When a woman of title is widowed and the heir is either married or a female, she takes on the title of Dowager. For example, if the King of Raamsfeld were to die and his heir was married, the Queen Consort would be titled Dowager Queen of Raamsfeld. If the heir is unmarried, the widow would maintain her title of Queen Consort. Widows of Kings and Emperors may also fashion their title as Queen Mother or Empress Mother, respectfully.
In Making of an Empress, Madeline, Stelaphina’s mother was never an Empress Consort, she should have retained the title of Imperial Princess. Instead, upon Frederick’s death Stela fashioned her Empress Mother.
Dowagers maintain title and privilege after their husband’s death. Though they lose any holdings that might be transferred to the new title bearer. Typically their child would allow them to continue to live on the estate which they previous held.
The title has also been associated with wealthy and powerful older women who never married.