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She Is the King

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She is an Emperor, thank you very much.

Hero: Why is the Demon King a woman?
Demon King: It's a traditional title. I can't help it...
Maoyu: Episode 1

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:

  1. The ruler in question is actually a woman disguised as a man.
  2. The ruler is openly a woman, but still has a masculine title. This can be for any number of reasons, such as:
    1. The woman rules under the outright legal fiction that she is a man.
    2. 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.
    3. The title is masculine, regardless of who has it.
    4. The nation crowning the woman king wants to make it clear that she rules in her own right rather than as consort.
    5. The woman is masculine, and the title of "King" denotes masculinity rather than being male.
    6. The woman simply prefers the masculine title to the feminine one and insists on using it.
    7. Women are not usually allowed to rule, so this one uses the masculine title to be clear about her authority.
  3. In a translated work, the original title is gender-neutral but it is represented by a masculine term in translation because of gender assumptions on the part of the translator.

This trope is frequently employed as a means of Gender-Concealing Writing.

Gender Inversions (i.e. He Is The Queen) are far less common, but they do happen. It could be because the society is a matriarchy, the title refers to the king's spouse, or for some other reason. Note that a female character using a gender-neutral title is not this trope because that's what gender-neutral titles are for. Somewhat surprisingly, this trope only very rarely involves a transgender monarch.

This also applies to traditional non-English titles, which are usually gendered even if they aren't obvious to the English speaker, like emir in Arabicnote , or wáng in Mandarin Chinesenote .

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are God Save Us from the Queen!, The High Queen, The Good King, and President Evil. The next steps down are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Sheltered Aristocrat, Warrior Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next step up is The Emperor.

See also Matriarchy. For other unexpected titles of rulership, see Princesses Rule and Just the First Citizen. Don't Call Me "Sir" can arise when the ruler would prefer a feminine title.

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Examples of women in disguise

    Anime and 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1987): The Sangtee Emperor is a woman in disguise. Within the Empire, women cannot be citizens and female kreel are hidden away and raised to disguise themselves and only allowed into society when they can reliably play the part of a man. Women of any of the conquered or other races in the Empire are enslaved and shipped to the border planets to work in mines instead. note 

    Fan Works 

    Fairy Tales 
  • Some translations of The Fisherman and His Wife say that the wife wished to become a king, then an emperor and then pope, (the latter of which is actually restricted to women) rather than a queen or an empress. Others avert this, saying she wished for her husband to be these things.

    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 Kamen Rider Blade, Yazawa, the Capricorn Undead, is a male. His Undead Category? The Queen of Spades.

  • 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.
  • Ixia and Sitia: The Commander is either a woman disguised as a man or a transgender man note . In Poison Study, the villain attempts to expose the Commander's gender identity, but the Commander plays it off as such a ridiculous story that they are not believed.
  • Discworld: Technically happens in Guards! Guards!, but only because nobody 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".

    Mythology and 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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."

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Saber is King Arturia "Arthur" 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. In fact, some of them didn't even care as long as she was able to prove herself the best choice for ruler. Arturia was prophesied to become king, but due to the sexism and misogyny of Ancient Britain, she had to disguise as a man to prevent the hysterics that would arise if a woman became king. Arturia was seen as The Good King, but the fall of her kingdom was ironically not because the people found out her true gender (in fact, it was never revealed), but because she believed that she had to abandon emotion and use cool logic to make the best choices possible. This in turn started leading her people to see her as an inhuman king who never truly understood them, and when the Lancelot-Guinevere affair happened and Mordred was tactlessly rejected as an heir, the latter used the former to help incite rebellion among the kingdom.
  • Galaxy Angel: Somewhat zigzagged with Shiva Transbaal. During the first game she was assumed to be a boy, but there's a secret sub-route that allows the player to figure out she's actually a girl in disguise. This scenario is rendered non-canon in the sequel, Moonlit Lovers, where she publically announces her true gender after she's been crowned Emperor. While the Empire had always had male rulers until then, she was the only surviving member of the royal family so they had to make do with what they had.

Examples of women with a masculine title

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: The Japanese title of the Kais, Kaiō, literally translates to "World King". Despite this, several female Kais are seen throughout the series.
  • Fist of the North Star: The Tentei (Emperor of Heaven) is eventually revealed to not only be a woman but that she is actually the estranged twin sister of Kenshiro's traveling companion Lin.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Major General Armstrong 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!
  • Hellsing: 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.
  • High School D×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.
  • 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.
  • Idolmaster: Xenoglossia: The Idol masters 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 If The RPG World Had Social Media, it turns out early on that the Demon Lord is female, a fact that she relays to the surprised hero over instant messaging.
  • Koihime†Musou: Moukaku The Nanban King
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Various Ancient Belka Kings 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.
    • 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:
    Bardiche: Yes, sir!
    Fate: That's "ma'am!"
  • Maoyu: The first thing Hero notices when meeting its archenemy the Demon King is that it is actually a very polite, buxom redheaded woman.
  • My Balls: Lord Satan.
  • Overlord (2012): The Wise King Of The Forest that everyone is terrified of turns out to be a female giant hamster.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Hunter J's mooks always call her "Sir".
  • 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".
  • Sgt. Frog: The Lord of Terror is a girl named Angol Mois.
  • 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.
  • Sword Art Online: Alice refers to Fanatio, vice-commander of the Integrity Knights as "Sir Fanatio" in the Crunchyroll subs (she uses the extremely respectful gender-neutral honorific "-dono" in the original Japanese). Considering that Fanatio uses a full-face helmet to hide the fact that she's a woman, this would be an example of a woman disguising herself as a man, but it's revealed in Volume 15 that Alice has long been aware of Fanatio's gender.

    Comic Books 
  • In the 1986 Aquaman mini-series, the underwater kingdom of Thierna Na Oge is ruled by females that assume the title of kings — Nuada Silverhand was its previous king before her sister Bres took over.
  • The use of "sir" as a unisex form of address in Mildly Military organizations is creeping through the Marvel Universe, most likely due to semi-conscious osmosis from Star Trek (see below). It's most common around SHIELD, SWORD, Alpha Flight (the 2010s space-cop version), Captain Marvel, and in comics written by Kelly Sue Deconnick.
  • X-Men: The Hellfire Club has always used chess motifs to indicate rank. The King is in charge, the Queen acts as his Lancer and wears one-fifth the clothing, and the Rook and Bishop are high-ranked minions. When former White Queen Emma Frost returned and took over following a split with the X-Men, she took the title Black King to let everyone know who was in charge.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts has Marcie calling Peppermint Patty 'Sir'. Initially from some confusion (given Patty's personal tastes and prevailing attitudes at the time), but eventually just out of habit. Which does lead to Don't Call Me "Sir" for a while.

    Fan Works 
  • 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 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. Eventually, even Jaina refers to herself as the Lich King such as when Uther mentions that his men remember the action attached to her title.
    Jaina: Which, my title of Lady or my title of King?
  • This applies to Gryphonia in Rites of Ascension, where the current King is a gryphoness named Morvana.
  • In Zorak's famous Let's Play of Pokémon Quartz trainer Foxy nicknames her (female) bird pokemon Da King by mistake. Zorak later jokingly addressed this by giving Da King a backstory where she took a masculine title for political purposes.
  • This Fire Emblem: Three Houses fan art has two royal yuri couples- Emperor Edelgard and Empress Byleth of Adrestia, and King Petra and Queen Dorothea of Brigid.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aladdin (2019): At the end, Jasmine is named the new sultan by her father, rather than the feminine sultana.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild: Wink insists that his daughter Hushpuppy is going to one day be "the king of the Bathtub." Not queen, king.
  • Jurassic Park: In a variant, all the dinosaurs 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").
  • 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.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa 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".
  • Paul: While The Big Guy seems to be more of a moniker than a title, it still leads the audience to believe the mysterious Big Bad is a man.
  • 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.
  • In Thor: Love and Thunder, Brunnhildr rules New Asgard under the title of "king", and is female.

  • In Alexis Carew, one of the first things Alexis learns about Space Navy life is that she is to be called "Mr. Carew" and "Sir". This is done to avoid any fumbling for the correct form of address during a crisis. The same goes for her initial rank. It's always "midshipman", never "midshipwoman".
  • 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 The Conquerors Saga, an Alternate History where Vlad the Impaler was a woman, Lada is prince of Wallachia, because she's seized power in her own right rather than marrying.
  • Discworld: 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 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.
  • In 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. It's also mentioned that the last queen was male (no one's held the position since he retired), but he never appears in the series in person.
  • In Encryption Straffe, a key character has the self-appointed title “Father of Deception and Chief Instructor at the School of Evil” and speaks in a digitally masked masculine voice. The character turns out to be a woman.
  • Likewise, D'ol Falla in the Green-Sky Trilogy is High Priest of the Vine, and women who run guilds are called guild-masters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Similar to the Star Trek: Voyager example below, the police in In Death refer to superior officers as sir.
  • In I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, the King of Demons is a traditional title and does not change for the gender of the one currently holding it. As of volume 2, it is held by Provato Pecora Ariés, a female demon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Legendborn: Bree is referred to as the king of the Round Table, not queen, because she is the Scion for Arthur Pendragon and she carries his spirit and title.
  • In Magik Online the Concordian Empire's leader is called 'Grandmaster'. A position held by a female dragon named Wyrde since its founding.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil: Cordelia Hasenbach, ruler of the Pricipate of Procer, styles herself First Prince. The reason is her native principality, Rhenia, traditionally having a male title (althought is has been opened for women since centuries), and Cordelia is nothing if not a stickler for tradition. Her whole title is "Her most serene Highness, First Prince Cordelia, Prince of Rhenia and Princess of Salia, Warden of the West and Protector of the Realms of Man".
  • 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 Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil, it's shown that Chiss patriarchs (rulers of families) can be male or female, but they're always called "Patriarch".
  • 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 a later book (Crucible of Gold) we discover that the Inca Empire's human population has been so badly ravaged by European diseases that a woman currently holds the position of Sapa Inca due to attrition.
  • Tortall Universe: In Song of the Lioness, 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 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.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, sometime 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.
  • 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.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Captain Gates, the replacement of Captain Montgomery, on Castle is a woman who insists on being called "sir".
  • Doctor Who: In "The Next Doctor", Miss Hartigan is pronounced the CyberKing.
  • On Due South, Fraser habitually refers to his boss, Inspector Thatcher, as "sir".
  • 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 from her previous title of "Empress" as in "Main Wife". In Mandarin, obviously, "Empress" and "Main Wife" are different words.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Magicians (2016): Margo is elected as the new High King since apparently there Ain't No Rule saying a woman can't hold the title. Also, she runs into a female Pirate King.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Star Trek: Discovery has the Terran Empire in an alternate universe. The Empire is ruled by a woman who uses the Emperor title. This is in contrast to Hoshi Sato, who preferred "Empress". This seems to be characteristic of Phillipa Georgiou's reign in general, as her policies tend to be more gender-neutral. For example, female officers' uniforms look like uniforms, not miniskirts or some other kind of feminine dress. Captains do get more leeway, though, which explains why Mirror!Sylvia Tilly's uniform has cleavage. Presumably, the following Emperors had significantly more sexist policies.

  • 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"
    • Banica Conchita of Evillious Chronicles is one of the Five Dukes of the Beelzenian Empire. She's always referred to as a duke or a lord, never as a duchess or lady. It's never explained why this is, though it could be to show she is the actual ruler, rather than a consort.
  • The last song on Amanda Lee's album 'Rise of the Monarch' has the title and triumphant refrain of 'Call Me King'. The lyric video emphasises this, with 'KING' in all-caps bold letters.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Religion and Mythology 

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 Niccolň 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 infamous 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 trans woman, who dresses up like, acts like and basically pretends to be a cisgender woman to the point it's whispered she's given birth to a tiefling daughter, as pretty much everybody is fooled. Though this directly contradicts another sourcebook; in "Faces of Evil: The Fiends," it's stated that all yugoloths are hermaphrodites, regardless of what gender they appear to be.
  • In BattleTech, the ruler of The Federated Suns is always called First Prince, regardless of their gender. The same was true for the Archon Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, though Katherine Steiner-Davion averted this by calling herself Archon Princess Katherine, though everyone involved pointed out this was technically incorrect.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the ruler of Kamigawa holds the title Emperor, regardless of gender (and is only ever called The Emperor, being otherwise No Name Given). The current Emperor of Kamigawa is a young woman.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
    • This also applies to the Lord of Calamity's opposite, the Shepherd. It's initially assumed that the Shepherd is always male, but Tales of Berseria heavily implies the first Shepherd to popularize the term (and the second Shepherd overall) was the female Eleanor Hume.
  • Ghostrunner has Mara, better known as the Keymaster. It's never explained why she goes by a masculine title.
  • 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 Optional Bosses, the Five Kings of Cinquleur, 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 the female One-Gender Race of Viera.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Several female protagonists across the series are given the same "Lord" class as their male counterparts.
    • The recurring dragon deity Naga was originally referred to as the Divine Dragon King. Her gender was ambiguous in her debut, but later games revealed her to be definitively female, and she actually appears in person in Awakening.
    • In the Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Awakening, 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 Fire Emblem: Three Houses,
      • Edelgard (pictured above) is referred to as the future emperor of Adrestia. Indeed, she takes on the title of Emperor after the Time Skip. It's also the biggest clue to the identity of The Flame Emperor - Edelgard herself. Edelgard and Ferdinand's supports also mention a female emperor who was one of Edelgard's ancestors.
      • In Bernadetta's paired ending with Yuri, she inherits her father's title of Count Varley.
      • Judith of House Daphnel is called "Count Daphnel" in one of Byleth's dialogue options. That said, she insists that Claude call her "Lady Judith" in the English version.
  • In The Old Republic, in the Sith Empire, a Sith higher ranked than an apprentice but lower than a Darth bears the title of 'Sith Lord' or simply 'Lord' regardless of the gender of the Sith in question and are always addressed as 'my lord' or 'Lord (name)' by their subordinates.
    • In the Eternal Throne expansion, we see that the title of Mandalore (who has been held by male characters before) is now held by Shae Vizla, a woman. In-universe, the Mandalorian culture has very little in the way of gender-specific terminology.
  • 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 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 the playable Saber being another gender-flipped version of a famous historical monarch, this time Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the 5th Emperor of the Roman Empire. And yes, she does refer to herself as "Emperor", not the female variant Empress.
  • In Hollow Knight, the Mantis Lords are all female, though the player doesn't discover this until they've killed the Lords' exiled brother, the Traitor Lord.
  • Civilization VI lampshades this when Jadwiga introduces herself as "...the King of Greater Poland. Yes, a king." Her real-life counterpart was also crowned King, as described below.
  • There are many Pokémon with "King" in their names that can be either gender, e.g. Kingler, Kingdra, Slowking. Kingdra in particular is Clair's signature mon, so many players who were first exposed to it that way may instinctively think of the species as female.
  • In World of Warcraft, the leader of Kul Tiras is called the Lord Admiral. Not only does the male Daelin Proudmoore go by this title, but so does his wife Katherine after he dies, as well as their daughter Jaina after Katherine cedes the title to her.
  • In Mad Rat Dead, the Rat God has a feminine appearance, but she is always addressed as a God rather than a Goddess.
  • Lobotomy Corporation: Despite her title, the King of Greed is a Magical Girl.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: The Shadowbringers zone Il Mheg, the fae "Kingdom of Rainbows," is ruled by a King, but that King is always known by the traditionally feminine regnal name Titania. Further, three of the four groups within Don Mheg, the pixies, fuath, and nu mou, do not have gender and exclusively use they/their pronouns. Only the amaro use gendered pronouns, as they are sapient animals, not fae proper.

  • 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.
  • Paradox Space: In "Horse play" page 3, 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 mustache.
  • 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".

    Web Original 
  • Empires SMP Season 1: Any female ruler who possesses and wears the Emperor's Crown is this, of which there are three of themnote . While they are sometimes called Empresses, mainly in informal contexts, fWhip's official rulebook on the Crown and the games in which it circulates refers to any ruler who possesses the Crown as an "Emperor" regardless of their gender.
  • King Jenna I, "The Woman" of Grobb from How to Write Badly Well. Grobb is a satire of primitive cultures written as a Mockumentary of history books, so a king who is a woman is the only way they can understand the concept of a female ruler.
  • 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.
  • Several artists, on Instagram and Deviant Art, invoke this trope with humanizations of the roller coaster Kingda Ka; despite being called Kingda Ka, they depict the ride as a female in human form.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 once called herself "Daughter of Torch, Winner of the Gauntlet of Fire, and Lord of All Dragons".
  • Angela Anaconda had a female dog called King.
  • In Craig of the Creek, King Xavier's older sister, Cheyenne, was the previous ruler of the Other Side of the Creek and was referred to as King Cheyenne, rather than Queen Cheyenne. It's never explained why this is.

    Real Life 
  • Older Than Dirt: Ancient Egyptian History gives us several female rulers from multiple dynasties:
    • 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 Middle Kingdom Twelfth Dynasty, but women might have been crowned King as far back as the Early Dynastic First Dynasty; however, records that far back are incredibly spotty.
    • Hatshepsut crowned herself king and maintained an elaborate legal fiction of maleness. Because the king was, mythologically speaking, Horus,note  the son of Ra—or was it Osiris? Or Amun?—anyway he was both Horus and the son of a god and so 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 kings was especially necessary in her case.
      • Please note that we have consistently said "king" and not "pharaoh" here—there is a point to this. In Ancient Egyptian, the word that we interpret as "pharaoh" originally meant, roughly "great house", i.e. the Palace. Up until the reign of Hatshepsut, the term referred exclusively to a literal royal residence or to the metaphorical cluster of officials and attendants surrounding the monarchy (a bit like today's monarchies to be frank). It is only during Hatshepsut's reign that the term is used to refer to the monarch personally, and Egyptologists strongly suspect (though of course they cannot know) that this was a euphemism that helped patriarchal officials and scribes reconcile themselves to the fact that they were taking orders from a woman. (As in, instead of saying "these orders come from the King!", officials would say "These orders come from the Palace!") After this point, the term "pharaoh" was used increasingly often as the title of the monarch, rather than the more traditional "King" (well, "Nesut" or something like that).
    • 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 under the personal name Neferneferuaten (a name Akhenaten is known to have given her shortly after he declared his devotion to the cult of Aten).note  It's accepted now that Smenkhkare was someone else, specifically Nefertiti and Akhenaten's son-in-law (married to their eldest child Meritaten) who took the throne either before Nefertiti (as a co-regent of Akhenaten) or after her. The confusion arose partly because they both used the throne name Ankhkheperure ("Life and Transfiguration of Ra" or perhaps "Living/Enduring Are the Forms of Ra"note ).
    • 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.
  • Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway was elected under the title of "Our mistress and rightful husband". She was nicknamed "King Pantsless" by her minions.
  • 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 apparent. 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 was 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 was 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.
      • In 2013, the UK abolished male-preference primogeniture in favor of absolute primogeniture, so it's possible that in future generations the heir apparent will always be called Prince(ss) of Wales regardless of gender. Of course, there won't be a female heir apparent for at least another generation unless something horrible happens to Prince George,note  so this is all very theoretical at this point.
  • Historically, the ruler of Hungary was required by law to be a King. Thus, 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. After her husband's death, her son Joseph was elected Emperor but was essentially co-ruler with Maria Theresa until her death.
  • In 1184, Tamar the Great became the first female monarch to rule the medieval Kingdom of Georgia in her own right. In recognition of this fact, she was formally titled Tamar mepe — in English, King Tamar — instead of using the traditional title for "queen", dedopali. Afterwards, mepe became the traditional title for queens regent and kings alike, while dedopali was instead reserved for queens consort.
  • Peggielene Bartels was 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".
  • 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 Spanish Constitution refers to the monarch as the "King" even though the monarch could be male or female, but this is less a matter of this trope and more because the traditional grammatical rule in Spanish is that the masculine form includes the feminine. (For example, the King and Queen are referred to as los reyes, morphologically "the kings.") Nevertheless, queens regnant have always been called reina individually, and the constitution does use "queen" when referring to a female monarch specifically. The constitution also refers to the Prince of Asturias; as Spain still technically holds to male-preference primogeniture, the investiture of the heiress-presumptive, Felipe VI's elder daughter Leonor, as Princess of Asturias is technically irregular, but evidently Felipe isn't as hung up on the technicalities as George VI of the United Kingdom was, and was happy to just declare his eldest daughter de facto heiress apparent because he really wasn't about to have any more kids. (He and his queen were in their early 40s at the time of his accession.)
  • 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 Treasury,note  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). All have been held by women: a recent First Lord of the Treasury was Theresa May, and one of her predecessors was Margaret Thatcher; Harriet "Three Hats" Harman was Privy Seal 2007-2010; five women were Lord President under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown,note  and Liz Truss was Lord Chancellor under Theresa May in 2016-17. All of them continued to use "Lord" rather than "Lady".
    • You might notice that of these titles, it's Lord Chancellor that took the longest for this trend to hit. There is a reason for this. Lord Privy Seal and Lord President are emphatically political positions—they are generally 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 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 King's Counsel) and a Peer. 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, 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. The title "Lord Chancellor" was thus left a more-or-less empty shell, much like Lord Privy Seal and Lord President, albeit one joined at the hip with the new Justice Secretary title rather than given to political grandees. Somewhat amusingly, both of the first two Lord Speakers after the establishment of the post were 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.note  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".
  • The FIDE titles of "Grandmaster", "International Master" are officially gender-neutral, but in practice are primarily awarded to men; a separate set of women-exclusive titles has been created with lower requirements for eligibility. Still, there are a number of women players who hold the "masculine" titles in addition to or instead of the women’s titles. A famous example being the Polgár sisters, two of whom (Susan and Judit) hold the "male" Grandmaster title, while the other (Sofia) holds the "male" International Master title in addition to the Woman Grandmaster title.
  • In the New England towns which still use the title of "First Selectman" (equivalent to Mayor), the title is "Select*man*" regardless of whether the First Selectman is a man or woman.

Examples of gender-neutral titles

    Anime and Manga 
  • Black Lotus and Scarlet Rain from Accel World are the kings of their respective 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 it with her nickname Empress Voltage
  • In The Ancient Magus' Bride, the King of Cats is called a King even if she is female.
  • Ayakashi Triangle:
    • Shirogane's title "Ayakashi-no-Ō" is gender-neutral, but officially translated as "King of Ayakashi". When Shirogane decides to make Suzu his successor, the English version has characters refer to her as "king" without comment.
    • Chirizuka Kaiou's name/titles are translated "Ghost King" and "King of the Tsukumogami", despite the character being of Ambiguous Gender.
  • The Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Chainsaw Man are all female. It's an odd case where namesake mythological figures are male, the Japanese term is the gender neutral "Yonin no Kishi/Four Knights", and the English version keeps the usual masculine "Four Horsemen".
  • 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.
  • Anna Kushina after she Awakens as the Third and Red King in K: Missing Kings.
  • 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.
  • In Maoyu, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: "Prince" seems to be a gender-neutral title for Andalite warriors; Estrid and Cassie are called as such in "What if Elfangor using the Time Matrix had unintended consequences?" and "What if they were caught during their first mission?" respectively. Also, Rachel is a knight in "What if they were in Tortall?", and she's called "sir" rather than "dame".
  • I Reincarnated As A Minor Villainess And Survived Past My Death Scene: In the Sanc Kingdom, any peerage title except for royalty (the Kingdom is always ruled by a Queen) is gender-neutral, so it's possible for a woman to become a Duke or a Count. The transmigrated Duo Maxwell is very much a man, yet he's a Duchess and constantly referred as such.
  • Most Zebran nouns are gender-neutral in The Other Side of the Horizon, and rulership of Zebrabwe is passed to the firstborn regardless of gender, so the title of the ruler of Zebrabwe 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.
  • Precipice treats Naboo's title of Queen as this, as Luke mentions how some members of the planet's assembly ask him if he has any interest in becoming Queen and Word of God mentions that this is based on their own interpretation of the position.
  • Tangled Fate has Ranma insisting to be called a Castellan when formally acknowledged as Greyfalls' new ruler because she's actually a male cursed to have a feminine body and wearing the expected title of Queen or Princess would only trigger her gender dysphoria.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa, the heroine, 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 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 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.
  • In The Interdependency, the ruler of the titular empire is called the gender-neutral title "Emperox" (the "x" is silent). Notably, the first emperox was a woman. The Interdependency's laws of succession are completely egalitarian. In fact, the dying previous Emperox names his bastard daughter Cardenia as his heir after his legitimate son's death instead of any number of legitimate cousins or nephews, and not a single person objects to her being a woman. Averted with the noble titles, which still change based on gender (e.g. Lord/Lady, Count/Countess).
  • The three levels of the Creature Court are the courtesi, the Lords and the Kings. Courtesi are either "courteso" (masculine) or "courtesa" (feminine), while "Lord" is used for both men and women. Female Kings are so rare as to be considered nonexistent, but when protagonist Velody is revealed to be one, no-one has a problem with referring to her as a King.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, officers and officials of both genders are referred to as "Sir".

    Mythology and 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.

    Tabletop Game 

    Video Games 
  • 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 by 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 Eirika 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 sex.note 
    • 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 Fate/Grand Order, Scáthach-Skadi is referred to as Scandinavia's Lostbelt King despite being, by her own word, the Queen of Ice and Snow. But the term is gender-neutral in the original Japanese script as a literal translation of the title.
  • 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.
    • Likewise, the title of "Mandalore" is shown to be this when you have a male Mandalore (Mandalore the Vindicated) at the start of the game, and when he dies offscreen, his title is inherited by Shae Vizla who now calls herself Mandalore the Avenger. Star Wars Legends lore further establishes that Mandalorians don't use a lot of gender signifiers in their language or culture and they don't care much about sexual orientation, either. The only real consideration is whether you can have biological kids or whether you go out and adopt the next generation of warriors.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the player character can be played as male or female, dark or light-sided. No matter what gender you choose, your character is referred to as the Dark Lord of the Sith in the dark side ending, not the Dark Lady of the Sith. Ultimately subverted in subsequent material, where Darth Revan became canonically male. A giant Lampshade is hung on this in an early quest in Star Wars: The Old Republic where a Revanite cultist remarks that the older texts aren't all that clear on the matter.
  • 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 Great Khan of the Apocalypse DLC for Stellaris always bears the title of "Great Khan", regardless of whether they are male, female, or fungus-things with No Biological Sex.
  • The Grandmaster, leader of Ouroboros from the Trails Series is first heard as a woman in The Third and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV fully reveals her except her eyes (though an observant player can see that the eyes are red in color).
  • Mega Man ZX: The "Mega Men" of this time period is the title given to those who have Megamerged with a Biometal, regardless if they're male or female. This is evident with Aile, Ashe, Atlas, and Pandora. Also, the winner of the Game of Destiny and new ruler/god of the world will be known as the "Mega Man King", a title Atlas proudly claims she will win for herself.

  • The Basitin King Adelaide from TwoKinds. In Basitin culture, rank is derived either from your prowess in battle or Dead Man's Shoes. 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.
  • The "King Slime" in Nast the Enchanter is female in gender (if not sex, slimes being neuteresse blobs of protoplasm). She took the form of a sexy woman to ease negotiations. Unfortunately, the first kingdom she has to negotiate with is the local goblin tribe, who have very different standards of "attractive".

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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 Zuko's daughter Izumi now has the role. She's directly called "Fire Lord Izumi" in the show too.
  • 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, so her official title is "Great Uniter", the equivalent of Supreme Leader.
  • Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis is the ruler of Cyclonia. This seems to have also been the title used by her Grandmother.
  • On Codename: Kids Next Door, the Supreme Leader of the Kids Next Door for most of the series 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 Star Wars: The Clone Wars, clone troopers always refer to their Jedi commanders as "sir," regardless of gender. This is actually common practice in real life militaries, as male AND female officers are often addressed as “sir” regardless of gender.

    Real Life 
  • 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 and so, when speaking to President Jane Doe of the United States, you would address her as "Madam President" instead of "Mr. President." (Kamala Harris is being addressed as Madam Vice 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."
      • When America got its first female Vice President Kamala Harris in 2021, her husband Doug Emhoff got the official title of "Second Gentleman". However, there have been ten cases where the First Lady was not the wife of the President: Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Martha, Andrew Jackson's niece Emily and later his daughter-in-law Sarah, Martin Van Buren's daughter-in-law Angelica, John Tyler's daughter-in-law Priscilla, James Buchanan's niece Harriet, Chester A. Arthur's sister Mary, Grover Cleveland's sister Rose, Benjamin Harrison's daughter Mary, and Woodrow Wilson's daughter Margaret. note  They all used the title of the Hostess of the White House.
  • In East Asia, on the rare occasion where a woman became the monarch, she would share the exact same title as a man would, because gendered titles like "queen" or "empress" are more of a Western thing.
    • Wu Zetian was the only woman to ever be crowned huangdi of China. English translations use the gendered term "Empress" which could be confusing because she rose to the throne as a former concubine and empress consort, even though as a huangdi, she should be properly called "Empress Regnant". Wu Zetian even created longer, more impressive titles for herself, for example "Grand Sage Empress Zetian".
    • Vietnam, under Chinese linguistic influence, also used gender-neutral titles. The older of the Trưng Ladies (or Trưng Sisters) were the only female "king" (vương, from Chinese wang) of Vietnam. Centuries later, Princess Chieu Thanh briefly inherited the throne as Emperor Ly Chieu Hoang (hoàng, from Chinese huang as in huangdi above) before being forced to give it up to her consort which started a new dynasty.
    • In feudal Korea prior to the Empire of Korea, Seondeok, Jindeok, and Jinseong of Silla were the only female "kings" (wang, also from Chinese). In modern contexts, they are also dubbed the titles "queen" (yeowang, literally "female wang") which is likely a translation of European words for "queen". This was a different title from the other word for "queen" in Korean, which was wangbi ("king's wife").
    • While under current law women are barred from the line of succession, six women (two of them reigning twice) 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.
  • 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 would guess that the surgeon might be the boy's mother.
  • King Cobras are so named because they're huge-king sized.
    • King cobras and kingsnakes get their common name because other snakes, including lesser cobras, make up the bulk of their diet. But for the king cobra, it balances out, as its specific name, O. hannah, is traditionally feminine when used as a first name.
  • Tamar of Georgia was known as King of Kings and Queen of Queens. In Georgian, the title mepe simply denotes a reigning monarch and is gender-neutral, but since sovereign monarchs have historically typically been male in Europe and Asia, it's usually translated as "king." When speaking English, Georgians often refer to her as King Tamar, both to highlight that she ruled in her own right, and because they learn mepe as "king."
  • In Christian denominations that ordain women to the priesthood, they are always referred to as "priest," never "priestess." On the other hand, they don't get called "Father," either (some go for "Mother," while others prefer "Pastor," "Reverend," or some other neutral form).
  • In the Philippines, titles like "King" and "Queen" used to be translated in Tagalog to "Hari", which originally referred to the highest ruler, male or female. Nowadays, it's "Hari" and "Reyna" respectively, the latter being a Spanish loanword.

Examples of gender inversions

    Anime and Manga 
  • In High School D×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. 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 matriarchal 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 Zelgadis, who had a crush on said prince.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 

  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Van Helsing features an Elite group of female vampires known as The Sisters. The male Scab is eventually allowed into their ranks (after being castrated) and is still called a Sister. Lampshaded in this exchange:
    Scab: I'm a sister now!
    Julius: (bewildered) Okay, well that's...weird .
    • Dracula is a woman. Her Co-Dragons are called Brides, despite one of them being a man.


    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 one of the Munchkin games, Grimm Tidings, there's a role card called "Princess" which can be taken by any player, and doesn't change in-game gender for the purposes of other cards.

    Video Games 
  • In the flash series Alice Is Dead, The Queen is always referred to as "he".
  • In Nefarious, the kingdoms, which are female-led principalities in all but name, have one example of a male ruler: Malachite, who took over after the overthrowing of his tyrant sister Princess Tephra. The sequel webcomic even has him referred to as a princess during a council meeting.
  • In Miitopia, none of the classes are gender-locked, meaning male characters can have the Princess class.
  • 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.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Played for Laughs during Flayn's S-rank. Since male Byleth inherited Sothis' power, doesn't that technically make him a male goddess?

    Visual Novels 
  • In Ikemen Revolution: Love and Magic in Wonderland, the commanding officers of each ruling army have the titles of playing card suits. Thus, the "Queen" is simply the King's second-in-command. The Queen of Hearts and Queen of Spades are thus both Bishounen love interests.

  • 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.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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. Megatron eventually convinced Inferno to refer to him as The Royalty, though with occasional slip-ups on Inferno's part.
  • 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 Pińata, 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, with Spike dealing with Twilight Sparkle's royal duties as Princess of Friendship while she catches up on her sleep.
  • The defictionalized version of The Magic Book of Spells from Star vs. the Forces of Evil reveals that the matriarchal kingdom of Mewni briefly had a single male ruler, as a result of him being the only offspring of the previous Queen (up until the birth of his younger sister Solaria). Thus, Jushtin the Uncalculated was also known as "the Boy Queen".
    • Miss Heinous unmasks "Princess Turdina" (Marco's princess alter ego) as a boy in order to undermine his role as an Icon of Rebellion. The princesses (being a group of nonconformists anyway) don't care and immediately christen him "Marco, Boy Princess".

    Real Life 
  • Sporus, a young freedman in first-century Rome, was a favorite of emperor Nero, who had Sporus castrated, stuck him into female dressing, and married him. Sporus was called Poppaea Sabina by some, for Nero's deceased wife whom he resembled greatly, and he wore the traditional empress regalia and was referred to as "empress" and "mistress".
  • 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 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).
  • The first man to be accredited as a midwife in Quebec noted publicly that he was proud to be a sage-femme (midwife, literally "wise woman") and didn't see a need for a masculine version of the title.

Blended and Other Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers: 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 view the masculine regnal names as merely a quirky tradition. 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 rule 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 feminine dress, commanded all to look upon her as shogun, and proceeded to rule in her own right until her death. While Iemitsu still expected that male rule would someday be restored, she died without a son and left the throne to one of her daughters, who bore no children and left it to her half-sister... who also bore only daughters. By the time Iemitsu's granddaughter came to the throne, it was clear that the Tokugawas simply could not expect to produce at least one surviving son per generation, and female-line female rule was formalized.
  • 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 Red River (1995), the country of Arzawa has a temporary occurrence 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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 Legend of Frenchie King: The titular character 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, but an outlaw in the Wild West who happens to be celebrated by some as the King of Thieves because of how successful she is. At most, the only thing she rules over is her gang, whose members can be counted on one hand.

  • 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 Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness the inhabitants of the planet Winter are gender-neutral most of the time but assume a male or female sex once a month. You can be either, and what you were last time has no effect on this time. Titles are either neutral or male; Le Guin said one of the reasons for that was she wanted to write the sentence "The King was pregnant."
  • Subverted in The Stormlight Archive when Rysn meets the king of the Reshi, who she thinks is a woman who uses the title of king as part of the Reshi's tendency to Troll outsiders by leading them to make incorrect assumptions. A later book suggests and Word of God confirms the king of the Reshi is a trans man, leaving it unclear if the Reshi really do call their leaders king regardless of gender as they implied, or if he just didn't feel like explaining this.
  • In Discworld, dwarfs have traditionally had mentioning gender to be a faux-pas. Therefore, female dwarfs appear and present as men (or, from their perspective, appear and present as dwarfs, which humans interprete as "men" because armour, battleaxe and beard says "male" to humans in the absence of other evidence). Therefore, it is quite likely that half of the Low Kings have been female, but no one knows. Rhys Rhysson makes this observation in the final speech at the end of Raising Steam, before openly declaring herself the first Low-Queen of the Dwarfs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 Brimstone Valley Mall, Mammon plays with this. He's one of the Seven Princes of Hell but is referred to by she/her and he/him pronouns interchangeably by everyone, implying she's genderfluid. She's the only one of the Princes to turn up in the first season, so it's unclear if "Prince" is a gender-neutral title in Hell, or if he just opts to use a masculine title.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Eon all Dwarven rulers are referred to as kings by humans and elves. The Dwarvish word for "king" is gender-neutral (in fact, the Dwarf language has no gender markers at all) 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Sink Central Intelligence (which is programmed to act as a valet) addresses the protagonist as "Sir", even when you play a female character. If you mention the obvious issue, it will apologize and explain that it was never programmed to address anyone in any other way, and it's hardcoded so it can't be changed.
  • 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. The one exception is in Dark Souls III, where the Sable Church of Londor is trying to create a Lord and Lady of Hollows.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: The ruler of the genderless fairies of Il Mheg is addressed by the feminine name "Titania" and the masculine title "King". As you learn when Feo Ul takes up the mantle, both of these terms come with the role and are not intended to have anything to do with gender.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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," as shown in the third game when Shepard talks to Matriarch Aethyta, an asari who is the former lover of Liara's mother Matriarch Benezia.
    Aethyta: Matriarch Benezia was... was her mother, and she doesn't know it, but I was her father.
    Shepard: You mean you were her other mother, right?
    Aethyta: No, I didn't pop her out. Hell, she's never even met me.
    Shepard: Sorry. If you were human, you'd both be called the mother, regardless of which one gave birth.
    Aethyta: Well, I'm not human, am I? Anthropocentric bag of dicks.
  • Toyosatomimi no Miko of Touhou Project is a gender-bent version of Crown Prince Shoutoku, and retains his (masculine) title. However, it isn't clear whether or not she was openly female.
  • 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.

  • Lampshaded and Averted in El Goonish Shive when a female knight from another world shows up, as Ashley calls her "Sir Lady Knight" and then apologizes for probably messing up the knight's title. Turns out it's "Dame".

    Western Animation 
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Lord Pain refers to 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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; for example, in Quebec, virtually all job titles have both masculine and feminine forms. (Notably, women such as Andrée Boucher and Valérie Plante, the first female mayors of Quebec City and Montreal respectively, have made a point of using the title mairesse.)
  • 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 "prostitute" 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). However in Finland Swedish "sjukskötare" is used for all nurses regardless of sex.
  • 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 Niccolň 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.
  • Ships can be referred to as female in the English language and are often named for famous individuals. This can lead to some odd phrases like "I've been to the USS Joseph P. Kennedy. We took this picture on her bridge."
    • The reverse can happen in some other languages. For example, in Russian all surface warships are male...even if the ship's name is Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya. Conversely, all submarines are female, even if they have names like Alexander Nevsky or Dmitri Donskoi. In France, all ships are referred to by the masculine article "le" even if they have feminine names. This is because the word for "ship" is masculine (le bateau).
  • The German word for "The Girl" is a gender-neutral word ("Das Mädchen")note  This has Unfortunate Implications to modern speakers, implying that young girls are property instead of a human being. When it is used to refer to a specific person, the word will retain neutral articles (Such as "The" and "A" in English) but will use the feminine third-person pronoun. Some speakers have taken to using the feminine "Die" instead of "Das" as well, though it does sound forced. This isn't a problem inherent to just the word girl, as most German words seem to have little logic behind their gender. Additionally, loan words are always masculine for no reason. In this case, a female robot (a loan word) would use masculine articles ("Der") but take feminine pronouns ("Sie") instead of masculine ones ("Er").
  • While most U.S. university fraternities and sororities are single-gender, there are a few that have gone co-ed yet still refer to their members as "brothers" or "sisters" respectively.


Video Example(s):


The King Of The Pirates

The pirate king is a woman. She's in charge, so she gets to be called whatever she wants.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SheIsTheKing

Media sources: