager Empress): the Electors refused to elect a female Emperor, giving the title to her husband Francis, Duke of Lorraine. In practice, Francis left governance to his wife, with most of his own efforts going to the Empire's finances.
- Peggielene Bartels, the first female king of Otuam, Ghana ("king" here being more of a local village-leader position).
- Irene of Athens was imperial regent of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of her son Constantine VI (780-797). Upon his death she took the throne, ruling as "emperor" rather than "empress".
- Tamar of Georgia was known as King of Kings and Queen of Queens, and she is always referred to in the Georgian language as King Tamar.
- Christina of Sweden, nicknamed "the Girl King," was educated in typically masculine pursuits, and took her coronation oath as King, not Queen Regnant.
- The legal title for the Dutch monarch is "King of the Netherlands", regardless of gender. So while every monarch from Wilhelmina through Beatrix has been commonly called the Queen, legally the Netherlands has always been ruled by a King. It just so happens that Willem-Alexander is the first male King in 122 years. As the Netherlands follows Absolute Primogeniture (the eldest child inherits, regardless of gender) and he has three daughters, the heiress apparent is Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange.
- Similarly, the constitution of Denmark defines just the office of "The King", while also specifying explicitly that this office can be inherited by women. Any particular female king will be referred to as "queen" even in formal, official documents.
- The Scottish cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow all have a Lord Provost instead of a mayor. Anyone who holds the title is referred to as Lord Provost, regardless of gender.
- This is true of many other positions in the UK with "Lord" in them, including the offices of First Lord of the Treasurynote , Lord Privy Seal, Lord President of the Council and Lord Chancellor (four very senior positions in HM Government—about which see more below—typically held by very big fish indeed). Thus far, no woman has ever been Lord Chancellor, but the other two have been held by women: the current First Lord of the Treasury is Theresa May, and one of her predecessors was Margaret Thatcher, Harriet "Three Hats" Harman was Privy Seal 2007-2010, and five women were Lord President under Tony Blair and Gordon Brownnote , and all of them continued to use "Lord" rather than "Lady".
- There is a reason (probably) that no women have been Lord Chancellor just yet. Lord Privy Seal and Lord President are emphatically political positions—they are generally being given as a sinecure to bring someone with a more pragmatic but less prestigious title like Deputy Prime Ministernote or Leader of the House of Commonsnote into Cabinet. However, the Lord Chancellor was, until 2005, the the speaker of the House of Lords and a government minister responsible for the judiciary and sat on a number of judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, as well. As such, the Lord Chancellor was always both a barrister (almost always a Queen's Counsel) and a Peer—and even today, these are very much male-dominated areas (to give an idea, of 443 applications for silk in 2005-06, only 68 were submitted by women; of the 175 actually appointed QC, only 33 were women—better than the average, but there was a conscious effort to create more women silks). To streamline the government, Labour decided to strip the post of Lord Chancellor of almost all its powers and create the positions of Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Speaker with most of the post's old executive and legislative duties, respectively. Thus far, all three Justice Secretaries have been Lord Chancellor, and if a woman is appointed to the post, it is likely she will be called "Lord Chancellor"; somewhat amusingly, both Lord Speakers since the establishment of the post have been women, and both followed the same rule.
- The title Mayor or (for the larger and older Cities, Lord Mayor) applies to the holder of the office, regardless of gender. Mayoress or Lady Mayoress (if it's a Lord Mayor) applies to the designated female consort of the Mayor (not always a wife - a Mayor can appoint any family member or friend to do this role). Calling a female Mayor "Mayoress" is just plain wrong. Male consorts appointed for the year are usually called "Consort".
- Many corporate boards still title their presiding member "Chairman" regardless of the incumbent's gender. Others truncate to "Chair" to avoid both gender bias and awkward back-creations like "Chairperson".
Examples of gender-neutral titles
Anime & Manga
- Black Lotus and Scarlet Rain from Accel World are the kings of their respected domains.
- Similarly White Cosmos, the White King, head of the Acceleration Research Society and Black Lotus's elder sister. Purple Thorn both uses this trope as the Purple King and averts is with her nickname Empress Voltage
- In Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, the main female character holds the title of "Maou" which can be translated as "Demon Lord" or "Demon King", but in its original Japanese form, the title is unisex.
- In The Twelve Kingdoms, the ruler is referred to as the "king" regardless of gender (at least in some translations). The original Japanese word translated as "king" is closer to the gender-neutral "monarch".
- In the dub of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's and some translations, Signum, Zafira and Reinforce refer to Hayate as "Master Hayate" (or "Meister Hayate"). The original Japanese title they use for her is "Aruji", which is gender-neutral.
- The title of "King of the Pirates" in One Piece has both male and female pirates striving for it, as well as some whose sex is unclear.
- Likewise, the titles "Shichibukai" and "Yonkou" are translated as Seven Warlords of the Sea and the Four Emperors, even though at least one member of each has been female.
- Anna Kushina after she Awakens as the Third and Red King in K: Missing Kings.
- In The Ancient Magus' Bride, the King of Cats is called a King even if she is female.
- Crest of the Stars: All Abh noble titles are gender-neutral in their native language. This occasionally leads to some confusion in the translations that leave the Abh terms intact.
- In ElfQuest, Winnowill becomes "Lord Winnowill" after Lord Voll's death.
- In Fables, the North Wind is referred to as a king regardless of the gender of the current incarnation. When Mr North pulls a Heroic Sacrifice, he is succeeded by his granddaughter Winter, and her courtiers explain to her parents that the word "queen" means something different from what the North Wind should be.
- Most Zebran nouns are gender-neutral in The Other Side of the Horizon, and rulership of Gondwana is passed to the firstborn regardless of gender, so the title of the ruler of Gondwana is always translated as "King". The current king, Inkosi, is a mare, and any masculine connotations are because of a minor Culture Clash. It's also briefly mentioned that the ruler's spouse's title is translated as "Queen", still regardless of gender.
Films — Live-Action
- Furiosa, the heroine of the film Mad Max: Fury Road, holds the rank of Imperator (an ancient Roman rank from which the word "emperor" is derived), which is used here in the Roman Republic sense, as an equivalent to "field marshal". Nevertheless, the title is distinctly masculine.
- In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, officers and officials of both genders are referred to as "Sir."
- In the Tales of the Branion Realm series by Fiona Patton, the sovereign's title ("Aristok") is unisex, and all the others are male (Prince, Duke, Knight, etc) but can equally well pertain to females. A consort, whether male or female, is just that, a consort.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's Dragonsbane (also titled Dealing with Dragons), the first volume of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, the title of King of the Dragons is gender neutral: Kazul is a female dragon and a perfectly legitimate contestant for the title of King.
- In The Fifth Elephant, the supreme dwarf ruler is always and ever "the Low King", no matter what genitalia the current King has. Discworld dwarves have historically refused to recognize gender at all, although it has been hinted several times that the current Low King might be female and unashamed of the fact. Confirmed in Raising Steam.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, a certain key prophecy refers to The Prince That Was Promised, but most of the signs are pointing very clearly at a female character, Daenerys Targaryen. The fandom guessed that the term translated as "Prince" was gender-neutral in Old Valyrian, the original language of the prophecy. This was proven exactly correct in A Feast For Crows: all Valyrian nouns are gender-neutral. If Dany's late brother Rhaegar, who thought the prophecy referred either to him or to his son, had taken that into consideration, it might have spared the kingdoms some grief in the Backstory.
- Played straight in the Destroyermen series. The term "high chief" is used for both males and females, contrary to using "chieftess" with even a character lampshading it. It is averted, however, in the kingdoms of Aryaal and B'mbaado, where the terms "king" and "queen" are used for the respective genders.
- In A Confusion of Princes, the titles of Prince and Priest are applied to both genders, reflecting the idea that Gender Is No Object.
- Gifts, the first book in Annals of the Western Shore, uses "brantor" for the heads of the Upland families. While most of the brantors seen in the story are men, female brantors like Parn Barre aren't too uncommon. When someone from the more sexist lowlands insists on calling her a "lady-brantor", Orrec and Gry find it ridiculous.
- The ruler of the city of Liavek is always called the Levar, regardless of sex.
- In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, the title of lordan (the heir to a lord) is gender neutral... somewhat to the surprise of most of the Kencyr Highborn, who had become accustomed to only appointing men to that rank. Two women hold the rank in the series: Kirien (whose house did the research and found the title to be unisex) and Jame of Knorth, the series protagonist (whose brother got the idea from Kirien).
- In The Death Gate Cycle, the leader of a Patryn community is alwaysnote titled as "headman", regardless if that person is a man or a woman. Whether the title carries a gendered implication in the original Patryn is never discussed.
- In The Riddle Master Trilogy, most nations title their ruler as "king" or "queen" (or, in the case of Hed, "prince" or "princess") but the ruler of Herun is always styled as "Morgol" regardless of gender. The origin and precise meaning of the title is never elaborated on.
Myths & Religion
- In Judaism, any number of verses, both in the Bible and in other sources, refer to God in the feminine form instead of the more common masculine form. This isn't to suggest that God is a female being, but rather one that can be referred to both in the masculine and feminine gender. An omnipotent being likely doesn't have fixed genitalia.
- Interestingly, the English word "god" and its relatives in other Germanic languages were originally (in pagan times) neuter—that is, of neither gender. It was only in Christian times when the words were repurposed as masculine, under the influence of Latin "Deus" and its descendants, which were themselves masculine.
- In modern times, God being revealed to be female is characteristic of jokes or aphorisms designed to challenge the conception of such a being as male.
- Ruling vampires in Vampire: The Requiem tend to adopt the title of "Prince", regardless of gender.
- The Vesten (Viking) people in 7th Sea are ruled by a High King, but the sourcebooks state that the title is gender neutral in their language. In fact, the very first High King was a woman.
- The female Demon Lords in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder are sometimes referred to as "Lords" or "Princes" rather than the female equivalent.
- The Imperator of the Novus Orvus Librarium in BlazBlue, aka Saya.
- Knights in Dragon Age use the honorific "Ser", which you may recognize from a certain other fantasy franchise, only in this case it's used for male and female knights. It can also be used as a formal address equivalent to "sir", as in "yes ser". The difference is exactly the same as calling someone sir to be polite and the actual title "Sir" which is used for British knights.
- Likewise, the next step up on the Fereldan ladder of nobility is "bann", roughly the equivalent of baron, which is also a gender-neutral title.
- As is the title of Viscount of Kirkwall in Dragon Age II.
- Also from Dragon Age II is the honorific "serah", which is also gender-neutral, and typically used in the Free Marches.
- From the same games, the wandering Dalish elf clans are each led by an elf mage with the title "Keeper" and their apprentice or "First". Both Keeper and First are gender neutral, as the titles can be held by a male or female. Although not explained, one probable reason for this is that the clans do not always have mage children that could become the next Keeper, so they are given an apprentice by another clan, regardless of gender.
- The Qunari are infamous in Thedas for their strict gender roles, and so most titles in their society are firmly male or female (although members of either biological sex can assume any role, so long as they assume a masculine or feminine identity. it's complicated.), but they do have one significant title - Ariqun, the leader of their religion and priesthood - is a gender neutral title and the position can be assumed be men and women, since the Qunari believe the wisdom of their religion speaks to all people, regardless of gender.
- The Tevinter titles of Magister and Archon, which denote a place in the Imperial Senate, can be assumed by men and women. Their Divine, conversely, is always male, in opposition to the Orlesian Divine, who is always female.
- The title of "Keyblade Master" in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep'', as demonstrated by Master Aqua.
- From the Fire Emblem series, Lyn and Eirika both start out with the Lord class, with Lyn promoting to Blade Lord and Eirika to Great Lord. This is mostly a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, however, as Lord is the traditional class for any protagonist of royal ancestry, regardless of what their actual title may be. Both Lyn and Erika are princesses and referred to as such in their respective games.
- The Elder Scrolls
- The Daedric Princes of the series are an unusual example. They are pure spirits who can take any physical form they choose, with some changing forms in different appearances while others stick to a strictly male or female (or in the case of Hermaeus Mora, eldritch) appearance. Even the female-identifying Daedra are still referred to as "Princes", though historically the term "prince" could be applied to rulers, regardless of sexnote .
- In Skyrim, the Jarls (pronounced "Yarls" and taken from an old Scandinavian term for "Earl") can be either male or female, and apparently children can inherit the title from their parents regardless of gender.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, card-carrying members of the Sith Order, regardless of gender, are referred to as "Lord" (or "Dark Lord" for senior members, equivalent to the better known "Darth"). Likewise, in both the Republic and Imperial military, the form of address for any superior is "sir". (In the latter case, this was explained as a headache-saving measure aimed at avoiding any trouble with species with more than two sexes, or which are less sexually dymorphic.) From a Doylist perspective, this is more to avoid having to double up on a truly staggering number of voice-over lines.
- In Destiny, before the concept of Guardians was solidified, there were the Iron Lords. Despite the name, however, many of them were female- of the ten main Iron Lords that gain focus in the Rise of Iron DLC, four of them are Ladies! Granted, individually they carry gender-appropriate titles, but you'd think that the group as a whole would bear a more neutral name, given there were women in the ranks from the very beginning.
- The Basitin King Adelaide from TwoKinds. In Basitin culture, rank is derived solely from your prowess in battle. The female king stands head and shoulders above any other Basitin, literally.
- Zalda Len from Space Blood desires to be the Blood Emperor of the Blood Empire and she did. However that is not the only example the original Blood Emperor we saw is a puppet and that a female is the original Blood Emperor.
- In Pay Me, Bug!, the leader of a Free Trade Barony is always referred to as "Baron", regardless of their gender. Similarly, The Empire of the Radiant Throne currently has a female Emperor. The Alliance of Free Worlds' leader's title hasn't been revealed, but based on the other titles, it's probably "President" or some such.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, just before her impending coronation, Azula refers to herself as "Fire Lord". The Sequel Series The Legend of Korra makes it clear that Fire Lord is a gender neutral title, since it states that Zuko's daughter Izumi now has the role.
- Likewise, in The Legend of Korra, Kuvira names herself "Earth Emperor". Earlier in the series there was an Earth Queen who took over from her father, the Earth King from the first series, but Kuvira has higher ambitions than that and likely wants to avoid any association with the previous ruler.
- Most republican titles, such as president and prime minister, are gender neutral (at least in English), with an exception noted below (senator/senatrix).
- However, the specific form of address is gender-specific. So when speaking to President Jane Doe of the United States, you would address her as "Madame President" instead of "Mr. President."
- On the flip side, no one is sure what the title of the husband of a female President of the United States would be ("First Man"? "First Dude"?). In the Philippines, which has had two female presidents, they refer to her husband as the "First Gentleman", a sensible counterpart to "First Lady." The spouses of female US governors are also addressed as "First Gentleman."
- While under current law women are barred from the line of succession, eight women have ascended Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne during its history. All of them used the same title as their male counterparts: "tennō". While the title is normally translated as the masculine "Emperor", the literal translation is "Heavenly Sovereign", which is gender-neutral.
- Wu Zetian was the only woman to ever be crowned huangdi of China. Despite being monopolised by men, huangdi is not an inherently male title in any linguistic sense. Huangdi is translated as "Emperor" when the ruler in question is male, and Wu Zetian's title is usually rendered "Empress" in English. This is confusing as "Empress" is also used to translate a completely different Chinese title which means "Primary Consort of a Ruler". note
- Many professional titles, such as "Doctor" or "Professor".
- Military ranks (Sergeant, Lieutenant, etc)
- Even when titles are not used, people can make assumptions based on, say, the person's profession. Consider the following story:
A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad. The son is rushed to the hospital; just as he’s about to go under the knife, the surgeon says, “I can’t operate — that boy is my son!” Explain.
- The fact that it's on this page is a giveaway, but without metatextual clues, few people guess that the surgeon might be the boy's mother.
Examples of gender inversions
Anime & Manga
- In High School Dx D, with its Chess Motifs, this is seen in some teams with male characters taking the "Queen" position.
- In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Chibodee gains the position "Queen of Spades" in the Shuffle Alliance. He finds this embarrassing, but sucks it up.
- In One Piece, the Queen of Kamabakka Kingdom, Emporio Ivankov is male. Most of the time. His Devil Fruit Powers enables him to control hormones, so he can turn into a she at will - but still spends most of his time as a cross-dressing guy (who is NOT likely to fool anyone), wearing the title of Queen.
- Of course, it's a deliberate joke in this case - Kamabakka Kingdom apparently consists entirely of cross-dressing men, making Ivankov a DRAG-Queen.
- In one episode of Slayers, one of the queen's consorts (in a matriarch society) was able to hide the crown prince's gender, as well as the gender of multiple members of the royal guard. The queen does NOT take this well. Nor does Zellos, who was dating said prince by mistake.
- In Sands of Destruction, The Planner is written with kanji that would translate to "Princess of Guidance". However, Vreveil states that the Planner need not be a woman, or even the same person throughout each incarnation of the world; someone just has to make a wish about the way the world will be, and literally anyone who's left alive after he's through purging the world could take on the role. Kyrie is actually the only one to make any sort of wish, and it isn't to create a new world at all; we aren't told if he's given yet another title, or what it may be.
- Piers Anthony:
- In Xanth, the Queen is defined as the King's spouse. When it was realized how a woman could be King, this also paved the way for its inversion: a female King of Xanth's spouse is a male Queen.
- In And Eternity, the protagonists have the unenviable job of finding a new candidate for the job of God. Since "God" is just a nickname for the Incarnation of Good, the job can be filled by anyone, male or female, living or dead. The search was only hard because they assumed that God had to be male (and currently alive). Once that's resolved, the perfect candidate, a dead woman, becomes obvious.
- In Enchanted Forest Chronicles, among dragons, the titles of king and queen are both gender neutral. Queen is a boring secretarial position unrelated to being the ruler or ruler's consort and the most recent holder of the now-vacant post was male.
- In the Dragaera novels, along with its Played Straight examples above, at least one inversion — the Lady of the Chairs, an official court office currently held by a male — is mentioned in Iorich.
- In The Girl from the Miracles District, the Midwife of Gods is a man. The amount of people who react to this with confusion almost makes it a Running Gag.
- Some references in Exalted suggest that whoever ascends to control of the Realm will continue the title of Scarlet Empress regardless of their own gender (although the tendency to assume that the new ruler will be an Empress may just be acknowledgement of the fact that most of the prime candidates are women).
- The creator of Bleak World has stated numerous times that the Princess Race also has men.
- In South Park: The Stick of Truth, Kenny plays as "Princess Kenny." See below in "Western Animation."
Cartman: Don't ask why Kenny wanted to be a chick, it's just how he seems to be rolling right now.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse's Anarchy route, Dagda offers you the chance to revive one of your fallen friends to serve as your eternal partner. They'll be referred to as your goddess, even if whoever you picked is male. Dagda lampshades this trope if you do decide on a male goddess, stating that it doesn't matter what gender the soul is as long as you pick who you want.
- Magience, as described under "Examples of women with a masculine title", has a male Queen as a female King's counterpart.
- So does Paradox Space, in Andrew's chess set (see above).
- As far as we can tell since the society is a matriarchy, a "Devess" in Drowtales is the female leader of a subhouse of a clan. There is one known exception to this, Rosof, the leader of the Tions subhouse of the Sarghress Clan, but he is still called a Devess. Presumably this is because there are so few male leaders that they haven't bothered to create another term.
- In Looking for Group, Richard adds "Mistress of Magma" to his many titles, after killing the previous Mistress in single combat.
- Played With on South Park: during the Black Friday three-parter Kenny's character is a girl, though of course everyone knows he's really a boy. He insists on being called a "princess," but Cartman, not wanting to share authority with him, only allows him to take the title "Lady McCormick." This is at least part of the reason that he betrays the X-Box players for the PS4 supporters. See above under "Video Games."
- Adventure Time:
- The episode "Princess Cookie" featured a male character who wanted to be a princess.
- In season 6, King of Ooo thanks to a barely legal election usurps both Princess Bubblegum's throne and her exact title.
- In Beast Wars, Inferno called Megatron his Queen, because Inferno was based on a fire ant (due to a glitch in his programming, the ant's instinct is dominant, so he truly believes that he is an ant). Megatron found this rather annoying, but grudgingly accepted it, as Inferno was one of his most powerful and reliable followers.
- Gender Flipped in an episode of The Fairly OddParents! when Timmy is crowned Queen of the Skate Park (he won the title from Vicki), though his friends keep correcting him with "King" when he says "Queen".
- The Simpsons: When The Simpsons bought a pool, Lisa became popular. Envious, Martin hired people to install a better one. He gloated to himself and the people building the pool about how Lisa thought she's the summer queen and then he said he would be the queen. Seeing their reactions, he quickly corrected himself by saying "King".
- In Viva Piñata, when Franklin Fizzlybear befriends a swarm of bee pinatas, he is eventually dubbed "Queen" for a short time. This being a swarm of bees, they probably couldn't think of another title. Franklin does not object to being called a queen.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Princess Spike" from the fifth season involves this, as indicated by the episode title.
- In an episode of The Book of Pooh, Pooh tries to deal with a swarm of honeybees by dressing in royal regalia and calling himself their queen, in hopes that they will obey him.
- Elagabalus was a third century Roman emperor who much to the dismay of his subjects preferred to be referred to as "empress", and who would (probably) be considered transsexual or transgender by today's standards.
- The Danish word "kassedame" (literally "box lady", but idiomatically "cashier"). Not as much a title as a job description ("kasse" can also mean checkout).
Blended and Other Examples
Anime & Manga
- Ooku: Because of a Gendercide plague, the Tokugawa-era shoguns and feudal lords of Japan are all female but use masculine names and titles. Audiences with foreigners are elaborately stage-managed to give the appearance that the ruler is male. By the time the story begins, almost everyone has forgotten that men used to be fully half the population and most people no longer understand the reasons for these customs. In the flashback arc that describes how this came to pass, the first female shogun (Iemitsu the Younger) was disguised as a man to hide that her father had died, with the intention being to restore male succession as soon as she produced a surviving son. When the last major opponent to female-line succession died, Iemitsu appeared at the fealty ceremony in female dress, commanded all to look upon her as shogun, and proceeded to rule in her own right until her death.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: The titular Utena often refers to the fact that she wants to be a prince, though in context it refers more to an ideal than an actual royal title, and the entire point of the series is to heavily deconstruct the ideals of both prince and princess.
- One of the major reveals of Tokyo Ghoul is that the One-Eyed King is actually a woman. Not only does the title further obscure her identity, but she's actually a King Incognito as well.
- In Anatolia Story, the country of Arzawa has a temporary occurence of this. When the latest king died, the crownprince was too young to ascend the throne and the country couldn't be left alone; so the concubine of the deceased king, who is also the mother of the crownprince, is currently residing on the throne, until the prince is old enough to be crowned king.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Mukuro is one of the Three Kings, qualifying both as having a male title while being openly a woman and the disguise: she doesn't hide she's a woman, it's just that only her most trusted warriors and the other two Kings have ever seen her face, that she keeps hidden under a mummy-like hood when in public to create an aura of mystery and fear around herself. Hence everyone calling her and her rivals the Three Kings... And the youkai being shocked when she finally ditched the disguise in public.
- Winnowill in ElfQuest is Lord of the Gliders. A suggested reason is that the Gliders only ever had one ruler before that, and for something like 10,000 years, so she just took over the title.
- In Fables, the North Wind is referred to as a king regardless of the gender of the current incarnation. When Mr North pulls a Heroic Sacrifice, he is succeeded by his granddaughter Winter, and her courtiers explain to her parents that the word "queen" means something different from what the North Wind should be.
Films — Live-Action
- The titular character from The Legend of Frenchie King is a woman named Louise, who's continuing her father's legacy; as a result, everyone thinks she's a man. However, she is not a literal king; what she is is a mere outlaw in the Wild West with a fancy-ass nickname, although she is the leader of her gang.
- In Heir Apparent, Giannine plays a role-playing game which ends up threatening her life through a fault in the machine in which the goal is to be crowned the king. Even if the player is a woman. Yeah, the designers didn't think that one through.
- Tanith Lee’s East of Midnight features the Moon King, the female ruler of a female-dominated society.
- In the Dragonlance saga, Dragon Highlord Kitiara is referred to by the masculine title because Dragon Highlady would have just sounded silly. Word of God has it that if the subject had ever come up in the story, Kitiara would have laughed and said she certainly wasn't a lady.
- Though Kitiara does have some explicitly feminine nicknames (she is known as both the Blue Lady and the Dark Lady), in person she is always addressed by her followers as "Lord Kitiara" or "My Lord".
- By the same logic, both male and female members of the ruling council of Tir Tairngire, from the Shadowrun game setting, are formally titled "Prince", because "Princess" carries so many silly Disney-cutesie connotations.
- In Angel, Illyria, God-King of the Primordium, is referred to as "she" after her resurrection. This is presumably because the Old Ones lacked any real gender identity, whereas she's now inhabiting a female body, which affects her personality. In her original language what's been translated as God-King was probably a genderless title.
- In Eon all Dwarven rulers are referred to as kings by humans and elves. The Dwarvish word for "king" is gender-neutral and more accurately translated to "ruler", but by the time the surrounding cultures figured that one out and learned to judge sexual dimorphism in Dwarves, "king" had already become entrenched as the "correct" translation.
- It's revealed very late in Brütal Legend that the title of "Emperor" amongst the Tainted Coil can be used for either gender. In fact, the previous Emperor was the protagonist's mother.
- Toyosatomimi no Miko of Touhou is a genderbent version of Crown Prince Shoutoku, and retains his (masculine) title. However, it isn't clear whether or not she was openly female.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the Sink Central Intelligence (which is programmed to act as a valet) adresses the protagonist as "Sir", even when you play a female character. If you bring up the subject, it will apologize and explain that it never were programmed to adress anyone in any other way (there's only one other notable female at the Big Empty, and she prefers to be called "doctor", nevermind being a brain in a jar with only a tenuous hold on gender identity), and it's hardcoded so it can't be changed.
- In the Japanese version of Kid Icarus: Uprising the Goddess of Nature, Viridi, is named Naturé, King of Nature, despite being a goddess that looks like a little girl.
- In the Mass Effect universe, asari can produce children with an adult of any species or gender, through a process that has at least as much to do with a Vulcan mind-meld as traditional sex. They refer to the one who bears the child as "mother" (or a term that translates to it, at any rate) and the other parent as "father", regardless of said father's gender or physical sex. This causes a little confusion when dealing with humans, who are more apt to call a second female parent "mother".
- In Dark Souls, the word "Lord" is used to refer to male and female characters without distinction. This is because in the Dark Souls setting Lord is not an aristocratic title but rather a term used to refer to being who have amassed massive amounts of Souls or other form of power. For example, the Witch of Izalith is a Lord because she discovered a Lord Soul in the First Flame, giving her immense strength.
- A few different cases in Tyranny:
- The actual gender of Kyros is unknown, but they still bear the title of "Overlord" either way.
- The Bronze Brotherhood mercenary company is an odd case. While both men and women can join, they all bear the title "Brother". This is because they operate in the Tiers, where only women can hold land outside of extraordinary circumstances. By living under the legal fiction of being men, female Brothers can ensure those who hire them that they won't take the lands they're hired to take or protect for themselves.
- Luminous Arc 2 does this on a national scale. Carnava is a "Kingdom", but it's heavily implied that it's female heirs who are first in line for succession, and the manual mentions the nation's head of state has been the Queen for many generations now, long enough that the King in "Kingdom" is actually misleading.
- Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis is the Empress of Cyclonia. This seems to have also been the title used by her Grandmother.
- On Codename: Kids Next Door, the current Supreme Leader of the Kids Next Door happens to be a girl — Rachel, Number 362 — but all of her subordinates always address her as "sir," and nobody (including Rachel) ever calls attention to this, showing this is perfectly normal for their organization.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Lord Pain refers Mandy as "Lord Mandy" instead of "Lady Mandy"
- Wander over Yonder: Lord Dominator is first introduced as a seemingly male villain, but is revealed later to actually be a woman wearing an enhanced bulky suit. Regardless, she continues to be referred to as "Lord" even after this reveal.
- When using Latin titles, swapping the "-or" for "-rix" is a general rule when the holder of a position is a woman. (This is seen in dominator/dominatrix. You may also know it by the anglicized suffix "-ess", as in actor/actress) Hence, the feminine form of the Latin word "senator" is "senatrix". The rule was once used with Latin-derived words in English, but this is now essentially extinct, which means "senatrix" is virtually unknown in English and "senator" is now considered unisex.
- In modern Romanian, all political and professional titles are correctly and formally masculine, even if held by a woman - one is expected to address a female as "Mrs. Doctor" or "Mrs. Senator". Colloquial speech has multiple feminine titles but they are unsuitable for formal occasions.
- It is the same in modern Russian, except the professional titles are rarely used to address. Some Russian language scholars classify words like "doctor" or "professor" as belonging to a fourth, "common" gender. And if you stick a feminine ending on some of these words, such as "general", you will get a word for "general's wife".
- The French model for educators and administrators is similar to the Russian and Romanian examples above: in formal metropolitan French all offices and professional titles were and may still be masculine, so the correct way to address a woman in office is "Madame le Professeur" or "Madame le Juge". On the other hand, for some titles feminine versions do exist and are used (such as "Sénatrice"). Other Francophone countries are less strict about this.
- Unfortunately, in the Latin of Ancient Roman, this was not the case. An orator is a speaker, an oratrix is a prostitute. If not used as slang for "prostritute" then -rix is usually used with the implication of a woman doing a man's job (badly). Sometimes both, see Cicero's use of imperatrix against Clodia in the Pro Caelio.
- In modern Swedish, most professions use masculine titles regardless of the person's gender, such as "professor" or "doctor". The archaic feminine forms "proffesorska" and "doktorska" are hardly ever used except in period pieces and do not actually mean "female doctor" or "female professor" but "a woman married to a doctor or professor". The feminine title "sjuksköterska" ("nurse") is used by all nurses regardless of sex. The masculine equivalent, "sjukskötare" was already in use as "orderly", indicating much less professional training. In Danish the situation is much like in Swedish (the two languages are closely related).
- Elizabeth I of England (mentioned above) also referred to herself in her speeches and writings as a "prince", as did her sister Mary I and cousin Mary, Queen of Scots While it had masculine connotations even at that time, "prince" was an accepted term for a sovereign ruler regardless or sex or title (it comes from princeps, a word meaning "first"). When Niccolò Machiavelli talks of "princes" in Il Principe, he's referring to anyone in a position of ultimate authority.
- Janet Yellen, successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, chose to use "Chair" rather than "Chairwoman" or "Chairperson" as her formal title. When newspapers tried to make hay from this tidbit, people pointed out that the usage was perfectly valid and that the word "chair" (in the sense of a head of a meeting) was actually coined before "chairman/woman". Likewise, "Chair" is now the preferred term in academia for the elected head of a university department.
- Technically speaking, "king" is gender neutral — it derives from a word meaning "leader of the people," but most kings were male, and "queen" is thus derived from a word meaning "wife."
- Some types of animals are named after gender-specific titles— the king cobra, for example, or the queen angelfish. Such animals are generally not a One-Gender Race, but the name stays the same regardless of sex.