Prince Philip, the husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, died on April 9, just two months shy of his 100th birthday. Concurrently a prince, a duke, an earl, a baron, a knight of multiple orders, and even lord high admiral, he was usually styled as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In China, the most common title conferred on the consort of an imperial princess, the daughter of an emperor, was fuma . It is an abbreviated form of fuma duwei , or the commander of the reserve horses accompanying a chariot or carriage. In other words, a commandant escort. In earlier times, fuma was an honorific commonly conferred on imperial in-laws and the sons and grandsons of grand noblemen. By the 5th century, it had become a formal title for the husbands of princesses. In the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), the title was changed to the Manchurian efu . Unlike monarchies in Europe and other regions, imperial China did not allow for female succession to the throne. For this reason, there were no titles pertaining to the husband of a female monarch. There was one historical anomaly, from AD690 to 705, when Empress Wu Zetian reigned as a sovereign in her own right. In later dynasties, her reign was sometimes portrayed as an aberration that ran counter to the “natural”, male-dominated order of the universe. Technically, Wu had two husbands. She was a minor consort, a cairen or “lady of talents” of Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty. Soon after he died, in AD649, she became her stepson Emperor Gaozong’s zhaoyi or “lady of bright deportment”, a high-ranking consort. In AD655, she became empress. After Gaozong died, in AD683, Wu remained a widow. This does not mean, however, that she did not get to enjoy the company of gentlemen. One must remember that China in the Tang dynasty was a much more tolerant and permissive society than subsequent periods and even modern times. The denial and suppression of female sexuality in China came later. Like many high-born women of that time, the widowed Wu had several male lovers known as mianshou , a name that referred to the beauty of their faces and hair, though these probably weren’t their only attributes. Wu’s first mianshou was a handsome man called Feng Xiaobao, who later had his name changed to Xue Huaiyi. For decency’s sake, she had him ordained as a Buddhist monk to facilitate his unfettered access to the palace, but Xue fell out of favour when the empress found herself a new lover in imperial physician Shen Nanqiu. Xue threw an unwise tantrum and the empress had him killed. When Wu was 73, she had a pair of brothers, Zhang Changzong and Zhang Yizhi as her lovers, who in time took advantage of their favoured status to influence affairs of state and appoint their family members to high positions. The Zhang brothers were executed in the immediate aftermath of the Shenlong coup, in AD705, when a bedridden Wu was forced to abdicate in favour of her son. Present-day members of royal families around the world appear almost puritan in comparison to their Chinese counterparts more than 1,300 years ago, probably because they are, for better or worse, held to a higher standard than ordinary people. Still, the 73-year marriage between Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth sets a rare example not only in the present age, but for all time.