The Ten First-In-Line to European Crown

Currently, Europe has only 10 reigning royal houses, meaning the country has a dynastic sovereign who acts as head of state but never govern.

The existing European royal court has one grand duchy, two principalities and seven kingdoms: Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Although, the succession to the crown is always upon death of the sovereign, in recent years we have seen voluntary abdication of the monarchs in Europe, so the heirs rose to the throne earlier than expected, but there are others who stick to tradition and dedication to duty and prefer not to abdicate.

The rule of succession has changed in recent decades, from male-preference primogeniture to absolute, meaning older sisters can no longer be pushed by a younger brother from the line of succession.

While some never did it retroactively like in Norway and Britain, others applied it upon taking effect of the law, displacing others of their birthright to succeed like Prince Carl Philip of Sweden.

Here are next in line to become crown heads in the European royal court. Some of them might have to wait longer before they can fill in the shoes of their parent. The eldest being the Prince of Wales and the youngest is Prince Jacques of Monaco who is only five years old.


Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, was born on October 25, 2001. She is the eldest child of King Philippe of the Belgians and Queen Mathilde. She has three younger siblings.

Princess Elisabeth and her father, King Philippe

She is the heir-apparent of her father, a position she took since 2013 upon the abdication of her grandfather, King Albert II.

She attended a baccalaureate diploma in Wales, England which she completed in May 2020. She is scheduled to enroll in the Belgian Military Academy in Brussels this autumn 2020. It is customary for all heir apparent to study military things before succeeding the throne.


Prince Frederick is the eldest child of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik. He was born in 1968. Since 1972, upon his mother's accession to the Danish throne, Frederick assumed the role of a crown prince. 

Queen Margrethe II and her two heirs, 
Prince Frederick and his son Prince Christian

Denmark also adopted the absolute rule of succession, but like Britain, the eldest of the monarch and that of the first born child have been males.

Prince Frederick has four children with his wife, Mary Donaldson.


Alois, the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein is the eldest son of the Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein, Prince Hans Adam II. Since 2004, Prince Alois is the Prince Regent but his father remains the country's head of state.

Prince Hans Adam, Princess Marie,
Prince Alois and Princess Sophie

He was born on June 11, 1968 and is now 52 years old. His mother, Princess Marie, was born a Countess and descended from the prominent noble family in Czech Republic,

In July 2003, he married Duchess Sophie of Bavaria, niece of Prince Franz, Duke of Bavaria, the head of the House of Wittelsbach and the rightful heir to the thrones of Scotland and England by virtue of bloodline as the most senior male living descendant of King Charles I.


Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He is the eldest son of Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Ma.Theresa, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. He was born on November 11, 1981.
Grand Duke Henri, Prince Guillaume holding his son, Prince Charles

He has been heir-apparent since his father's accession to the throne in October 2000 upon the abdication of his grandfather, Grand Duke Jean. In 2012, he married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy, who gave birth to their first child, Prince Charles, last May 10, 2020. 


Monaco's sovereign, Prince Albert, who succeeded his father, Prince Rainier, in April 2005, took six years before he got married. In 2011, to Charlene Wittstock, former South African Olympian. So, it took a while before Monaco has an heir-apparent.

Prince Albert, Princess Charlene and their twins,
Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella

Although the prince has two children out-of-wedlock, and whom he acknowledged his paternity, they are not in line to succeed the Monegasque throne because they remained illegitimate.

Prince Albert's son and heir-apparent was born only in December 2014, and has a twin sister, Princess Gabriella.

The Hereditary Prince of Monaco is Prince Jacques, the five-year-old son of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene


The country changed its law of succession in 1990, adopting the absolute rule but they did not apply it retroactively. It will take effect only to children born to royals after 1990, so the position of Prince Haakon, second son of King Harald V, remained the same.

King Harald V and his heir apparent, Prince Haakon

The crown prince, who was born on Juky 20, 1973, is still ahead in the line of succession than his older sister, Princess Martha Louise. Haakon created quite a stir in 2000 when he expressed his intention to marry Mette Marit Tjessem Holby, she was not only a single mother out-of-wedlock, she also had a lover who was a drug addict.

After so many discussion and intense speculation, King Harald V gave his marriage permission to his son and did not remove from the line of succession.


The country have not yet adopted the absolute rule of succession, they still maintained the male-preference primogeniture law, so the daughter of King Felipe VI, Princess Leonor is only heir-presumptive.

King Felipe VI and Princess Leonor

But the ministers maintained that the position of Leonor, who now carries the title Princess of Asturias, is not threatened because her younger sibling is a female, Infanta Sofia.

Princess Leonor was born on October 31, 2005 and is now 14 years old.


Unlike Norway and Britain, Sweden applied the absolute rule of succession retroactively which made Princess Victoria, the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustav, the heir apparent, displacing her younger brother in the line of succession.

King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and his two heirs
Princess Victoria and her daughter, Princess Estelle

Prince Carl Philip was the crown prince for a few months in 1979. The absolute rule took effect in Sweden on January 1, 1980, effectively replacing Carl Philip by her older sister as first in line to the throne.

Privately, King Carl was heard complaining on the retroactive application because it denied his only son of his birthright.

The Netherlands 

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated the Dutch throne in 2013 in favor of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander. The country already adopted the absolute rule of succession way before the prince married in 2002.

King Willem-Alexander and his heir apparent
Princess Catarina-Amalia

He has three children with his wife, Maxima, and all daughters, so the position of his eldest daughter as the heir-apparent left no controversies.

Princess Catarina-Amalia is the Hereditary Princess of Orange since 2013 and would succeed her father in time. She was born on December 7, 2003. 

United Kingdom.

Having been born on November 20, 1947, Prince Charles is the oldest heir-apparent in Europe today and the oldest monarch-in-waiting in the United Kingdom.

Queen Elizabeth II and her heir apparent
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales

He has been heir to the British throne since his mother's accession in 1952. He carries the title, Prince of Wales, the title of the heir-apparent to the British throne since 13th century.

The prince might have to wait longer. His mother is still sprightly active and no indication of slowing down. Queen Elizabeth II is also devoted to her duty to the kingdom and the realms and has dedicated all her life to live on her role.

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