early 15c., "partner" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French consort "colleague, partner," consorte "wife" (14c.), from Latin consortem (nominative consors) "partner, comrade; brother, sister," in Medieval Latin, "a wife," noun use of adjective meaning "having the same lot, of the same fortune," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + sors "a share, lot" (from PIE root *ser- (2) "to line up").
Sense of "husband or wife" ("partner in marriage") is from 1630s in English. A prince consort (1837) is a prince who is the husband of a queen but himself has no royal authority (the most notable being Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria; the initial proposal in Parliament in 1840 was to call him king-consort); queen consort is attested from 1667. Related: Consortial.
The husband of a reigning queen has no powers, he is not king unless an act of parliament makes him so. Philip of Spain, Mary's husband, bore the title of king, Anne's husband was simply Prince George of Denmark. Queen Victoria's husband was simply Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha until 1857 when the queen conferred on him the title of Prince Consort. [F.W. Maitland, "The Constitutional History of England, 1908]
"company of musicians," 1580s, noun of action from consort (v.), by confusion with concert.
"associate, unite in company," 1580s, from consort (n.). Related: Consorted; consorting. Since the earliest record it has been confused in form and sense with concert.
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