Heir presumptive

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An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent, male or female, or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question.[1][2] The position is however subject to law and/or conventions that may alter who is entitled to be heir presumptive.

Depending on the rules of the monarchy the heir presumptive might be the daughter of a monarch (if males take priority over females and the monarch has no sons), or the senior member of a collateral line (if the monarch is childless); the birth of a legitimate child to the monarch will displace the former heir presumptive by a new heir apparent or heir presumptive. It is not assumed that the monarch and his or her consort are incapable of having further children; the day before Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne her father was gravely ill and her mother was in her early 50s, but Elizabeth was still considered the heir presumptive rather than the heir apparent.

Heir presumptive, like heir apparent, is not a title or position per se. Rather, it is a general term for a person who holds a certain place in the order of succession. In some monarchies, the heir apparent bears, ipso facto, a specific title and rank (e.g., Denmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom), this also sometimes being the case for noble titleholders (e.g., Spain, United Kingdom), but the heir presumptive does not bear that title. In other monarchies (e.g., Monaco, Spain) the heir to the throne bears a specific title (i.e., "Hereditary Prince/Princess of Monaco", "Prince/Princess of Asturias") by right, regardless of whether she or he is heir apparent or heir presumptive.

An heir can fail to inherit for other reasons than displacement, for example by death or incapacity of the heir, abolition of the title, or changes to the rules of inheritance.

Simultaneous heirs presumptive[edit]

In the English and Welsh common law of inheritance, there is no seniority between sisters; where there is no son to inherit, any number of daughters share equally. Therefore, certain hereditary titles can have multiple simultaneous heirs presumptive. Since the title cannot be held by two people simultaneously, two daughters (without a brother) who inherit in this way would do so as co-parceners and before they inherit, both would be heirs presumptive. In these circumstances, the title would in fact be held in abeyance until one person represents the claim of both, or the claim is renounced by one or the other for herself and her heirs, or the abeyance is ended by the Crown. There are special procedures for handling doubtful or disputed cases.

Heirs presumptive as of 2017[edit]

Examples of past heirs presumptive who did not inherit thrones[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Heir Presumptive Law & Legal Definition". USLegal.com. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  2. ^ "Heir presumptive". Reverso.net. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  3. ^ "Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias". Retrieved 31 August 2014.