for people who might be interested:
"nữ hoàng" (or nữ vương) and "hoàng hậu" are both translated as queen, but they are not actually the same.
- nữ hoàng/nữ vương is the sovereign, the head of state, in an empire/monarchy. her husband is a công tước (duke/prince).
- hoàng hậu is the emperor/ king's official wife, the queen consort. her husband is a hoàng đế/vua (emperor/king) and his concubines are called phi tần/hoàng phi (imperial/royal consorts).
This distinction is confusing me, sorry. The wife of a duke, or the female ruler of a duchy, would be a duchess. However a duchy is not an empire, it's a small state, either independent or vassal of an empire.
If "nữ hoàng" is translated as "queen" it could indeed refer to the head of state in an empire, but then she would not be married to a duke. On the other hand if it were translated "duchess" she could be married to a duke, yet she couldn't be the ruler of an empire.
We have an example in our current times of a queen married to a duke (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip), but he is not called a duke in virtue of being married to a queen, he is called a duke for his birthright and called a prince as the spouse of a female regent.
I guess maybe it's just the use of "duke" that is throwing me off and it simply is that "nữ hoàng" is a "queen" in the sense of the actual ruler of a monarchy, whereas "hoàng hậu" is a "queen" in the sense of the spouse of a king. Would that be correct?
You are right, I definitely oversimplified things with my example on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Royal titles are quite a complex subject after all.
Anyway, I did some more research and it seems that "công tước" is usually translated as "duke", so you were correct on that. Yet for me "duke" still doesn't fit the role of "queen's husband" and would better be described as "ruler of a duchy", so I wonder what the word actually means in Vietnamese. After all, I think social structures might have been somewhat different in medieval Asia than they were in medieval Europe, so there might not be a direct correspondence of terminology.
I went as far as consulting the Vietnamese Wikipedia ( https://vi.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%B4ng_t%C6%B0%E1%BB%9Bc ), but it appears that sadly my understanding of the language is still too unripe to successfully tackle a full article on that website without spending many more hours than I can afford to.
I'm sorry I'm making you confused. as I read the link you provided, I got myself confused as well..... damned me.
there are terms that were right next to "nữ hoàng" and "nữ vương" and that I didn't think of: hoàng tế, vương tế, vương phu, vương quân, which are translated as prince consort, the empress regnant/queen regnant's husband. but as I read furthermore, they seem to be applicable to European royalties only.