Heir apparent

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An heir apparent[note 1] is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.

Today these terms most commonly describe heirs to hereditary titles (e.g. titles of nobility) or offices, especially when only inheritable by a single person. Most monarchies refer to the heir apparent of their thrones with the descriptive term of crown prince or crown princess, but they may also be accorded with a more specific substantive title:[note 2] such as Prince of Orange in the Netherlands, Duke of Brabant in Belgium, Prince of Asturias in Spain (also granted to heirs presumptive), or Prince of Wales in the United Kingdom; former titles include Dauphin in the Kingdom of France, and Tsesarevich in Imperial Russia.

The term is also used metaphorically to indicate an expected successor to any position of power, e.g. a political or corporate leader.

This article primarily describes the term heir apparent in a hereditary system regulated by laws of primogeniture—it may be less applicable to cases where a monarch has a say in naming the heir (performed either while alive, e.g. crowning the heir as a rex iunior, or through the monarch's will).

Heir apparent versus heir presumptive[edit]

Throngs before the Imperial Palace in Japan awaiting the appearance of the Crown Prince Hirohito for the recent proclamation of his official recognition as the heir apparent to the Japanese Imperial ThroneNew York Times, 1916.

In a hereditary system governed by some form of primogeniture, an heir apparent is easily identifiable as the person whose position as first in the line of succession to a title or office is secure, regardless of future births. An heir presumptive, by contrast, can always be "bumped down" in the succession by the birth of somebody more closely related in a legal sense (according to that form of primogeniture) to the current title-holder.

The clearest example occurs in the case of a childless bearer of a hereditary title that can only be inherited by one person. If at any time the title bearer were to produce children, those children would rank ahead of any person who had formerly been heir presumptive.

Many legal systems assume childbirth is always possible regardless of age or health. In such circumstances a person may be, in a practical sense, the heir apparent but still, legally speaking, heir presumptive. Indeed, when Queen Victoria succeeded her uncle King William IV, the wording of the proclamation even gave as a caveat:

...saving the rights of any issue of his late Majesty King William IV, which may be born of his late Majesty's consort.

This provided for the possibility that William's wife, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, was pregnant at the moment of his death, since such a posthumous child, regardless of its sex, would have displaced Victoria from the throne.[1] Adelaide was 44 at the time, so pregnancy was possible even if unlikely.

Daughters in male-preference primogeniture[edit]

Daughters (and their lines) may inherit titles that descend according to male-preference primogeniture, but only in default of sons (and their heirs). That is, both female and male offspring have the right to a place somewhere in the order of succession, but when it comes to what that place is, a female will rank behind her brothers regardless of their ages or her age.

Thus, normally, even an only daughter will not be heir apparent, since at any time a brother might be born who, though younger, would assume that position. Hence, she is an heir presumptive. For example, Queen Elizabeth II was heir presumptive during the reign of her father, King George VI, because at any stage up to his death, George could have fathered a legitimate son.

Women as heirs apparent[edit]

In a system of absolute primogeniture that disregards gender, female heirs apparent occur. As succession to titles, positions, or offices in the past most often favoured males, females considered to be an heir apparent were rare. Absolute primogeniture was not practised by any modern monarchy for succession to their thrones until the late twentieth century, with Sweden being the first to adopt absolute primogeniture in 1980 and other Western European monarchies following suit.

Since the adoption of absolute primogeniture by contemporary Western European monarchies, examples of female heirs apparent include Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, and Princess Elisabeth of Belgium; they are, respectively, the oldest children of Kings Carl XVI Gustaf, Willem-Alexander, and Philippe. Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway is heir apparent to her father, who is heir apparent to the Norwegian throne, and Victoria herself has a female heir apparent in her oldest child, Princess Estelle. Victoria was not heir apparent from birth (in 1977), but gained the status in 1980 following a change in the Swedish Act of Succession. Her younger brother Carl Philip (born 1979) was thus heir apparent for a few months (and is a rare example of an heir apparent losing this status without a death occurring).

In 2015, pursuant to the 2011 Perth Agreement, the Commonwealth realms changed the rules of succession to the 16 thrones of Elizabeth II to absolute primogeniture, except for male heirs born before the Perth Agreement. The effects are not likely to be felt for many years; the first two heirs at the time of the agreement (Charles, Prince of Wales, and his son Prince William, Duke of Cambridge) were already eldest born children, and in 2013 William's first-born son Prince George of Cambridge became the next apparent successor.

But even in legal systems that apply male-preference primogeniture, female heirs apparent are by no means impossible: if a male heir apparent dies leaving no sons but at least one daughter, then the eldest daughter would replace her father as heir apparent to whatever throne or title is concerned, but only when it has become clear that the widow of the deceased is not pregnant. Then, as the representative of her father's line she would assume a place ahead of any more distant relatives. Such a situation has not to date occurred with the English or British throne; several times an heir apparent has died, but each example has either been childless or left a son or sons. However, there have been several female heirs apparent to British peerages (e.g. Frances Ward, 6th Baroness Dudley, and Henrietta Wentworth, 6th Baroness Wentworth).

In one special case, however, England and Scotland had a female heir apparent. The Revolution settlement that established William and Mary as joint monarchs in 1689 only gave the power to continue the succession through issue to Mary II, elder daughter of the previous king, James II. William, by contrast, was to reign for life only, and his (hypothetical) children by a wife other than Mary would be placed in his original place (as Mary's first cousin) in the line of succession – after Mary's younger sister Anne. Thus, although after Mary's death William continued to reign, he had no power to beget direct heirs,[2] and Anne became the heir apparent for the remainder of William's reign. She eventually succeeded him as Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Displacement of heirs apparent[edit]

The position of an heir apparent is normally unshakable: it can be assumed they will inherit. Sometimes, however, extraordinary events—such as the death or the deposition of the parent—intervene.

People who lost heir apparent status[edit]

  • Al-Mufawwid on 30 April 892, al-Muwaffad was removed from the succession (heir apparent) completely,[3] and when al-Mu'tamid died in October 892, he was succeeded by Al-Mu'tadid.[4]
  • Parliament deposed James Francis Edward Stuart, the infant son of King James II & VII (of England and Scotland respectively) whom James II was raising as a Catholic, as the King's legal heir apparent—declaring that James had, de facto, abdicated—and offered the throne to James II's oldest daughter, the young prince's much older Protestant half-sister, Mary (along with her husband, Prince William of Orange). When the exiled King James died in 1701, his Jacobite supporters proclaimed the exiled Prince James Francis Edward as King James III of England and James VIII of Scotland; but neither he nor his descendants were ever successful in their bids for the throne.
  • Crown Prince Gustav (later known as Gustav, Prince of Vasa), son of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, lost his place when his father was deposed and replaced by Gustav IV Adolf's aged uncle, the Duke Carl, who became Charles XIII of Sweden in 1809. The aged King Charles XIII did not have surviving sons, and Prince Gustav was the only living male of the whole dynasty (besides his deposed father), but the prince was never regarded as heir of Charles XIII, although there were factions in the Riksdag and elsewhere in Sweden who desired to preserve him, and, in the subsequent constitutional elections, supported his election as his grand-uncle's successor. Instead, the government proceeded to have a new crown prince elected (which was the proper constitutional action, if no male heir was left in the dynasty), and the Riksdag elected first August, Prince of Augustenborg, and then, after August's death, the Prince of Ponte Corvo (Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who acceded as Charles XIV John in 1818). The two lines united later, when Charles XIV John's great-grandson Crown Prince Gustaf (who acceded as Gustaf V in 1907) married Gustav IV Adolf's great-granddaughter Victoria of Baden, who became Crown Princess of Sweden. Thus, from Gustav VI Adolf onwards, the kings of Sweden are direct descendants of both Gustav IV Adolf and his son's replacement as crown prince, Charles XIV John.
  • Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, at his birth in 1979, was heir apparent to the throne of Sweden. Less than eight months later, a change in that country's succession laws instituted absolute primogeniture, and Carl Philip was supplanted as heir apparent by his elder sister Victoria.
  • Muqrin bin Abdulaziz became Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in January 2015 upon the death of his half-brother King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the accession of another half-brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to the Saudi throne. In April of that year, Salman removed Muqrin as Crown Prince, replacing him with their nephew Muhammad bin Nayef. Muhammad bin Nayef himself was later replaced as Crown Prince by the king's son Mohammad bin Salman.

Breaching legal qualification of heirs apparent[edit]

In some jurisdictions, an heir apparent can automatically lose that status by breaching certain constitutional rules. Today, for example:

  • A British heir apparent would lose this status if he or she became a Catholic. This is the only religion-based restriction on the heir-apparent. (Previously, marrying a Catholic also equated to losing this status, however, in October 2011, the governments of the then-16 Commonwealth realms — now 15, of which Queen Elizabeth II is monarch — agreed to remove the restriction on marriage to a Catholic. All of the Commonwealth realms subsequently passed legislation to implement the change, which fully took effect in March 2015.)
  • Swedish Crown Princes and Crown Princesses would lose heir apparent status, according to the Act of Succession, if they married without approval of the monarch and the Government, abandoned the "pure Evangelical faith", or accepted another throne without the approval of the Riksdag.
  • Dutch Princes and Princesses of Orange would lose status as heir to the throne if they married without the approval of the States-General, or simply renounced the right.
  • Spanish Princes and Princesses of Asturias would lose status if they married against the express prohibition of the monarch and the Cortes.
  • Belgian Dukes and Duchesses of Brabant would lose heir apparent status if they married without the consent of the monarch, or became monarch of another country.
  • Danish Crown Princes and Princesses would lose status if they married without the permission of the monarch. When the monarch grants permission for a dynast to enter marriage, he may set conditions that must be met for the dynasts and/or their children to gain or maintain a place in the line of succession; this also applies for Crown Princes and Princesses.

Current heirs apparent[edit]

Country Picture Name of Heir apparent Title Date of Birth (age) Relation to Monarch
 Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa at the Pentagon May 10 2012.jpg Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Crown Prince of Bahrain,
Deputy King
(1969-10-21) October 21, 1969 (age 52) eldest son
 Belgium Prinses Elisabeth op 21 juli 2017.png Elisabeth Princess,
Duchess of Brabant
(2001-10-25) October 25, 2001 (age 20) eldest child
 Bhutan Royal Prince of Bhutan (cropped).jpg Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Dragon Prince of Bhutan,
Druk Gyalsey of Bhutan
(2016-02-05) February 5, 2016 (age 5) eldest child
 Brunei Al-Muhtadee Billah.jpg Al-Muhtadee Billah Crown Prince of Brunei Darussalam (1974-02-17) February 17, 1974 (age 47) eldest son
 Denmark Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark in 2018.jpg Frederik Crown Prince of Denmark,
Count of Monpezat
(1968-05-26) May 26, 1968 (age 53) eldest child
 Jordan Crown Prince Hussein.jpg Hussein bin Abdullah Crown Prince of Jordan (1994-06-28) June 28, 1994 (age 27) eldest son
 Kuwait الشيخ مشعل الأحمد الجابر الصباح.jpg Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Sheikh,
Crown Prince of Kuwait
(1940-09-27) September 27, 1940 (age 81) younger brother
 Lesotho Sin foto.svg Lerotholi Seeiso Crown Prince of Lesotho (2007-04-18) April 18, 2007 (age 14) only son
 Liechtenstein Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein.jpg Alois Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein, Count of Rietberg (1968-06-11) June 11, 1968 (age 53) eldest son
 Luxembourg Guillaume av Luxemburg.jpg Guillaume Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (1981-11-11) November 11, 1981 (age 40) eldest child
 Monaco Sin foto.svg Jacques Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux (2014-12-10) December 10, 2014 (age 6) only legitimate son
 Morocco Moulay Hassan in 2018.jpg Moulay Hassan Crown Prince of Morocco (2003-05-08) May 8, 2003 (age 18) only son
 Netherlands Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria (2019).jpg Catharina-Amalia Princess of Orange (2003-12-07) December 7, 2003 (age 18) eldest child
 Norway Crown Prince Haakon of Norway 2012-03-26 001.jpg Haakon Magnus Crown Prince of Norway (1973-07-20) July 20, 1973 (age 48) only son
 Oman Sin foto.svg Theyazin bin Haitham Sayyid,
Crown Prince of Oman
(1990-08-21) August 21, 1990 (age 31) eldest son
 Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.jpg Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (1985-08-31) August 31, 1985 (age 36) child
 Sweden Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden in 2018.jpg Victoria Crown Princess of Sweden,
Duchess of Västergötland
(1977-07-14) July 14, 1977 (age 44) eldest child
 Tonga Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala at the festivities of his parents coronation.jpg Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala Crown Prince of Tonga (1985-09-17) September 17, 1985 (age 36) eldest son
 United Kingdom
and 14 other Commonwealth realms
Charles Prince of Wales.jpg Charles Prince of Wales,
Duke of Cornwall,
Duke of Rothesay,
Duke of Edinburgh
(1948-11-14) November 14, 1948 (age 73) eldest son

Heirs apparent who never inherited the throne[edit]

Heirs apparent who predeceased the monarch[edit]

Heir apparent Lived Heir of Cause of death
Setka Died before 2575 BC Djedefre Unknown causes
Kawab Died before 2566 BC Khufu
Yanassi Died before 1580 BC Khyan
Ahmose-ankh Died before 1525 BC Ahmose I
Amenemhat Died c. 1455 BC Thutmose III Plague
Amenmose Died before 1493 BC Thutmose I Unknown causes
Amenhotep Died before 1401 BC Amenhotep II
Thutmose Died before 1353 BC Amenhotep III
Nakhtmin Died before 1323 BC Ay
Amun-her-khepeshef Died c. 1254 BC Ramesses II
Ramesses Died c. 1229 BC
Khaemweset Died c. 1224 BC
Amun-her-khepeshef Died before 1155 BC Ramesses III
Crown Prince Mian Died 707 BC Duke Huan of Chen Killed by uncle Chen Tuo
Yukou BC 672 Duke Xuan of Chen Killed
Fusu Died 210 BC Qin Shi Huang Forced to commit suicide
Liu Ju BC 128–BC 91 Emperor Wu of Han Killed
Pacorus I Died BC 38 Orodes II of Parthia Killed in battle
Gaius Caesar BC 20–4 AD Augustus Wounds
Lucius Caesar BC 17–2 AD Sudden illness
Germanicus BC 15–19 AD Tiberius Mysterious illness
Drusus Julius Caesar BC 13–23 AD Suspected poisoning
Nero Julius Caesar 6–31 Starvation
Drusus Caesar 7–33
Tiberius Gemellus 19–37 Caligula Killed
Lucius Aelius Caesar 101–138 Hadrian Hemorrhage
Marcus Annius Verus Caesar 162–169 Marcus Aurelius Natural causes
Cao Ang Died in 197 Cao Cao Killed in battle
Sun Deng 209–241 Emperor Da of Wu Illness
Valerian II Died 258 Gallienus Died under mysterious circumstances
Liu Xuan 224-264 Liu Shan Killed in Disaster of Yongjia
Sima Yu 278-300 Emperor Hui of Jin Killed by Empress Jia Nanfeng
Tuoba Tao 428-451 Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei Unknown causes
Xiao Zhangmao 458-493 Emperor Wu of Southern Qi Illness
Xiao Tong 501-531 Emperor Wu of Liang
Yang Zhao 584-606 Emperor Yang of Sui
Li Jiancheng 589–626 Emperor Gaozu of Tang Killed during the Xuanwu Gate Incident
Mardanshah Died 628 Khosrow II Killed
Li Hong 652-675 Emperor Gaozong of Tang Illness
Li Chongrun 682-701 Emperor Zhongzong of Tang Executed by Empress Wu Zetian
Li Chongjun 683-707 Killed after coup
Li Ying Died in 737 Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Killed
Li Ning 793-812 Emperor Xianzong of Tang Illness
Li Yong Died in 838 Emperor Wenzong of Tang Unknown cause
Saint Emeric of Hungary 1007–1031 Stephen I of Hungary Hunting accident
Edward the Exile 1016-1057 Edward the Confessor Unknown cause
William Adelin 1103–1120 Henry I of England Drowned in the White Ship disaster
Zhao Fu 1127-1129 Emperor Gaozong of Song Illness
Henry of Scotland 1114–1152 David I of Scotland
Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne 1127–1153 Stephen, King of England Sudden death
Henry Berengar 1136–1150 Conrad III of Germany Illness
William IX, Count of Poitiers 1153–1156 Henry II of England Seizure
Henry the Young King 1155–1183 Dysentery
Naratheinga Uzana 1197–1235 Htilominlo Unknown cause
Sigurd Lavard Died 1200 Sverre of Norway
Alexios Palaiologos Died 1203 Alexios III Angelos Natural causes
Valdemar the Young 1209–1231 Valdemar II of Denmark Hunting accident
Andronikos Palaiologos Died 1216 Theodore I Laskaris Disease
Thihathu of Pagan 1230s–1256 Uzana of Pagan Assassinated
Haakon the Young 1232–1257 Haakon IV of Norway Illness
Zhenjin 1243-1286 Kublai Khan
Louis of France 1244–1260 Louis IX of France
George, son of David VII of Georgia 1250–1268 David VII of Georgia Bowel disease
Louis of France 1264–1276 Philip III of France Illness
Alexander, Prince of Scotland 1264–1284 Alexander III of Scotland
Henry, son of Edward I 1268–1274 Edward I of England
Theingapati 1270s–1299 Kyawswa of Pagan Assassinated
Alphonso, Earl of Chester 1273–1284 Edward I of England Illness
Eric Christoffersen of Denmark 1307–1332 Christopher II of Denmark Died in battle
Edward, the Black Prince 1330–1376 Edward III of England A long lasting illness
Christopher, Duke of Lolland 1341–1363 Valdemar IV of Denmark Illness
Zhu Biao 1355–1392 Hongwu Emperor
Martin I of Sicily 1374–1409 Martin of Aragon Malaria
David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay 1378–1402 Robert III of Scotland Starvation
Henry V of England 1387–1422 Charles VI of France (by the Treaty of Troyes) Dysentery
Minye Kyawswa 1391–1415 Minkhaung I Killed in battle
Peter of Aragon 1394–1400 Martin I of Sicily and Maria, Queen of Sicily Wound from spear
Louis, Duke of Guyenne 1397–1415 Charles VI of France Dysentery
John, Duke of Touraine 1398–1417 Abscess to the head
Martin of Aragon 1406–1407 Martin I of Sicily Illness
Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York 1411–1460 Henry VI of England (by Act of Accord) Killed in battle
Charles, Prince of Viana 1421–1461 John II of Aragon and Navarre Unknown causes
Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay 1430 James I of Scotland Illness
Gaston, Prince of Viana 1444–1470 Gaston IV, Count of Foix Wounds in jousting tournament
Zhu Jianji 1448-1453 Jingtai Emperor Illness
John, Prince of Portugal 1451 Afonso V of Portugal Sudden death
Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales 1453–1471 Henry VI of England Killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury
Ivan the Young 1458–1490 Ivan III of Russia Gout
Zhu Youji 1469-1472 Chenghua Emperor Illness
Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales 1473–1484 Richard III of England Unknown
Afonso, Prince of Portugal 1475–1491 John II of Portugal Horse riding accident
John, Prince of Asturias 1478–1497 Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon Tuberculosis
Philip I of Castile 1478–1506 Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor Typhoid fever
Arthur, Prince of Wales 1486–1502 Henry VII of England Unknown illness
Charles Orlando, Dauphin of France 1492–1495 Charles VIII of France Measles
Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal 1498–1500 Manuel I of Portugal Illness
James, Duke of Rothesay 1507–1508 James IV of Scotland
Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay 1509–1510
Henry, Duke of Cornwall 1511 Henry VIII of England Sudden death
Şehzade Mustafa 1515–1553 Suleiman the Magnificent Executed
Francis III, Duke of Brittany 1518–1536 Francis I of France Tuberculosis
Bhoj Raj Died 1526 Rana Sanga Died in battle
Afonso, Prince of Portugal 1526 John III of Portugal Illness
Prince George of Kakheti 1529–1561 Levan of Kakheti Died in battle
Manuel, Prince of Portugal 1531–1537 John III of Portugal Illness
Philip, Prince of Portugal 1533–1539
John, Crown Prince of Portugal 1537–1554 Tuberculosis or diabetes
Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich of Russia 1552–1553 Ivan IV of Russia Drowned
Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich of Russia 1554–1581 Wounds to the head
Mingyi Swa 1558–1593 Nanda Bayin Killed in battle
Prince George of Kakheti 1570–1605 Alexander II of Kakheti Killed alongside his father
Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias 1571–1578 Philip II of Spain Dysentery
Diego, Prince of Asturias 1575–1582 Smallpox
Philip de' Medici 1577–1582 Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Hydrocephalus
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales 1594–1612 James I of England Typhoid fever
Christian, Prince-Elect of Denmark 1603–1647 Christian IV of Denmark Illness
Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers 1609–1631 Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Montferrat
Henry Frederick, Hereditary Prince of the Palatinate 1614–1629 Frederick V, Elector Palatine Drowned
Dara Shikoh 1615–1659 Shah Jahan Killed by his brother Aurangzeb
Ercole, Marquis of Baux 1623–1651 Honoré II, Prince of Monaco Gunshot wound
Ferdinand Maximilian, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden 1625–1669 William, Margrave of Baden-Baden Hunting accident
Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias 1626–1646 Philip IV of Spain Smallpox
Ferdinand IV, King of the Romans 1633–1654 Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
Theodosius III, Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil 1634–1653 John IV of Portugal Tuberculosis
Sigismund Casimir 1640–1647 Władysław IV Vasa Dysentery
Tsarevich Dmitry Alexeyevich of Russia 1648–1649 Alexis of Russia Illness
Prince Luarsab of Kartli Died 1652 Rostom of Kartli Gunshot wound
Tsarevich Alexei Alexeyevich of Russia 1654–1670 Alexis of Russia Illness
Leopold George, Hereditary Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg 1654–1675 William Christoph, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg
Prince Mamuka of Imereti Died 1654 Rostom of Kartli Died in captivity
Charles, Electoral Prince of Brandenburg 1655–1674 Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg Dysentery
Philip Prospero, Prince of Asturias 1657–1661 Philip IV of Spain Epileptic attack
Louis, le grand Dauphin 1661–1711 Louis XIV of France Smallpox
Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany 1663–1713 Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Illness
Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma 1666–1693 Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma
Archduke Leopold Joseph of Austria 1682–1684 Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis, Dauphin and Duke of Burgundy 1682–1712 Louis XIV of France Measles
João, Prince of Brazil 1688 Peter II of Portugal Illness
Birbhadra Shah Died c.1697 Prithvipati Shah
Joseph Ferdinand, Electoral Prince of Bavaria 1692–1699 Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria Sudden illness
Count Palatine Joseph Charles of Sulzbach 1694–1729 Theodore Eustace, Count Palatine of Sulzbach Illness
Crown Prince Friedrich Ludwig 1698–1731 Eberhard Louis, Duke of Württemberg
Victor Amadeus, Prince of Piedmont 1699–1715 Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia Smallpox
Archduke Leopold Joseph of Austria 1700–1701 Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor Hydrocephalus
Frédéric Maurice Casimir de La Tour d'Auvergne 1702–1723 Emmanuel Théodose de La Tour d'Auvergne Illness
Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Durlach 1703–1732 Charles III William, Margrave of Baden-Durlach
Louis, Hereditary Prince of Lorraine 1704–1711 Leopold, Duke of Lorraine Smallpox
Joseph, Hereditary Prince of Hesse-Rotenburg 1705–1744 Ernest Leopold, Landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg Illness
Ludwig Gruno of Hesse-Homburg 1705–1745 Frederick III, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg
Louis, Dauphin and Duke of Brittany 1707–1712 Louis XIV of France Measles
Léopold Clément, Hereditary Prince of Lorraine 1707–1723 Leopold, Duke of Lorraine Smallpox
Frederick, Prince of Wales 1707–1751 George II of Great Britain A burst abscess in the lung
Pedro, Prince of Brazil 1712–1714 John V of Portugal Unknown disease
Crown Prince Hyojang 1719-1728 Yeongjo of Joseon Illness
Louis, Dauphin of France 1729–1765 Louis XV of France Tuberculosis
Yonglian 1730-1738 Qianlong Emperor Illness
Crown Prince Sado of Joseon (Korea) 1735–1762 Yeongjo of Joseon (Korea) His father killed him by locking him in a rice chest
Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden 1755–1801 Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of Baden Illness
Shō Tetsu 1759–1788 Shō Boku Unknown cause
José, Prince of Brazil 1761–1788 Maria I of Portugal Smallpox
Thado Minsaw 1762–1808 Bodawpaya Illness
Charles August, Crown Prince of Sweden 1768–1810 Charles XIII of Sweden Stroke
Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau 1769–1814 Leopold III, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau Illness
Carlo, Duke of Calabria 1775–1778 Ferdinand IV of Naples Smallpox
Frederick Louis, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1778–1819 Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Illness
Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh 1780–1801 Gia Long Emperor Smallpox
Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France 1781–1789 Louis XVI of France Tuberculosis
Abbas Mirza 1789–1833 Fath-Ali Shah Qajar Illness
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans 1810–1842 Louis-Philippe of France Carriage accident
Kanaung Mintha 1820–1866 Mindon Min Assassinated
Tēvita ʻUnga 1824–1879 George Tupou I Liver ailment
Louis Philippe, Crown Prince of Belgium 1833–1834 Leopold I of Belgium Inflammation of mucous membrane
Victoria Kamāmalu 1838–1866 Kamehameha V Illness
Keaweaweulaokalani 1839 Kamehameha III
Keaweaweulaokalani 1842
Nicholas Alexandrovich, Tsarevich of Russia 1843–1865 Alexander II of Russia Meningitis
William, Prince of Orange 1843–1879 William III of the Netherlands Debauchery
Vuna Takitakimālohi 1844–1862 George Tupou I Illness
Afonso, Prince Imperial of Brazil 1845–1847 Pedro II of Brazil Epilepsy
Charles Augustus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1844–1894 Charles Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Illness
Trailokya, Crown Prince of Nepal 1847–1878 Surendra of Nepal Unknown causes
Pedro Afonso, Prince Imperial of Brazil 1848–1850 Pedro II of Brazil Fever
ʻElisiva Fusipala Taukiʻonetuku 1850–1889 George Tupou I Illness
Alexander, Prince of Orange 1851–1884 William III of the Netherlands Typhus
Leleiohoku II 1854–1877 Kalākaua Rheumatic fever
ʻUelingatoni Ngū 1854–1885 George Tupou I Illness
Ludvonga 1855–1872 Mswati II Poisoned
Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt 1855–1886 Frederick I, Duke of Anhalt Illness
Şehzade Yusuf Izzeddin 1857–1916 Mehmed V Suicide (disputed)
Albert Kamehameha 1858–1862 Kamehameha IV Meningitis
Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria 1858–1889 Franz Joseph I of Austria Suicide (disputed)
Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant 1859–1869 Leopold II of Belgium Pneumonia, after falling into a pond
Nalesoni Laifone 1859–1889 George Tupou I Illness
Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1874–1899 Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Unclear circumstances
Maha Vajirunhis, Crown Prince of Siam 1878–1895 Rama V Typhoid
Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal 1887–1908 Carlos I of Portugal and the Algarves Jointly assassinated with his father
Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani 1896–1948 Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani Illness
Turki I bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 1900–1919 Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia Flu
Sultan, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia 1925–2011 Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Illness
Muhammed Akbar Khan, Crown Prince of Afghanistan 1933–1941 Mohammed Zahir Shah
Nayef, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia 1934–2012 Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Heirs apparent who were forced to abandon their claim[edit]

Heir apparent Lived Heir of Forced out
Liu Rong Died 148 BC Emperor Jing of Han His mother angered the emperor by requesting the position of empress and denying the marriage of Chen Jiao and him
Kunala Born 263 BC Ashoka Blinded
Antipater BC 46–BC 4 Herod the Great Disinherited after being charged with intended murder. Subsequently executed.
Alexander BC 35–BC 7 Disinherited and executed
Aristobulus IV BC 31–BC 7
Herod II BC 27–33 AD Disinherited
Agrippa Postumus BC 12–14 AD Augustus Banished. Later executed by his own guards after the accession of Tiberius
Liu Jiang 25-58 Emperor Guangwu of Han His mother lost the position of empress
Crispus 295–326 Constantine the Great Executed
Yuan Xun 483-497 Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei Disagreement of his father's policy
Niketas the Persian Died 636 Shahrbaraz Killed after 40 days of rule
Yang Yong Died 604 Emperor Wen of Sui Forced to abdicate and killed by younger brother Yang Guang
Li Chengqian 619-645 Emperor Taizong of Tang Attempted to overthrow his father and kill his brother by coup. Exiled from immorality and treason
Li Zhong 642-665 Emperor Gaozong of Tang Empress Wu Zetian got the favor from Gaozong and his position was taken by his half brother Li Hong
Li Xian 655-684 Exiled by Empress Wu Zetian from rumors. And forced to commit suicide after Gaozong's death
Prince Kusakabe 662–689 Emperor Tenmu Did not assume throne
Abd al-Aziz ibn Marwan Died 705 Marwan I Removed from line of succession
Li Chengqi 679-742 Emperor Ruizong of Tang Gave up the claim because he thought that he did not have the strength to be a wise emperor
Alexios Mosele 9th century Theophilos Disinherited for rebellion
Al-Mufawwid Died 890s Al-Mu'tamid (Abbasid caliph) On 30 April 892, Al-Mufawwid was removed from the succession by his cousin, al-Mu'tadid and when al-Mu'tamid died in October 892, he was succeeded by al-Mu'tadid.
Al-Abbas ibn Ahmad ibn Tulun Died 884 Ahmad ibn Tulun Attempted to overthrow his father
Li Yu Died in 904 Emperor Zhaozong of Tang Actually inherited the throne in fact, but not recognized as an emperor. Became crown prince again after two months and killed by Zhu Wen
Yelü Bei 899-937 Emperor Taizu of Liao Kept the favor away from her mother Empress Shulü Ping, because he their political view were totally opposite.
Fujiwara no Korechika 974-1010 Fujiwara no Michitaka Lost in Chōtoku Incident to his uncle Fujiwara no Michinaga who seize the power and lost the position to inherent Kampaku.
Prince Atsuyasu 999-1019 Emperor Ichijō Kugyō Fujiwara no Yukinari and Fujiwara no Michinaga forced him to give up the status and his half brother Prince Atsuhira took his position.
Al-Malik al-Aziz Died 1049 Jalal al-Dawla Late ruler's nephew Abu Kalijar took the throne instead
Conrad II of Italy 1074–1101 Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor Disinherited for rebellion
Min Shin Saw 1117–1167 Alaungsithu Exiled
William I, Count of Boulogne 1137–1159 Stephen, King of England Treaty of Wallingford dictated the succession of Henry II of England
Demna of Georgia 1155–1178 David V of Georgia Imprisoned, blinded and castrated by his uncle, King George III of Georgia
Zhao Hong Died 1225 Emperor Ningzong Shi Miyuan and Empress Yang faked the edict of emperor.
Henry (VII) of Germany 1211–1242 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor Disinherited for rebellion
James of Majorca 1275–1330 James II of Majorca Became a monk
James of Aragon 1296–1334 James II of Aragon Became a monk
Otto, Duke of Lolland and Estonia 1310–1346 Christopher II of Denmark Forced to surrender claim to the throne in favor of his brother Valdemar IV of Denmark
Eric XII of Sweden 1339–1359 Magnus VII of Norway Became King of Sweden, with his brother Haakon VI of Norway taking the throne of Norway
Baw Ngan-Mohn 1370–1390 Binnya U Imprisoned
Dmitry Ivanovich 1483–1509 Ivan III of Russia Disinherited in favor of uncle Vasili III of Russia
Carlos, Prince of Asturias 1545–1568 Philip II of Spain Arrested and imprisoned by his father; died in prison six months later
Minye Kyawswa II of Ava 1567–1599 Nanda Bayin Defected
Yinreng 1674–1725 The Kangxi Emperor Imprisoned for life by Kangxi for immorality and treason; replaced by his brother Yongzheng Emperor
Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia 1690–1718 Peter the Great of Russia Imprisoned by his father and forced to relinquish his claim. Died in prison.
Philip, Duke of Calabria 1747–1777 Charles III of Spain Intellectually disabled; removed from the line of succession in favor of his brothers Charles and Ferdinand
Pedro, Prince Imperial of Brazil 1825–1891 Pedro IV of Portugal Became heir solely to Brazil, with his sister Maria becoming heir presumptive
Mustafa Fazıl Pasha 1830–1875 Isma'il Pasha Succession law changed to pass from father to son instead of brother to brother; replaced by Tewfik Pasha
Tengku Alam Shah 1846–1891 Sultan Ali of Johor Throne given to kinsman Abu Bakar of Johor instead
Khalifa bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan b.1856 Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Refused throne, with his brother Tahnoun bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan becoming ruler instead
George, Crown Prince of Serbia 1887–1972 Peter I of Serbia Abdicated his succession rights in 1909; replaced by his brother Alexander
Muhammad of Saudi Arabia 1910–1988 King Faisal ibn Abdul-Aziz Forced to abdicate in 1965; replaced by his brother Khalid
Tunku Abdul Rahman of Johor 1933–1989 Ismail of Johor His elder brother Iskandar of Johor was reinstated after previously being forced to renounce his rights
Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi 1940– Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Disinherited in favor of his half-brother Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Muqrin of Saudi Arabia 1945– King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Removed as Crown Prince in April 2015; replaced by his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef
Hassan of Jordan 1947– King Hussein of Jordan He was replaced by his nephew Abdullah only days before the king died in 1999
Muhammad bin Nayef of Saudi Arabia 1959– King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Removed as Crown Prince in June 2017; replaced by his cousin Mohammad bin Salman
Mishaal bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani 1972– Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Renounced his claim in 1996 in favor of his younger half-brother, Sheikh Jasim
Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani 1978– Renounced his claim in 2003 in favor of his younger brother, Sheikh Tamim
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden 1979– Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden Swedish succession laws were changed in 1980. Carl Philip was supplanted by his elder sister Victoria
Prince Hamzah of Jordan 1980– Abdullah II of Jordan Title of Crown Prince removed in 2004. Hamzah was supplanted by his half-nephew Hussein

Heirs apparent of monarchs who themselves abdicated or were deposed[edit]

Heir apparent Lived Heir of End of line/monarchy
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus 38–69 Galba Assassinated in 69
Gaius Julius Verus Maximus 217–238 Maximinus Thrax Assassinated in 238
Publius Licinius Egnatius Marinianus 249-268 Gallienus Killed in 268
Licinius II 315–326 Licinius Both father and son were executed by Licinius' co-emperor Constantine the Great
Chen Yin 573-618 Chen Shubao Chen Dynasty fell
Meng Xuanzhe 937-991 Meng Chang Later Shu was defeated by Song Dynasty
William fitz Duncan 1090–1147 Duncan II of Scotland Duncan II was killed in battle in 1094
Edward Balliol 1283–1367 John Balliol Abdicated following defeat in First War of Scottish Independence
Zhu Wenkui Disappeared in 1402 Jianwen Emperor Prince Yan sacked Nanjing. Disappeared with his father Jianwen Emperor.
John of Denmark 1518–1532 Christian II of Denmark Christian II was deposed in 1523
Gustav of Sweden 1568–1607 Eric XIV of Sweden Eric XIV was deposed in 1568
Zhu Cilang 1629-1644 Chongzhen Emperor Ming conquered by Manchu and founded Qing Dynasty
James Francis Edward Stuart 1688–1766 James II of England James II was deposed 11 April 1689 for being Catholic
Prince David of Georgia 1767–1819 George XII of Georgia Annexation by Russia
Louis-Antoine, Dauphin and Duke of Angoulême 1775–1844 Charles X of France Abdicated jointly with his father on 2 August 1830
Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France 1785–1795 Louis XVI of France French Revolution
Prince Constantine of Imereti 1789–1844 Solomon II of Imereti Annexation by Russia
Gustav, Prince of Vasa 1799–1877 Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden Gustav's whole family was excluded from the line of royal succession on 10 May 1809 by the Riksdag of the Estates, after the deposition of Gustav IV Adolf.
Agustín Jerónimo, Prince Imperial of Mexico 1807–1866 Agustín I of Mexico Deposed in 1823
Prince Philippe, Count of Paris 1838–1894 Louis Philippe I of France Declaration of the Second Republic on 24 February 1848
Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover 1845–1923 George V of Hanover Annexation by Prussia
Ernest, Landgrave of Hesse-Philippsthal 1846–1925 Charles II, Landgrave of Hesse-Philippsthal Annexation by Prussia
William, Hereditary Prince of Nassau 1852–1912 Adolphe, Duke of Nassau Annexation by Prussia
Louis Napoléon, Prince Imperial 1856–1879 Napoleon III of France Napoleon III was deposed 4 September 1870 by the forces of the Third Republic
Crown Prince Gustaf of Norway 1858–1950 Oscar II of Norway Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden
Agustín, Prince of Iturbide 1863–1925 Maximilian I of Mexico Monarchy abolished in 1867
Abdulmejid II 1868–1944 Mehmed VI Ottoman Empire dissolved in 1922.
Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta 1869–1931 Amadeo I of Spain Abdicated in 1873
Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria 1869–1955 Ludwig III of Bavaria German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Danilo, Crown Prince of Montenegro 1871–1939 Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš Annexed by Serbia
Kaʻiulani 1875–1899 Liliuokalani Annexation by the United States
Yuan Keding 1878–1958 Yuan Shikai Short lived Empire abolished in March 1916
Wilhelm, German Crown Prince 1882–1951 Wilhelm II, German Emperor Wilhelm was deposed by the German government on 9 November 1918
Georg, Crown Prince of Saxony 1893–1943 Frederick Augustus III of Saxony German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Husain Bey, Crown Prince of Tunisia 1893–1969 Muhammad VIII al-Amin Deposed in 1957
Heinrich XLV, Hereditary Prince Reuss Younger Line 1895–1945 Heinrich XXVII, Prince Reuss Younger Line German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Josias, Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont 1896–1967 Friedrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Philipp, Landgrave of Hesse 1896–1980 Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, King-elect of Finland Monarchy abolished in 1918
Prince Wilhelm of Urach 1897–1957 Mindaugas II of Lithuania Monarchy abolished in 1918
Nikolaus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Oldenburg 1897–1970 Frederick Augustus II, Grand Duke of Oldenburg German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Muhammad Abdel Moneim 1899–1979 Abbas II of Egypt Abbas II was deposed by the British for supporting the Ottomans in World War I
Georg Moritz, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Altenburg 1900–1991 Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia 1904–1918 Nicholas II of Russia Nicholas abdicated on 2/15 March 1917 on behalf of both himself and his son. The monarchy was abolished 1 September 1917
Umberto, Prince of Piedmont 1904–1983 Victor Emmanuel III of Ethiopia and Albania Victor Emmanuel was only partially recognized in those countries, renounced claims in 1943 in favor of previous holders
Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse 1906–1937 Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Johann Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1906–1972 Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha German monarchies abolished November 1918
Alfonso, Prince of Asturias 1907–1938 Alfonso XIII of Spain Alfonso XIII was deposed by the formation of the Second Spanish Republic on April 14, 1931. Prince Alfonso renounced his claim on 21 June 1933 so he could marry a commoner
Friedrich Franz, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1910–2001 Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Ghazi bin Faisal 1912–1939 Faisal I of Syria Deposed in 1920
Charles Augustus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1912–1988 William Ernest, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach German monarchies abolished November 1918
Otto von Habsburg, Crown Prince of Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia 1912–2011 Charles I of Austria Austria and Hungary abolished the monarchy in 1918.
'Abd al-Ilah 1913–1958 Ali of Hejaz Deposed in 1925
Carol Victor, Hereditary Prince of Albania 1913–1973 Wilhelm, Prince of Albania Fled into exile in 1914
Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover 1914–1987 Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick German monarchies abolished in November 1918
Amha Selassie 1916–1997 Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974 after being taken by communist Derg power
Hasan as-Senussi 1928–1992 Idris of Libya Deposed in 1969
Vong Savang 1931–1978 Sisavang Vatthana Monarchy abolished after Laotian Civil War
Ahmad Shah Khan, Crown Prince of Afghanistan 1934– Mohammed Zahir Shah Deposed in 1973
Bảo Long 1936–2007 Bảo Đại 1955 State of Vietnam referendum
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples 1937– Umberto II of Italy Italy abolished the monarchy on 12 June 1946, after Umberto II had reigned 33 days
Leka, Crown Prince of Albania 1939–2011 Zog of Albania Two days after Leka's birth, Mussolini's Italy invaded Albania on 7 April 1939 and sent the royal family into exile
Crown Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta 1943–2021 Tomislav II of Croatia Tomislav II abdicated October 12, 1943 due to the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces, when Amedeo was only two weeks old
Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia 1945– Peter II of Yugoslavia Peter II was deposed by Yugoslavia's Constituent Assembly on 29 November 1945
Abdelaziz bin Ahmed Al Thani 1946–2008 Ahmad bin Ali Al Thani Deposed in 1972
Charles, Prince of Wales 1948– Elizabeth II of Pakistan, South Africa, Ceylon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanganyika, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Malta, The Gambia, Guyana, Mauritius, Fiji, and Barbados Countries became republics
Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran 1960– Mohammad Reza Pahlavi The Shah was overthrown by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece 1967– Constantine II of Greece Constantine II fled into exile shortly after Pavlos's birth, and the monarchy was abolished 1 June 1973
Paras, Crown Prince of Nepal 1971– Gyanendra of Nepal Gyanendra was deposed 28 May 2008 in favour of a republican government
Jean-Bédel Bokassa, Crown Prince of the Central African Empire 1973– Jean-Bédel Bokassa Deposed in 1979

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Sometimes heiress apparent is used for a female heir apparent; however, heir is an equally valid term for a man, woman or child.
  2. ^ Note that the substantive titles do not usually correspond exactly with the status of heir apparent. See crown prince for more examples and information.


  1. ^ Proclamations of Accessions of British Sovereigns (1547-1952)
  2. ^ "King James’ Parliament: The succession of William and Mary - begins 13/2/1689" The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: volume 2: 1680-1695 (1742), pp. 255-77. Accessed: 16 February 2007.
  3. ^ Fields 1987, pp. 166–169.
  4. ^ Kennedy 1993, pp. 765–766.