List of heirs to the Scottish throne

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This is a list of the individuals who were, at any given time, considered the next in line to inherit the throne of Scotland, should the incumbent monarch die. Those who actually succeeded (at any future time) are shown in bold. Stillborn children and infants surviving less than a month are not included.

It may be noted that although the Crown could pass through the female line (for example to the House of Dunkeld in 1034), in the High Middle Ages it is doubtful whether a queen regnant would have been accepted as ruler.

Significant breaks in the succession, where the designated heir did not in fact succeed (due to usurpation, conquest, revolution, or lack of heirs) are shown as breaks in the table below.

The symbols +1, +2, etc. are to be read "once (twice, etc.) removed in descendancy", i.e., the child or grandchild (etc.) of a cousin of the degree specified. The symbols -1, -2, etc. indicate the converse relationship, i.e., the cousin of a parent or grandparent (etc.).

1124 to 1290[edit]

Heir Status Relationship to Monarch Became heir Reason Ceased to be heir Reason Monarch
Henry, Earl of Huntingdon Heir apparent son 23 April 1154 father became king 12 June 1152 died David I
Malcolm Heir apparent grandson 12 June 1152 father died 24 May 1153 became king
William, Earl of Northumbria Heir presumptive younger brother 24 May 1153 brother became king 9 December 1165 became king Malcolm IV
David, Earl of Huntingdon Heir presumptive younger brother 9 December 1165 brother became king 1193 daughter born to king William I
Margaret Heiress presumptive eldest daughter 1193 born 24 August 1198 brother born
Alexander Heir apparent son 24 August 1198 born 4 December 1214 became king
Margaret of Scotland, Countess of Kent Heiress presumptive elder sister 4 December 1214 brother became king 4 September 1241 son born to king Alexander II
Alexander Heir apparent son 4 September 1241 born 8 July 1249 became king
Margaret, Countess of Kent Heiress presumptive aunt 8 July 1249 nephew became king 25 November 1259 died Alexander III
Isabella, Countess of Norfolk Heiress presumptive aunt 25 November 1259 sister died 28 February 1261 daughter born to king
Margaret Heiress presumptive daughter 28 February 1261 born 21 January 1264 brother born
Alexander Heir apparent eldest son 21 January 1264 born 28 January 1284 died
Margaret Heiress presumptive granddaughter 28 January 1284 uncle died 19 March 1286 became lady and queen
No recognised heir 1286–1290 Margaret

1292 to 1296[edit]

Heir Status Relationship to Monarch Became heir Reason Ceased to be heir Reason Monarch
Edward Heir apparent eldest son 17 November 1292 father became king 10 July 1296 father abdicated John

1306 to 1371[edit]

Heir Status Relationship to Monarch Became heir Reason Ceased to be heir Reason Monarch
No recognised heir 1306–1315 Robert I
Edward, Earl of Carrick Heir presumptive younger brother 27 April 1315 proclaimed heir 14 October 1318 died
No recognised heir Oct–Dec 1318
Robert Heir presumptive grandson 3 December 1318 proclaimed heir 5 March 1324 son born to king
David, Earl of Carrick Heir apparent eldest son 5 March 1324 born 7 June 1329 became king
Robert, High Steward of Scotland Heir presumptive nephew 7 June 1329 uncle became king 22 February 1371 became king David II

1371 to 1707[edit]

Heir Status Relationship to Monarch Became heir Reason Ceased to be heir Reason Next in succession Monarch
No recognised heir Feb–Mar 1371 Robert II
John, Earl of Carrick Heir apparent eldest son 27 March 1371 proclaimed heir 19 April 1390 became king none 1371-1373
Robert, Earl of Fife 1373-1378, younger brother
David 1378-1390, son
David, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 19 April 1390 father became king 26 March 1402 died Robert, Earl of Fife 1390-1394, uncle Robert III
James 1394-1402, younger brother
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 26 March 1402 brother died 4 April 1406 became king Robert, Duke of Albany 1402-1406, uncle
Robert, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive uncle 4 April 1406 nephew became king 3 September 1420 died Murdoch 1406-1420, eldest son James I
Murdoch, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive 1st cousin 3 September 1420 father died 25 May 1425 died Robert 1420-1421 eldest son
Walter 1421-1425, son
Alexander 1425, son
Walter, Earl of Atholl Heir presumptive uncle 25 May 1425 nephew died 16 October 1430 son born to king Alan, Earl of Caithness 1425-1430, eldest son
Alexander, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 16 October 1430 born 1430 died James 1430, younger brother
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 1430 brother died 21 February 1437 became king Walter, Earl of Atholl 1430-1437, granduncle
Walter, Earl of Atholl Heir presumptive granduncle 21 February 1437 grandnephew became king 26 March 1437 died Robert, Master of Atholl 1437, grandson James II
No recognised heir 1437–1451
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 10 July 1451 born 3 August 1460 became king none 1451-1454
Alexander, Duke of Albany 1454-1460, younger brother
Alexander, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive younger brother 3 August 1460 brother became king 17 March 1473 son born to king John, Earl of Mar 1460-1473, younger brother James III
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 17 March 1473 born 11 June 1488 became king Alexander, Duke of Albany 1473-1476, uncle
James 1476-1488, younger brother
James, Duke of Ross Heir presumptive younger brother 11 June 1488 brother became king 12 January 1504 died John, Earl of Mar 1488-1503, younger brother James IV
John, Duke of Albany 1503-1504, 1st cousin
John, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive 1st cousin 12 January 1504 cousin died 21 February 1507 son born to king James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1504-1507, 1st cousin
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 21 February 1507 born 27 February 1508 died John, Duke of Albany 1507-1508, 1st cousin -1
John, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive 1st cousin 27 February 1508 king's son died 20 October 1509 son born to king James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1508-1509, 1st cousin
Arthur, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 20 October 1509 born 14 July 1510 died John, Duke of Albany 1509-1510, 1st cousin -1
John, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive 1st cousin 14 July 1510 king's son died 10 April 1512 son born to king James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1510-1512, 1st cousin
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 10 April 1512 born 9 September 1513 became king John, Duke of Albany 1512-1513, 1st cousin -1
John, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive 1st cousin -1 9 September 1513 cousin became king 30 April 1514 king's brother born James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1513-1514, 1st cousin James V
Alexander, Duke of Ross Heir presumptive younger brother 30 April 1514 born 18 December 1515 died John, Duke of Albany 1514-1515, 1st cousin -1
John, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive 1st cousin -1 18 December 1515 cousin died 2 July 1536 died James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1515-1529, 1st cousin
James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1529-1536, 1st cousin -1
James Hamilton, Earl of Arran Heir presumptive 2nd cousin 2 July 1536 cousin died 22 May 1540 son born to king Helen Hamilton, Countess of Argyll 1536-1537, elder sister
James Hamilton 1537-1540, eldest son
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 22 May 1540 born 21 April 1541 died James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1540-1541, 2nd cousin -1
Arthur, Duke of Albany 1541, younger brother
James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1541, 2nd cousin -1
James Hamilton, Earl of Arran Heir presumptive 2nd cousin 21 April 1541 king's son died 8 December 1542 daughter born to king James Hamilton 1541-1542, eldest son
Mary Heiress presumptive daughter 8 December 1542 born 14 December 1542 became king James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1542, 2nd cousin -1
James Hamilton, Duke of Châtellerault Heir presumptive 2nd cousin -1 14 December 1542 cousin became queen 19 June 1566 son born to queen James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1542-1566, eldest son Mary I
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 19 June 1566 born 24 July 1567 became king James Hamilton 1566-1567, 2nd cousin -2
James Hamilton Heir presumptive 2nd cousin -2 24 July 1567 cousin became king 22 January 1575 died James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1567-1575, eldest son James VI
James Hamilton, Earl of Arran Heir presumptive 3rd cousin -1 22 January 1575 father died 19 February 1594 son born to king John Hamilton 1575-1594, younger brother
Henry Frederick, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 19 February 1594 born 6 November 1612 died James Hamilton, Earl of Arran 1594-1596, 3rd cousin -2
Elizabeth 1596-1600, younger sister
Charles, Duke of Albany 1600-1612, younger brother
Charles, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 6 November 1612 brother died 27 March 1625 became king Elizabeth, Electress Palatine 1612-1625, elder sister
Elizabeth, Electress Palatine Heiress presumptive elder sister 27 March 1625 brother became king 29 May 1630 son born to king Frederick Henry 1625-1629, eldest son Charles I
Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine 1629-1630, son
Charles, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent eldest son 29 May 1630 born 30 January 1649 became king Elizabeth, Electress Palatine 1630-1631, aunt
Mary, Princess Royal 1631-1633, younger sister
James 1633-1649, younger brother
James, Duke of Albany Heir presumptive younger brother 30 January 1649 brother became king 6 February 1685 became king Henry 1649-1660, younger brother Charles II
Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange 1660, elder sister
Charles 1660-1661, son
Prince William of Orange 1661-1662, nephew
Princess Mary 1662-1663, daughter
James 1663-1667, son
Princess Mary 1667, daughter
Edgar 1667-1669, son
Princess Mary 1669-1677, daughter
Charles 1677, son
Mary, Princess of Orange 1677-1685, daughter
Mary, Princess of Orange Heiress presumptive elder daughter 6 February 1685 father became king 10 June 1688 brother born Princess Anne of Denmark 1685-1688, younger sister James VII
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 10 June 1688 born 11 April 1689 father deposed Mary, Princess of Orange, elder sister 1688-1689
William II Mutual heirs husband 11 May 1689 Claim of Right Act 1689 28 December 1694 became sole monarch Princess Anne of Denmark, sister(-in-law), 1689-1694 Mary II
Mary II wife died William II
Princess Anne of Denmark Heiress apparent sister-in-law and 1st cousin 28 December 1694 sister's death 8 March 1702 became queen William 1694-1700, son
none 1700-1701
Sophia, Dowager Electress of Hanover, 1701-1702, 1st cousin -1
Sophia, Dowager Electress of Hanover Heiress presumptive 1st cousin -1 8 March 1702 death of William III 1 May 1707 became heiress-presumptive to Great Britain George Louis, Elector of Hanover 1702-1707, son Anne

Jacobite succession, 1689-1807[edit]

The following are the heirs of the Jacobite pretenders to the throne to the death of the last Stuart pretender. For other persons in this lineage, see Jacobite succession.

Heir Status Relationship to Pretender Became heir Reason Ceased to be heir Reason Next in succession Pretender
James, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 11 April 1689 father deposed 16 September 1701 became pretender Mary, Princess of Orange 1689-1694, elder sister James VII
Princess Anne of Denmark 1694-1701, elder sister
Princess Anne of Denmark Heiress presumptive elder sister 16 September 1701 father died, brother became pretender 1 August 1714 died Louisa Maria 1701-1712, younger sister James VIII
"The Old Pretender"
Anne Marie d'Orléans 1712-1714, 1st cousin
Anne Marie d'Orléans Heiress presumptive 1st cousin 1 August 1714 cousin died 31 December 1720 son born to pretender Victor Amadeus, Prince of Piedmont 1714-1715, son
Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Piedmont 1715-1720, son
Charles, Duke of Rothesay Heir apparent son 31 December 1720 born 1 January 1766 became pretender Anne Marie d'Orléans 1720-1725, 1st cousin -1
Henry 1725-1766, younger brother
Henry Heir presumptive younger brother 1 January 1766 brother became pretender 31 January 1788 became pretender Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia 1766-1773, 2nd cousin Charles III
"The Young Pretender"
Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia 1773-1788, 2nd cousin +1
Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia Heir presumptive 2nd cousin +1 31 January 1788 cousin became pretender 14 October 1796 died Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Piedmont 1788-1796, son Henry I
"Cardinal York"
Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia Heir presumptive 2nd cousin +2 14 October 1796 father died 13 July 1807 death of last Stuart pretender Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia 1796-1807, younger brother

See also[edit]

References[edit]