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New Era In the Reigning Royal Houses of Europe. Trivia on the Current Crown Heads

reigning monarchs of Europe

Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96, a new era dawned in the European monarchy and another history unfolds.

With the accession of King Charles III to the British throne, another record has set. He is the oldest monarch in modern Europe to ascend the throne at 73, and the longest king-in-waiting in British history, having held the position as heir-apparent since February 1952.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
Queen Margrethe II celebrates 50 years on the throne this year

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark becomes Europe's longest-reigning monarch, and the only reigning Queen in the world today. She is celebrating her 50th anniversary on the Danish throne.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is the first death of a reigning sovereign in Europe in 17 years, after the death of Prince Rainier III of Monaco in April 2005.

King Charles III of Britain
The Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II during Trooping the Colors in June this year

Here are some interesting trivia 

Reigning Crown Heads and the start of their reign 

  1. Belgium - Philippe - July 21, 2013 
  2. Denmark - Margrethe II - January 14, 1972
  3. Liechtenstein - Hans-Adam II - November 13, 1989 
  4. Luxembourg - Henri - October 7, 2000
  5. Monaco - Albert II - April 6, 2005 
  6. Norway - Harald V - January 17, 1991 
  7. Spain - Felipe VI - June 19, 2014
  8. Sweden - Carl XVI Gustaf - September 15, 1973 
  9. The Netherlands - Willem-Alexander - April 30, 2013
  10. United Kingdom - Charles III - September 8, 2022

Royal House name

  1. Belgium: Saxe-Coburg and Gotha/House of Belgium
  2. Denmark: Glucksburg
  3. Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein
  4. Luxembourg: Luxembourg-Nassau
  5. Monaco: Grimaldi
  6. Norway: Glucksburg
  7. Spain: Bourbon
  8. Sweden: Bernadotte 
  9. The Netherlands: Orange-Nassau
  10. United Kingdom: Windsor

King Felipe VI of Spain
King Felipe VI of Spain and his father, King Juan Carlos

Longest reigning monarch. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. She was born on April 16, 1940. She ascended the throne on January 14, 1972, at the age of 31.

Youngest to ascend the throne. King Carl XVI Gustaf. He was only 27 years old when he succeeded his grandfather, King Adolf VI Gustaf in 1973.

Oldest to ascend the throne. King Charles III. He is 73 years old at the time of his accession to the throne. He will turn 74 this coming November 14, 2022.

Oldest reigning monarch as of September 2022. King Harald V of Norway. He was born on February 21, 1937. He is now 85 years old. He has been on the Norwegian throne for 31 years, since January 17, 1991.

Youngest reigning monarch as of September 2022. King Felipe VI of Spain. He was born on January 30, 1968. As of September 2022, he is 54 years old. He ascended the Spanish throne on June 19, 2014 on the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos.

young Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
The young Queen Margrethe II

Their age when they ascended the throne

  1. Belgium - King Philippe at the age of 53
  2. Denmark - Queen Margrethe II at the age of 31
  3. Liechtenstein - Prince Hans-Adam II at the age of 44
  4. Luxembourg - Grand Duke Henri at the age of 45
  5. Monaco - Prince Albert II at the age of 47
  6. Norway - King Harald V at the age of 53
  7. Spain - King Felipe VI of Spain at the age of 46
  8. Sweden - King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at the age of 27
  9. The Netherlands - Willem-Alexander - at the age of 46
  10. United Kingdom - King Charles III at the age of 73
Birthday of the reigning European Sovereigns (oldest to youngest):
  1. King Harald V of Norway - February 21, 1937 (88 years old)
  2. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark - April 16, 1940 (82 years old)
  3. Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein - February 14, 1945 (77 years old)
  4. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden - April 30, 1946 (76 years old)
  5. King Charles III of the UK - November 14, 1948 (73 years old
  6. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg - April 16, 1955 (67 years old)
  7. Prince Albert II of Monaco - March 14, 1958 (64 years old)
  8. King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands - April 27, 1967 (55)
  9. King Felipe VI of Spain - January 30, 1968 (54 years old)
Prince Albert II of Monaco
Prince Albert II of Monaco and his son and heir, Prince Jacques

Years on the throne
  1. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark - 50 years since 1972 
  2. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden - 49 years since 1973
  3. Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein - 33 years since 1989
  4. King Harald V of Norway - 31 years since 1991
  5. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg - 22 years since 2000
  6. Prince Albert II of Monaco - 17 years since 2005
  7. King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands - 9 years since 2013
  8. King Philippe of the Belgians - 9 years since 2013
  9. King Felipe VI of Spain - 8 years since 2014
  10. King Charles III of the UK - less than one month
queen margrethe ii golden jubilee
Cousins: King Harald V of Norway, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

Sovereigns who are cousins

First Cousins:

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf are first cousins through King Adolf VI Gustaf of Sweden, Duke of Vasterbotten, who died in a plane crash in 1947. Queen Margrethe II's mother, Queen Ingrid, and Prince Gustaf Adolf, the father of King Carl XVI Gustaf, were siblings.

King Philippe of the Belgians and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg are first cousins through King Leopold III of Belgium. Grand Duke Henri's mother, Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte, was the older sister of Philippe's father, King Albert II of Belgium.

Likewise, King Harald V and King emeritus Albert II of Belgium are first cousins. Both their mothers (Princess Martha for King Harald and Queen Astrid for King Albert) were siblings.

Second Cousins:

King Charles III is a second cousin once removed to King Harald V of Norway through King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Ando also second cousin once removed to King Felipe VI of Spain (his mother, Queen Sofia, is King Charles III's second cousin through King George I of Greece).

Queen Margrethe II is both second cousin once removed to Grand Duke Henri, King Philippe, and King Harald V through King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Queen Margrethe II is the granddaughter of King Christian X of Denmark. While King Harald V is grandson both of King Haakon VII and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. King Philippe and Grand Duke Henri are grandsons of Queen Astrid, daughter of Princess Ingeborg. Haakon VII, Christian X, and Princess Ingeborg were siblings.

Third Cousins:

King Charles III is both third cousins once removed to the above Crown Heads (plus King Felipe VI) through King Christian IX of Denmark. 

Queen Margrethe II, King Carl XVI Gustaf, King Harald V of Norway, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, (including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip), Duke of Edinburgh, are third cousins through Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

European monarchs
Reigning monarchs in Europe before 2014, seated from left: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, and Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. Standing from left: King Albert II of Belgium, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Harald V of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

The Most Royal Reigning Sovereigns. Meaning both their parents were born of royal blood. In the reigning royal houses of Europe, there are six Crown Heads who have parents born of royal blood.

1. King Harald V of Norway - his parents: King Olaf V of Norway and Princess Martha of Sweden

2. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark - her parents: King Frederik IX of Denmark and Princess Ingrid of Sweden

3. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden - his parents: Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Vasterbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

4. King Charles III of the United Kingdom - his parents: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark

5. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg - his parents: Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium

6. King Felipe VI of Spain - his parents: King Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark

Three reigning Glucksburg

Europe actually has three reigning Glucksburg, the royal house name of Denmark and Norway. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Harald V of Norway, and King Charles III of Britain. It's also the royal house name of the former Kingdom of Greece.

The reigning British king is a Glucksburg prince by bloodline. His father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, directly descended from King Christian IX of Denmark, in a male line. Prince Philip's royal house was Glucksburg before he renounced his Greek royal title in 1947 to marry Princess Elizabeth.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, The Duchess of Brabant, The Princess of Orange

First In Line To The Throne (and their birthdate)
  1. Belgium - Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant - October 25, 2001
  2. Denmark - Crown Prince Frederik - May 26, 1968
  3. Liechtenstein - Alois, The Hereditary Prince - June 11, 1968
  4. Luxembourg - Guillaume, The Hereditary Grand Duke - November 11, 1981
  5. Monaco - Jacques, The Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquess of Baux - December 10, 2014
  6. Norway - Crown Prince Haakon - July 20, 1973
  7. Spain - Leonor, The Princess of Asturias - October 30, 2005
  8. Sweden - Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastergotland - July 14, 1977
  9. The Netherlands - Catharina-Amalia, The Princess of Orange - December 7, 2003
  10. United Kingdom - William, The Prince of Wales - June 21, 1982
King Harald V of Norway (right) and his son and heir, Crown Prince Haakon

Succession Law

Absolute Primogeniture Succession is a succession law that grants equal rights to females. The heir-apparent is the eldest child of the sovereign irrespective of gender. 

Male-preference Primogeniture Succession means that males precede females in the line of succession, a younger brother can outrank an older sister in the line of succession.

Agnatic Primogeniture Succession means only males can ascend the throne. Females and their descendants are not eligible to succeed.

  1. Belgium: Absolute Succession since 1991
  2. Denmark: Absolute Succession since 2009
  3. Liechtenstein: Agnatic Succession since the creation of the house
  4. Luxembourg: Absolute Succession since 2011
  5. Monaco: Male-Preference Succession 
  6. Norway: Absolute Succession since 1990
  7. Spain: Male-preference Succession 
  8. Sweden: Absolute Succession since 1980
  9. The Netherlands: Absolute Succession since 1983
  10. United Kingdom: Absolute Succession since 2013
Who was affected by the new change of succession law?
  1. Belgium: None, because prior to the marriage of then Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, in 1999, the new succession law was already in place.
  2. Denmark: None
  3. Liechtenstein: None
  4. Luxembourg: Prince Sebastien was outranked by his older sister, Princess Alexandra, in the line of succession following the change.
  5. Monaco: None
  6. Norway: None
  7. Spain: None
  8. Sweden: Prince Carl Philip was replaced by his older sister, Princess Victoria as the heir-apparent when the law was implemented retroactively in January 1980.
  9. The Netherlands: None
  10. United Kingdom: Prince Louis of Cambridge (his title when he was born in 2018) became the first British prince to be outranked by an older sister (Princess Charlotte) in the line of succession.
Princess Leonor of Spain
Leonor, Princess of Asturias, heir-presumptive to the Spanish throne

There are four Princesses who are currently first in the line of succession to the throne and if there are no changes in the constitutional responsibilities of the sovereign, they will ascend the throne as queens someday. 

First in line. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, Princess Catharina-Amalia of The Netherlands, and Princess Leonor of Spain.

Sweden and Norway are two monarchies that have females in the second line, in direct succession to the throne. Princess Estelle of Sweden and Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway. 

Prince of Liechtenstein
From left: Alois Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein, Prince Hans-Adam II, Prince Joseph Wenzel

Five countries, apart from the heir-apparent, will have second generation kings. Denmark (Prince Christian), Liechtenstein (Prince Joseph Wenzel), Luxembourg (Prince Charles), and United Kingdom (Prince George of Wales).

The oldest heir-apparent in Europe today is Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at 54 years old while the youngest is Prince Jacques of Monaco at seven years old. Crown Prince Frederik is also the current longest living heir-apparent, having held the position since January 14, 1972. 

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