Anyone who spends time in an 19th or 18th century cemetery is going to find a number of "consorts."
The more global usage today is for the husbands and wives of kings and queens or nobility. As shared, Prince Albert is Queen ELizabeth's "Prince Consort" because by marrying the queen does not make him king.
Or when Prince of Wales Charles becomes king, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall becomes the Princess Consort.
For a long time, I thought that "consort" was just a nicer way of saying "wife" on a grave stone. And I think it largely applies.
However, it gets messy in some plots (no pun intended), and my unsupported theory is that it might be reference to the "wife" of a man who could not "remarry" after divorce such as an Anglican, etc., etc.
"Common Law" marriage is just as "binding" as a "civil marriage," and takes a "divorce," "etc," to undo (although individual state's common law provisions do vary...)
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt
-Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
-Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
-Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
-Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.