The body of princes; princedom.--Joseph Worcester's Dictionary of the English Language, 1881
A Prince Among Princes
Today is the birthday of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). Until the late seventeenth century, Elizabeth and other female monarchs were often curiously referred to as "princes" in conversation and literature. Regarding this queen, for example, Edmund Geste's Sermon Upon Repentance and Faith (1560) exhorted listeners, saying, "Let us low our prince ... thinking, sayeng, or doyng [nothing] that may turne to hyr dyshonor, prayeng all way for hyr long and prosperus reigne." In 1562, Elizabeth herself commented on her half-sister in the pre-amble to her Act 5, writing of "the reigns of the late princes, King Philip and Queen Mary." In 1650, Sir Robert Stapylton translated Famiano Strada's History of the Low Countrey Wares (1647), stating at one point, "They had now been governed by female princes for forty years together." A line from Henry Willobie's verse Avisa, or the True Picture of a Modest Maid (1594) even mentioned, "Cleopatra, prince of Nile."