First 10 in the Line of Succession of Each of The Ten Reigning Royal Houses in Europe

Let's get to know more about the 10 reigning royal houses in Europe. The heir-apparent, the first 10 in the line of succession, and the name of their respective royal houses. Only the House of Windsor and the House of Liechtenstein have its origin in the respective countries they reigned.

1. Belgium

Royal House: Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (origin: Ducal house in Germany)

Belgium officially separated from The Netherlands and became an independent monarchy in 1831, electing Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as its new monarch. He took the name Leopold I and was invested on July 21, 1831. 

He was the maternal uncle of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and paternal uncle of her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. King Leopold was also the widower of Queen Victoria's first cousin, Prince Charlotte of Wales, who died in 1817 from childbirth. 

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
Princess Elisabeth, King Philippe, King Albert II

Succession law: Absolute Primogeniture since 1991. It means that the eldest child of the Sovereign, irrespective of gender, will be the heir-apparent. 

Current Sovereign: King Philippe since July 21, 2013, upon the abdication of his father, Albert II. 
Heir-Apparent: Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant, eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

Line of Succession: 
  1. Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant - eldest child of King Philippe
  2. Prince Gabriel - second child of King Philippe
  3. Prince Emmanuel - third child of King Philippe
  4. Princess Eleonore - fourth child of King Philippe
  5. Prince Astrid - younger sister of King Philippe
  6. Prince Amedeo, Archduke of Austria-Este - eldest child of Princess Astrid
  7. Archduchess Anna Astrid of Austria-Este - eldest child of Prince Amedeo
  8. Archduke Maximilian of Austria-Este - second child of Prince Amedeo
  9. Princess Maria-Laura of Austria-Este - second child of Princess Astrid
  10. Prince Joachim of Austria-Este - third child of Princess Astrid

2. Denmark

Royal House: Glucksburg (origin: Ducal house in Germany)

The Danish Act of Succession implemented on June 5, 1953, when Agnatic Primogeniture Law was changed to Male-Preference Primogeniture, recognizing then Princess Margrethe, the eldest daughter of King Frederick IX, as his heir-presumptive instead of his younger brother, Prince Knud.

The said Act also restricted the throne to the descendants of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine through approved marriages.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
The Danish royal family 

Succession lawAbsolute Primogeniture since 2009. It means that the eldest child of the Sovereign, irrespective of gender, will be the heir-apparent.  

Current Sovereign: Queen Margrethe II since January 12, 1972, upon the death of her father, Frederick IX. Heir-Apparent: Frederik, The Crown Prince of Denmark, eldest son of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik.

Ling of Succession to the Danish Throne:
  1. Crown Prince Frederik - eldest child of The Queen
  2. Prince Christian - eldest child of The Crown Prince
  3. Princess Isabella - second child of The Crown Prince
  4. Prince Vincent - third child of The Crown Prince
  5. Princess Josephine - fourth child of The Crown Prince
  6. Prince Joachim - youngest child of The Queen
  7. Prince Nikolai - eldest child of Prince Joachim
  8. Prince Felix - second child of Prince Joachim
  9. Prince Henrik - third child of Prince Joachim
  10. Princess Athena - fourth child of Prince Joachim

3. Liechtenstein

Royal House: Liechtenstein (origin: County in Liechtenstein)

The Princely Family of Liechtenstein was founded by Karl I in 1606. He was the eldest son of Hartmann II, Baron of Liechtenstein and Countess Anna Maria of Ortenburg. 

Prince Karl I and his younger brothers, Maximilian and Gundakar, signed Family Covenant, agreeing that the headship of the family should pass according to Agnatic Primogeniture to the heir of the most senior line.

On October 26, 1993, the statute was repealed and the new house law was published on December 6, 1993, establishing that the right to succeed to the throne of Liechtenstein is reserved for male patrilineal descendants of Prince Johann I Joseph born within marriage.

Prince Hans-Adam II is flanked by his two heirs, Prince Alois and Prince Joseph Wenzel

Succession law: Agnatic Primogeniture. It means that women and their descendants are barred from succeeding the throne of Liechtenstein.

Current Sovereign: Hans-Adam II since November 13, 1989, upon the death of his father, Prince Franz Joseph II. He is also titled Duke of Troppau, Jaggerndorf, and Count of Rietberg. 

Heir-Apparent: Prince Alois, The Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein, eldest son of Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie

Line of Succession to the throne of Liechtenstein:

  1. Alois, The Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein - eldest son of Prince Hans-Adam II
  2. Prince Joseph Wenzel - eldest son of The Hereditary Prince
  3. Prince Georg - second son of The Hereditary Prince
  4. Prince Nikolaus - third son of The Hereditary Prince 
  5. Prince Maximilian - second son of The Sovereign Prince
  6. Prince Alfons - eldest son of Prince Maximilian
  7. Prince Constantin - third son of The Sovereign Prince
  8. Prince Moritz - eldest son of Prince Constantin
  9. Prince Benedikt - younger son of Prince Constantin
  10. Prince Philipp - younger brother of The Sovereign Prince

4. Luxembourg

Royal House: Luxembourg-Nassau (Origin: Ducal house in Germany)

Luxembourg was previously annexed as a province of The Netherlands. It gained independence in 1815 during the Treaty of Vienna and was affirmed by the Treaty of London in 1867. 

The constitution of Luxemburg stated that the crown is hereditary in the House of Nassau according to the pact of 1783.

Prior to the 20th century, Luxembourg followed the Agnatic Primogeniture Succession where the throne can only be inherited by males. 

However, it was altered in 1907 to allow the eldest daughter of Grand Duke William IV (who had no sons). Marie-Adelaide, to succeed the throne.

Marie-Adelaide succeeded her father in 1912 but abdicated in 1919 in favor of her younger sister, who became Grand Duchess Charlotte, the grandmother of the reigning Sovereign of Luxembourg, Grand Duke Henri. Grand Duchess Charlotte's husband was Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma, but she continued to reign under her father's house, Luxembourg-Nassau.

Grand Duke Henri and his two heirs, Prince Guillaume and Prince Charles

Succession law: Absolute Primogeniture since June 20, 2011. 

Current Sovereign: Grand Duke Henri since October 2000 upon the abdication of his father, Grand Duke Jean who died in 2019. 

Heir-Apparent: Prince Guillaume, The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, eldest son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.

Line of Succession to the Luxembourgian throne: Grand Duke Henri's third son. Prince Louis, voluntarily gave up his succession rights and those of his descendants, in 2006 when he married Tessie Antony.

Prince Jean of Luxembourg, the younger brother of Grand Duke Henri, also renounced his rights to the throne and those of his descendants, in 1986.

  1. Prince Guillaume, The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg - eldest child of Grand Duke Henri
  2. Prince Charles - eldest son of The Hereditary Grand Duke
  3. Prince Felix - second son of Grand Duke Henri
  4. Princess Amalia of Nassau - eldest child of Prince Felix
  5. Prince Liam of Nassau - younger child of Prince Felix
  6. Princess Alexandra - only daughter of Grand Duke Henri
  7. Prince Sebastien - youngest child of Grand Duke Henri
  8. Prince Guillaume - younger brother of Grand Duke Henri
  9. Prince Paul Louis of Nassau - eldest child of Prince Guillaume
  10. Prince  Leopold of Nassau - second child of Prince Guillaume

5. Monaco

Royal House: Grimaldi (origin: Genoa, Italy)

The House of Grimaldi was founded in 1160 by Grimaldo Canella, a consul of the Republic of Genoa, now part of Italy. 

It became the ruling house of Monaco when Francesco Grimaldi, a Genoese leader of the Guelphs (factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire), captured the rock of Monaco in 1297.

Francesco Grimaldi was childless, when he died in 1309, he was succeeded by his cousin and stepson, Rainier, Lord of Cagnes, who became Prince Rainier I of Monaco. 

The Principality of Monaco was formally purchased by the Grimaldis from the Crown of Aragon (in Spain), effectively giving them rights to rule over Monaco legally. 

Prince Albert II and his family

 Succession law: Male-preference Primogeniture since 1922. Males still precede females in the line of succession, thus, Prince Jacques, who was born minutes after his twin sister, Princess Gabriella, still ahead of her in the line of succession.

Current Sovereign: Prince Albert II since April 5, 2005, upon the death of his father, Prince Rainier III. He is also titled Duke of Valentinois and Marquess of Baux Lord of Monaco.

Heir-Apparent: Jacques, The Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux, eldest legitimate son of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene.

Line of Succession to the Monegasque throne:

  1. Prince Jacques, The Hereditary Prince - eldest legitimate son of Prince Albert II
  2. Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carlades - eldest legitimate daughter of Prince Albert II
  3. Caroline, Princess of Hanover - older sister of Prince Albert II
  4. Andrea Casiraghi - eldest child of Princess Caroline
  5. Alexandre Casiraghi - eldest child of Andrea Casiraghi
  6. Maximilian Casiraghi - second child of Andrea Casiraghi
  7. India Casiraghi - third child of Andrea
  8. Pierre Casiraghi - second son of Princess Caroline
  9. Stefano Casiraghi - eldest child of Pierre
  10. Francesco Casiraghi - second child of Pierre

6. The Netherlands

Royal House: Orange-Nassau (Principality in France and Ducal house in Germany)

The Kingdom of The Netherlands had a long history of why its royal house is Orange-Nassau. The first recognized monarch of the independent Netherlands, where the current Dutch royals directly descended, was King William I, great-grandson of King George II of the United Kingdom. 

He was the last son of the last Stadholder of Holland and the last Prince of Orange-Nassau, William V. His grandmother was Princess Anne, Princess Royal, and the eldest daughter of King George II. He was also the first Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The new constitution of The Netherlands was established during his reign.

In October 2021, the Dutch parliament announced that the future Dutch monarchs can marry a person of the same sex without legal impediments, making the Kingdom of the Netherlands the very first monarchy to do so.

The Dutch royal family, summer photo call 2021

Succession Law: Absolute Primogeniture since 1983

Current Sovereign: King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands since April 30, 2013, upon the abdication of his mother, Queen Beatrix. 

Heir-Apparent: Catharina-Amalia, The Princess of Orange, eldest child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.

Line of Succession to the Dutch throne: Note: Prince Friso (1968-2013), the younger brother of King Willem-Alexander, gave up his rights to the Dutch throne and those of his descendants when he married Mabel Wisse Smit in 2004 without seeking permission from the Council and the parliament.

And also, the one of the younger sisters of Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene and her children, are not in line of succession to the Dutch throne when Princess Irene married without the parliament consent.

The children and grandchildren of Princess Margriet were removed from the line of succession to the Dutch throne in 2013 as the throne is only restricted to the descendants of King Willem-Alexander. Thus, currently, there are only eight persons listed in the line of succession to the Dutch throne.

  1. Catharina-Amalia, The Princess of Orange - eldest daughter of the King
  2. Princess Alexia - second daughter of the King
  3. Princess Ariane - third daughter of the King
  4. Prince Constantijin - younger brother of the King
  5. Countess Eloise - eldest child of Prince Constantijin
  6. Count Claus-Casimir - second child of Prince Constantijin
  7. Countess Leonore - youngest child of Prince Constantijin
  8. Princess Margriet - maternal aunt of the King
You may read the history of the Orange-Nassau royal house HERE

7. Norway

Royal House: Glucksburg (origin: Ducal house in Germany)

Norway became an independent monarchy in 1905 after formally separating from Sweden. It also elected its first monarch, Prince Carl of Denmark, son of King Frederik VIII of Denmark and Princess Louise of Sweden.

King Harald V, Crown Prince Haakon, and Princess Ingrid Alexandra

Prince Carl, whose wife was Princess Maud of Wales, reigned under the regnal name Haakon VII. He and Queen Maud had an only child, Prince Alexander, who succeeded him as Olaf V.

Currently, the line of succession to the Norwegian throne is restricted only to the legitimate descendants of King Harald V and Queen Sonja.

Succession law: Absolute Primogeniture since 1990, but was not applied retroactively, thus Prince Haakon still precedes his older sister, Princess Martha Louise, in the line of succession. 

Current Sovereign: King Harald V since 1991, upon the death of his father, Olaf V. Heir-Apparent: Crown Prince Haakon, the second child and only son of the King.

Line of Succession to the Norwegian throne:

  1. Haakon, The Crown Prince - only son of the King
  2. Princess Ingrid Alexandra - eldest child of the Crown Prince
  3. Prince Sverre Magnus - second child of the Crown Prince
  4. Princess Martha Louise - eldest daughter of the King
  5. Maud Angelica Behn - eldest daughter of Princess Martha Louise
  6. Leah Isadora Behn - second daughter of Princess Martha Louise
  7. Emma Tallulah Behn - - third daughter of Princess Martha Louise

8. Spain

Royal House: Bourbon (origin: French royal house)

The House of Bourbon was founded by Prince Philip of Anjou, the grandson of King Louis XIV of France and Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain, the sister of King Charles II of Spain. 

Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain and her sister, Infanta Maria Ana of Spain were both in line to succeed their childless brother. Thus, when Charles II died without issue, the War of Spanish Succession that dragged much of Europe into the conflict, was triggered.

The conflict began when two claimants insisted their claims, Prince Philip of Anjou and his second cousin, Archduke Charles of Austria. They were grandsons of Infanta Maria Theresa and Infanta Maria Ana.

The Archduke was defeated and the Spanish throne went to Philip of Anjou who reigned in Spain as King Philip V, the founder of the Spanish House of Bourbon.

The Spanish royal family after the abdication of King Juan Carlos

Succession law: Male-preference Primogeniture since the old times. The Spanish parliament planned to change the succession law in 2006 to Absolute Primogeniture, but when Princess Letizia gave birth to another daughter in 2007 (Infanta Sofia), the parliament saw no reason to hurry the change as Princess Leonor's position as next monarch left unthreatened. 

Current Sovereign: King Felipe VI of Spain (Philip VI) since June 19, 2014, upon the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos, due to health reasons.

Heir-presumptive: Leonor, The Princess of Asturias, eldest daughter of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.

Line of Succession to the Spanish throne

  1. Leonor, the Princess of Asturias - eldest daughter of the King
  2. Infanta Sofia - second daughter of the King
  3. Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo - older sister of the King
  4. Don Felipe de Marichalar y Borbon - eldest child of Infanta Elena
  5. Dona Victoria de Marichalar y Borbon - second child of Infanta Elena
  6. Infanta Cristina of Spain - older sister of the King
  7. Don Juan Urdanganin y Borbon - eldest child of Infanta Cristina
  8. Don Pablo Urdanganin y Borbon - second child of Infanta Cristina
  9. Don Miguel Urdanganin y Borbon - third child of Infanta Cristina
  10. Dona Irene Urdanganin y Borbon - fourth child of Infanta Cristina

9. Sweden

Royal House: Bernadotte (origin: French military general)

The House of Bernadotte was founded in 1818 by Jean Bernadotte. He was born in Pau, France, and joined the French army in 1780. 

He was made a brigadier general in 1794. When Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor of France, he made Jean Bernadotte Marshal of the French Empire.

He led the French imperial army through many successful battles, and thus, was made Prince of Pontecorvo as a reward. He married the ex-fiancee of Napoleon Bonaparte, Desiree Clary, the sister-in-law of Joseph Bonaparte (older brother of Napoleon).

He was unexpectedly elected as Heir-presumptive to the childless Swedish king, Charles XIII. He changed his name to Charles John when he became Crown Prince of Sweden.

He succeeded Charles XIII as King Charls XIV John of Sweden and Norway in 1818. His wife, Desiree, changed his name to Desideria when she became Queen consort of Sweden. Their only child became King Oscar I of Sweden.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Estele

Succession law: Absolute Primogeniture since January 1, 1980. Sweden applied the changes retroactively, stripping the only son of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Prince Carl Philip, the title of Crown Prince.

Current Sovereign: King Carl XVI Gustaf since 1973, upon the death of his grandfather, Adolf VI Gustaf. Heir-Apparent: Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastergotland, eldest child of the King.

Line of Succession to the Swedish throne:

  1. Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastergotland - eldest child of the King
  2. Princess Estelle, Duchess of Ostergotland - eldest child of the Crown Princess
  3. Prince Oscar, Duke of Skarne - second child of the Crown Princess
  4. Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Varmland - second child of the King
  5. Prince Alexander, Duke of Södermanland - eldest child of Prince Carl Philip
  6. Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna - second child of Prince Carl Philip
  7. Prince Julian, Duke of Halland - third child of Prince Carl Philip
  8. Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Halsingland and Gastrikland - youngest child of the King
  9. Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland - eldest child of Princess Madeleine
  10.  Prince Nicolas, Duke of Ă…ngermanland - second child of Princess Madeleine

10. The United Kingdom

Royal House: Windsor since July 1917 (origin: Windsor is thoroughly English, taken from the name of Windsor Castle, which existed during the Anglo-saxon days in the 10th century before the Norman conquest).

The current British royals descended from the Hanoverian kings after the Stuart descendants were barred from succeeding the throne in the 18th century due to their Catholic faith.

The House of Hanover in the United Kingdom ended in 1837 when King William IV died without legitimate children. 

He was succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria, in the British throne, however, she cannot wear the crown of Hanover due to Salic law, thus, the Hanoverian throne was inherited by her uncle, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

Victoria chose to reign in the house name of her husband, Prince Albert, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a German ducal house. Their uncle, Prince Leopold became King of Belgium in 1831.

However, in July 1917, her grandson, George V, changed the house name to Windsor due to bitter anti-German sentiments in the United Kingdom during World War I. 

The Queen surrounded by her three male heirs

Succession law: Absolute Primogeniture since 2015.

Current Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II since February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, George VI. 

Heir-apparent: Charles, The Prince of Wales, eldest son of the Queen, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Charles is also a Glucksburg prince through his father.

His full official titles: Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall (since 1952), Duke of Rothesay (when he is in Scotland), Duke of Edinburgh (he automatically inherited the title as the eldest son of Prince Philip), Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Lord of the Isles, Baron Renfrew, Earl Merioneth (he inherited from his father), Baron Greenwich (he inherited from his father), and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland

Line of Succession to the British throne

  1. Charles, The Prince of Wales - eldest son of the Queen
  2. Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge - eldest son of the Prince of Wales
  3. Prince George of Cambridge - eldest son of the Duke of Cambridge
  4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - second child of the Duke of Cambridge
  5. Prince Louis of Cambridge - third child of the Duke of Cambridge
  6. Prince Henry, The Duke of Sussex - second son of the Prince of Wales
  7. Archie Mountbatten-Windsor - eldest child of the Duke of Sussex
  8. Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor - second child of the Duke of Sussex
  9. Prince Andrew, The Duke of York - second son of the Queen
  10. Princess Beatrice, Mrs. Edoardo Mapelli-Mozzi - eldest child of the Duke of York

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