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A dowager is a widow who holds a title or property, or dower, derived from her deceased husband.[1] As an adjective, "dowager" usually appears in association with monarchical and aristocratic titles.

In loose popular usage, "dowager" as a stand-alone noun may be used to refer to any elderly widow, especially one who is wealthy or behaves with dignity.

Use in the United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the widow of a peer may continue to use the style she had during her husband's lifetime, e.g. "Countess of Loamshire", provided that his successor, if any, has no wife to bear the plain title. Otherwise she more properly prefixes either her forename or the word Dowager, e.g. "Jane, Countess of Loamshire" or "Dowager Countess of Loamshire" (In any case she would continue to be called "Lady Loamshire").

Monarchical dowagers[edit]

Dowager Queen is used in the United Kingdom and several other countries.

In reference to the fallen Russian imperial family and the Monarchy of China, the term "Dowager Empress" was used in English to describe the wife of a deceased emperor.[citation needed]


Historical and current[edit]

In media and entertainment[edit]