List of heirs to the Spanish throne

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From the personal union of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon until the accession of the first Bourbon monarch in 1700, the heir to the Spanish throne was the person closest to the Spanish monarch according to the male-preference cognatic primogeniture. From the accession of Philip of France as Philip V until the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830, the heir to the Spanish throne was the person closest to the Spanish monarch according to the Salic law.[1]

The heir, whether heir apparent or heir presumptive, was often granted the title of Prince of Asturias.

Heirs to the Catholic Monarchs[edit]

Joanna the Mad with her children, one of them being her heir apparent, Charles.

Isabella I and Ferdinand V of Castile were already parents at the time of their accession in 1474. Their heir presumptive was their daughter,

  • Isabella, who was created Princess of Asturias. In 1478, she was displaced by the birth of a brother,
  • John, who was created Prince of Asturias. Ferdinand V of Castile ascended the throne of Aragon as Ferdinand II in 1479, making John the heir apparent to the Aragonese throne as well as the Prince of Girone. He died childless in 1497, leaving his wife, Margaret of Austria, pregnant. She gave birth to a stilborn daughter, at which point John's older sister,
  • Isabella, became heir presumptive to the Castilian throne again and heir presumptive to the Aragonese throne for the first time. She had married King Manuel I of Portugal. Upon her death in 1498, their son,
  • Miguel de la Paz, became heir presumptive. Already Prince of Portugal, Miguel was created Prince of Asturias and Girona as well. The heir to the thrones of Portugal, Castile and Aragon died in infancy. After his death, his aunt
  • Joanna became heir presumptive. She had married Philip of Austria and had had children by the time she became heiress.
  • John became heir apparent to the Crown of Aragon and created Prince of Girona. After his death his half-sister

Upon Isabella I's death in 1504, Joanna ascended the throne of Castile along with her husband, Philip I. Upon Ferdinand II's death in 1516, the widowed Joanna ascended the throne of Aragon as well.

Heirs to Joanna[edit]

Joanna was already mother of two sons and a daughter at the moment of her accession. She co-ruled with her husband, Philip I, until his death in 1506. Her heir apparent at the moment of her accession was her son,

In 1516, Joanna's father, Ferdinand II, died. Joanna and Charles ascended the throne of Aragon together as co-rulers and Charles was recognized as Joanna's co-ruler in Castile as well. Upon Joanna's death in 1555, Charles became sole ruler.

Heirs to Charles I[edit]

Charles I became King of Castile and Aragon in 1516, but he did not become sole ruler until his mother's death in 1555. During his reign, the Spanish kingdoms were in personal union with the Holy Roman Empire, Archduchy of Austria, Kingdom of Germany and Seventeen Provinces. When Charles I became sole ruler, his son,

  • Philip, King of England and Ireland, became heir apparent to the Spanish thrones and Prince of Asturias.

Charles I abdicated in 1556. King Philip of England ascended the Castilian throne as Philip II and Aragonese throne as Philip I.

Heirs to Philip II[edit]

Isabella Clara Eugenia was twice heir presumptive to the Spanish throne, but never succeeded.

Philip was already father at the moment of his accession. His heir apparent was his son,

  • Charles, who was created Prince of Asturias. He died childless in 1568, leaving his sister,
  • Isabella Clara Eugenia, as the heir presumptive. In 1571 she was displaced by the birth of her half-brother,
  • Ferdinand, who was created Prince of Asturias. He died as a child in 1578, leaving his brother
  • Diego as heir apparent. He died as a child in 1582, making his brother
  • Philip heir apparent and Prince of Asturias.

Heirs to Philip III[edit]

Philip III was unmarried and childless at the moment of his accession in 1598. His eldest sister,

  • Isabella Clara Eugenia, was the heir presumptive until the birth of Philip's daughter,
  • Anne in 1601. She was heir presumptive until her brother,
  • Philip, replaced her in 1605. He became heir apparent upon his birth and later Prince of Asturias.

During Philip III's reign, the Spanish kingdoms were in personal union with Portugal and the Seventeen Provinces.

In 1615, Anne became Queen consort of France and renounced her rights to the Spanish throne as part of her marriage contract.

Heirs to Philip IV[edit]

Maria Theresa and her son Louis, both of whom were considered heirs to the Spanish throne at some point.
Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I fought for the Spanish crown in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Philip IV ascended the thrones of Spain, Portugal and the Seventeen Provinces in 1621. He had been married for six years at the moment of his accession but still childless. Therefore, Philip's brother,

  • Charles, became heir presumptive upon Philip's accession. Charles was first replaced by Philip's daughter,
  • Maria Margaret. Maria Margaret, heir presumptive, died shortly after birth in 1621 and
  • Charles became heir presumptive again. In 1623, he was again replaced by a niece,
  • Margaret Maria Catherine. The new heir presumptive died a little over a month after her birth and
  • Charles became heir presumptive again. Two years later, almost on the same date, Charles was replaced by another daughter of Philip,
  • Maria Eugenia. Maria Eugenia was heir presumptive until her death in July 1627.
  • Charles became heir presumptive again and remained so until October 30 of the same year, when
  • Isabella Maria Theresa was born to the King. She died 24 hours after birth, leaving her uncle
  • Charles heir presumptive again. Charles would remain the heir presumptive until the birth of his nephew,
  • Balthasar Charles, in 1629. Balthasar Charles immediately became heir apparent and later Prince of Asturias. He remained heir apparent until his death in 1646. His sister,
  • Maria Theresa, became heir presumptive. She remained heir presumptive until the birth of her brother,
  • Philip Prospero, in 1657. Philip Prospero was heir apparent until his death in 1661, leaving the succession unclear for five days until the birth of his brother,
  • Charles, who was created Prince of Asturias.

Philip Prospero died on 1 November 1661. The heir presumptive between his death on November 1 and the birth of his brother Charles on November 6 was unclear. During that period, the oldest living child of Philip IV was Queen Maria Theresa of France. However, she had renounced her rights to the Spanish thrones upon her marriage to King Louis XIV of France. On the other hand, the renunciation and its validity were made conditional upon the payment of a large dowry. The dowry was never paid and it was argued that Maria Theresa therefore never legally renounced her rights. If Maria Theresa's renunciation was nevertheless valid, the heir presumptive during those five days was her younger sister Margaret Theresa.

Philip IV died in 1665, leaving testament in which he had given preference to his younger daughter, Holy Roman Empress Margaret Theresa, and her descendants regarding the succession to the Spanish thrones. In his will, he also stipulated that Margaret Theresa and her descendants should be followed by her husband, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, and his descendants because Leopold I was not only a member of the House of Habsburg, but also son of Philip IV's sister, Maria Anna.

Heirs to Charles II[edit]

Charles II was four years old when he succeeded his father on the thrones of Spain. The heir presumptive was either his older half-sister, Queen Maria Theresa of France, whose renunciation was considered invalid, or his older sister, Holy Roman Empress Margaret Theresa, who had been designated heir presumptive by Charles's father.

According to the will of Philip IV and if Maria Theresa's renunciation was valid, the heir presumptive to Charles II at the moment of his accession was his older sister,

  • Margaret Theresa. Upon her death in 1673, her daughter,
  • Maria Antonia, became heir presumptive to the Spanish thrones according to the will of Philip IV. She died in 1692, leaving her two-months-old son,
  • Joseph Ferdinand, Duke of Bavaria, as heir presumptive. He was created Prince of Asturias. The succession rights of Joseph Ferdinand were advocated by his great-grandmother, Dowager Queen Mariana of Spain. However, he died one year before Charles II.

Upon the death of Joseph Ferdinand, the line of descent of Holy Roman Empress Margaret Theresa went extinct. Charles II wished to be succeeded by a descendant of his older half-sister, Maria Theresa, who had died. The heir according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture was his nephew, Maria Theresa's son Louis. However, Charles II wished to avoid personal union between France and Spain. Therefore, he designated Louis's younger son,

  • Philip, Duke of Anjou, as heir presumptive.

While Philip of France was the rightful heir according to Charles II's will, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I was the rightful heir according to Philip IV's will. Leopold was not willing to abandon his rights and decided to pursue his claim, sparking the War of the Spanish Succession.

Heirs to Philip V[edit]

Philip V was recognized as heir presumptive by Charles II.

Philip V ascended the Spanish thrones on the death of his grand-uncle, Charles II, in 1700. The War of the Spanish Succession was concluded in his favour. Philip V was the first Spanish monarch of the House of Bourbon. He changed the Spanish laws of succession to the throne, replacing the traditional male-preference cognatic primogeniture with agnatic primogeniture (also known as Salic law) which prohibited women from ascending the Spanish throne. During Philip V's reign, the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon merged into a single state after centuries of personal union. Philip V was forced to renounce his rights to the French throne as a part of the Treaty of Utrecht.

Philip V was unmarried and childless at the moment of his accession. According to the will of Charles II, Philip's younger brother,

  • Charles, was heir presumptive until the birth of Philip's son,
  • Louis.

In 1724, Philip V abdicated in favour of Louis.

Heirs to Louis[edit]

Louis was childless when he ascended the Spanish throne. His brother,

  • Ferdinand, became his heir presumptive and was created Prince of Asturias. However, it was decied that Louis's father,
  • Philip, should become heir presumptive instead of Ferdinand due to his young age.

Louis died childless after only seven months of reigning and his father Philip reascended the throne of Spain.

Heirs to Philip V[edit]

Ferdinand VI was passed over in succession to his brother, but eventually succeeded his father.

Philip V's heir at the moment of his second accession was his oldest surviving son,

Upon Philip V's death in 1746, Ferdinand became King of Spain.

Heirs to Ferdinand VI[edit]

Ferdinand VI was childless. During his entire reign, his brother,

  • Charles, King of Naples and Sicily, was heir presumptive.

Charles ascended the Spanish throne upon Ferdinand's death in 1759.

Heirs to Charles III[edit]

Charles III was already a father at the moment of his accession. His heir apparent during his entire reign was his second son,

Upon his death in 1788, Charles III was succeeded by his son and namesake.

Heirs to Charles IV[edit]

Charles IV was already a father at the moment of his accession. His heir apparent during his entire reign was his son,

In 1808, Charles IV abdicated in Ferdinand's favour.

Heirs to Ferdinand VII[edit]

Infante Carlos, Count of Molina, unsuccessfully claimed the Spanish crown on the basis of Salic law.

Ferdinand was childless at the moment of his accession. His brother,

  • Charles, was the heir presumptive.

However, Ferdinand was forced to abdicate in favour of Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Emperor Napoleon I of France. After Joseph's short reign which was ended by his abdication in 1813, Ferdinand VII resumed the throne and

  • Charles became the heir presumptive again. However, Ferdinand issued Pragmatic Sanction in March 1830, which replaced the Salic law introduced by Philip V with the traditional male-preference cognatic primogeniture. Thanks to the new succession rules, Charles was replaced by Ferdinand's eldest daughter,
  • Isabella, who became heir presumptive upon her birth in October 1830 and was created Princess of Asturias.

The decision to repeal the Salic law proved to be very unpopular. Ferdinand VII died in 1833 and Isabella was proclaimed queen as Isabella II, but Charles considered himself the rightful king. The result of the decision were Carlist Wars.

Heirs to Isabella II[edit]

Isabella II was three years old when she ascended the throne of Spain. Her heir presumptive was her younger sister,

  • Louisa Ferdinanda. Louisa Ferdinanda was replaced by Isabella's son,
  • Ferdinand, who died a few hours after his birth in the autumn of 1850. His aunt,
  • Louisa Ferdinanda, became heir presumptive again. However, a year later, the Queen gave birth to her namesake,
  • Isabella, who was created Princess of Asturias. She was not heir presumptive for long. In 1857, the Queen gave birth to
  • Alfonso, who replaced his older sister, becoming heir apparent and Prince of Asturias.

Isabella II was induced to abdicate in 1870. Amadeus of Savoy was elected new monarch.

Heirs to Amadeus[edit]

During Amadeus's short reign, the heir apparent was his son,

Amadeus abdicated in 1873 and the First Spanish Republic was proclaimed.

Heirs to Alfonso XII[edit]

Mercedes, Princess of Asturias, was heir presumptive to the Spanish throne for all 24 years of her life. She would've become monarch of Spain had her youngest sibling, born after her father's death, not been male.

The First Spanish Republic did not last long. In 1874, the eldest son of Isabella II was proclaimed king as Alfonso XII. He was unmarried and without legitimate children. His heir presumptive was his older sister,

  • Isabella, Princess of Asturias and Countess of Girgenti. She was replaced by Alfonso's daughter,
  • Mercedes, who was born in 1880 and created Princess of Asturias. In 1885, Alfonso XII's wife, Maria Christina of Austria, became pregnant with
  • a son.

When Alfonso XII died, his widow was left pregnant. It was decided that Mercedes, Princess of Asturias, wouldn't be proclaimed queen because of the possibility that Alfonso's widow carried a son.

Heirs to Alfonso XIII[edit]

A posthumous son was indeed born to Alfonso XII and he immediately succeeded his father as Alfonso XIII. His sister,

  • Mercedes, Princess of Asturias, became his heir presumptive. She remained heir presumptive until her death in 1904.
  • Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, succeeded his mother as heir presumptive to the throne of Spain. However, he was replaced by his cousin and namesake,
  • Alfonso, son of Alfonso XIII, who was born in 1907. He was created Prince of Asturias but renounced his succession rights in 1933, due to his intended unequal marriage. His brother,
  • Jaime, became the new heir apparent. Jaime himself renounced his succession rights few days later, leaving his brother,
  • Juan as heir apparent.

Monarchy was abolished in 1931. Upon Alfonso XIII's death in 1941, Juan succeeded him as the titular King of Spain using the title of Count of Barcelona.

In 1947, monarchy was restored but the throne remained vacant. In 1969, Francisco Franco recognized

  • Juan Carlos, son of Juan, Count of Barcelona, as heir apparent to the throne of Spain.

Heirs to Juan Carlos[edit]

Juan Carlos was father of two daughters and a son when he ascended the Spanish throne in 1975. Since his accession, his youngest child and only son,

  • Felipe, has been heir apparent to the Spanish throne.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blinkhorn, Martin (1975). Carlism and crisis in Spain, 1931-1939. CUP Archive. ISBN 0-521-20729-0.