Europe's 10 Reigning Royal Houses and The First 20 in Line to Succeed

Line of Succession to the Throne

At present, Europe has only 10 reigning royal houses composed of seven kingdoms, two principalities, and one grand duchy. With royal babies born each year and the death or abdication of monarchs, the line of succession of each of the reigning royal houses always saw movements.

We listed down the first 20 individuals (for each royal house) who are eligible to succeed the reigning monarch. Some have fewer than 20 individuals due to the limitation and restriction of the succession law.

Line of Succession to the Throne
Current Crown Heads in Europe

But first, here are the reigning Crown Heads in Europe. We arranged them based on the length of their respective reigns:

  • Carl XVI Gustaf - Sweden (born: 1946) Reign: September 1973
  • Hans-Adam II - Liechtenstein (born: 1945) Reign: November 1989
  • Harald V - Norway (born: 1937) Reign: January 1991
  • Henri - Luxembourg (born: 1955) Reign: October 2000
  • Albert II - Monaco (born: 1958) Reign: April 2005
  • Willem-Alexander - Netherlands (born: 1967) Reign: April 2013
  • Philippe - Belgium (born: 1960) Reign: July 2013
  • Felipe VI - Spain (born: 1968) Reign: June 2014
  • Charles III - UK (born: 1948) Reign: September 2022
  • Frederik X - Denmark (born: 1968) Reign: January 2024

BELGIUM (Kingdom)

Royal House: Belgium

Originally, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (the founder was King Leopold I uncle of both Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), King Albert I changed the royal house name to Belgium in 1920. 

However, the current Belgian royal family still used Saxe-Coburg as their family name. The line of succession to the Belgian throne is currently exclusive to the descendants of King Albert II.

Line of Succession Europe
From left: Princess Eleanore, Prince Gabriel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Emmanuel

Current Head: King Philippe (born: 1960). Reigning since July 2013 upon the abdication of his father, King Albert II (due to health reasons). Consort: Queen Mathilde, born Baroness Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz (from Belgium).

Heir Apparent: Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant (born: 2001)

Succession Law: Absolute Primogeniture (equal rights to females) since 1991

Current Line of Succession:

  1. Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant - Heir Apparent
  2. Prince Gabriel - 2nd child of King Philippe
  3. Prince Emmanuel - 3rd child of King Philippe
  4. Princess Eleanore - 4th child of King Philippe
  5. Princess Astrid, Archduchess of Austria-Este - 2nd child of King Albert II
  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 - 2nd child of Prince Amedeo
  9. Archduchess Alix of Austria-Este - 3rd child of Prince Amedeo
  10. Princess Maria Laura, Archduchess of Austria-Este - 2nd child of Princess Astrid
  11. Prince Joachim, Archduke of Austria-Este - 3rd child of Princess Astrid
  12. Princess Luisa Maria, Archduchess of Austria-Este - 4th child of Princess Astrid
  13. Princess Laetitia Maria, Archduchess of Austria-Este - 5th child of Princess Astrid
  14. Prince Laurent - 3rd child of King Albert II
  15. Princess Louise - eldest child of Prince Laurent
  16. Prince Nicolas - son of Prince Laurent (twin brother of Prince Aymeric)
  17. Prince Aymeric - son of Prince Laurent (twin brother of Prince Nicolas)
DENMARK (Kingdom)

Royal House: Glucksburg (since 1863) founded by King Christian IX
Line of Succession Europe
King Frederik X and Queen Mary with their four children 

The Act of Danish Succession in 1953 stated that the Danish throne must be inherited exclusively by the legitimate descendants of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine. 

However, some of their descendants were removed from the line of succession due to various reasons: Two sons of Prince Knud (younger son of Christian X), and their descendants became ineligible to inherit the throne when the two princes did not seek permission to marry from the reigning monarch at that time, their uncle, King Frederik IX.

Princess Benedikte, the second daughter of Frederik IX, married a German prince, Prince Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, in 1968, her father approved the marriage. Her children would be included in the line of succession provided they would be raised in Denmark until the age of maturity. This was not followed because all children of Princess Benedikte were raised in Germany, and thus, renounced their places in the line of succession.

Princess Anne-Marie (youngest daughter of Frederik IX) renounced her place in the line of succession, and those of her descendants, because she married a foreign monarch, King Constantine II, in 1964.

Current Head: King Frederik X (born: 1968) reigning since January 2024 upon the abdication of her mother, Queen Margrethe II (due to health reasons). Consort: Queen Mary, (Mary Elizabeth Donaldson. Born and raised in Tasmania, Australia but Scottish by blood).

Heir Apparent: Crown Prince Christian (born: 2005)

Line of Succession Europe
King Frederik X and his heir apparent, Crown Prince Christian

Succession Law: Absolute Primogeniture since 2009

Line of Succession:
  1. Crown Prince Christian - Heir Apparent (eldest child of Frederik X)
  2. Princess Isabella - 2nd child of Frederik X
  3. Prince Vincent - 2nd son of Frederik X (twin brother of Princess Josephine)
  4. Princess Josephine - 2nd daughter of Frederik X
  5. Prince Joachim - younger brother of Frederik X
  6. Count Nikolai of Monpezat - eldest child of Prince Joachim
  7. Count Felix of Monpezat - 2nd child of Prince Joachim
  8. Count Henrik of Monpezat - 3rd child of Prince Joachim
  9. Countess Athena of Monpezat - 4th child of Prince Joachim
  10. Princess Benedikte - aunt of Frederik X

LIECHTENSTEIN (Principality)

Royal House: Liechtenstein

The succession to the Liechtenstein throne is governed by the house laws of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, which stipulate agnatic primogeniture, meaning only males can inherit the throne. 

In 1606, the first prince of Liechtenstein, Karl I, and his younger brothers, Maximilian and Gundakar, signed a Family Covenant, agreeing that the headship of the family should pass according to agnatic primogeniture to the heir of the most senior line.

According to the house law, the right to succeed to the throne of Liechtenstein is reserved for male patrilineal descendants of Prince Johann I born to married parents, excluding issues born of marriage to which the sovereign did not consent. 

Line of Succession to the Throne
Prince Hans Adam II surrounded by his two direct heirs Hereditary Prince Alois and Prince Joseph Wenzel

Current Head: Prince Hans Adam II (born: 1945). Reigning since November 1989 upon the death of his father, Franz Joseph II. His wife, Princess Marie, born Countess Marie Kinsky, died in August 2021.

Heir Apparent: Hereditary Prince Alois (born: 1968)

Succession Law: Agnatic Primogeniture (only males can succeed) since 1606

Line of Succession:
  1. Hereditary Prince Alois - Heir Apparent, eldest son of Hans Adam II
  2. Prince Joseph Wenzel - eldest son of Hereditary Prince Alois
  3. Prince Georg - 2nd  son of Hereditary Prince Alois
  4. Prince Nikolaus - 3rd  son of Hereditary Prince Alois
  5. Prince Maximilian - second son of Hans Adam II
  6. Prince Alfons - son of Prince Maximilian
  7. Prince Moritz - nephew of Hans Adam II
  8. Prince Benedikt - nephew of Hans Adam II
  9. Prince Philipp - younger brother of Hans Adam II
  10. Prince Alexander - eldest son of Prince Philipp
  11. Prince Wenzeslaus - 2nd son of Prince Philipp
  12. Prince Rudolf - 3rd son of Prince Philipp
  13. Prince Karl Ludwig - son of Prince Rudolf
  14. Prince Nikolaus - younger brother of Hans Adam II
  15. Prince Josef-Emanuel - son of Prince Nikolaus
  16. Prince Leopold - son of Prince Josef
  17. Prince Andreas - cousin of Hans Adam II
  18. Prince Gregor - cousin of Hans Adam II
  19. Prince Christoph - cousin of Hans Adam II
  20. Prince Hubertus - cousin of Hans Adam II
LUXEMBOURG (Grand Duchy)

Royal House: Luxembourg-Nassau

The constitution of Luxemburg states that the crown is hereditary in the house of Nassau according to the pact of 1783 (Nassau Family Pact). On June 20, 2011, Grand Duke Henri changed the succession law from male-preference primogeniture to absolute primogeniture.

Two male members of the family renounced their places, and those of their descendants, in the line of succession upon marriage. Prince Jean, the younger brother of Grand Duke Henri, and Prince Louis, the third son of Grand Duke Henri.

Line of Succession to the Throne
From left: Hereditary 

Current Head: Grand Duke Henri (born: 1955), reigning since October 7, 2000, upon the abdication of his father, Grand Duke Jean (who died in 2019). Consort: Grand Duchess Maria Teresa (Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista (from Cuba)

Heir Apparent: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (born: 1981)

Succession Law: Absolute Primogeniture (equal rights to females) since 2011. Applied retroactively in the direct descendants of Grand Duke Henri, thus Princess Alexandra (the only daughter of Grand Duke Henri) precedes her younger brother, Prince Sebastien).

However, the sisters of Grand Duke Henri who married foreign royals - Princess Marie-Astrid to Archduke Carl of Austria and Princess Margaretha to Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein (and their descendants), and the Grand Duke's nieces, are removed from the line of succession.

Line of Succession:
  1. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume - Heir Apparent - eldest child of Grand Duke Henri
  2. Prince Charles - eldest child of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
  3. Prince Francis - 2nd child of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
  4. Prince Felix - 2nd child of Grand Duke Henri
  5. Princess Amalia of Nassau - eldest child of Prince Felix
  6. Prince Liam of Nassau - 2nd child of Prince Felix
  7. Prince Balthazar of Nassau - 3rd child of Prince Felix
  8. Princess Alexandra - 4th child of Grand Duke Henri
  9. Prince Sebastien - 5th child of Grand Duke Henri
  10. Prince Guillaume - younger brother of Grand Duke Henri
  11. Prince Paul Louis of Nassau - eldest son of Prince Guillaume
  12. Prince Leopold of Nassau - 2nd son of Prince Guillaume
  13. Prince Jean Andre of Nassau - 3rd son of Prince Guillaume
  14. Prince Robert - cousin of Grand Duke Henri
  15. Prince Alexandre of Nassau - son of Prince Robert
MONACO (Principality)

Royal House: Grimaldi

Under the current constitution of Monaco, the crown passes according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture. Only persons descended from the reigning monarch and the reigning monarch's siblings and their descendants, whose parents have been married at some point with the monarch's approval, and who are Monegasque citizens are eligible.

Current Head: Prince Albert II (born: 1958), reigning since April 2005 upon the death of his father, Prince Rainier III. Consort: Princess Charlene (Charlene Wittstock from South Africa)

Heir Apparent: Hereditary Prince Jacques (born: 2014)

Succession Law: Male-preference Primogeniture (males precede females)

Line of Succession:
  1. Hereditary Prince Jacques - Heir Apparent - eldest legitimate son of Albert II
  2. Princess Gabriella - legitimate daughter of Albert II
  3. Caroline, Princess of Hanover - elder sister of Albert II
  4. Andrea Casiraghi - eldest child of Princess Caroline
  5. Alexandre Casiraghi - eldest child of Andrea
  6. Maximilian Casiraghi - 2nd child of Andrea
  7. India Casiraghi - 3rd child of Andrea
  8. Pierre Casiraghi - 2nd child of Princess Caroline
  9. Stefano Casiraghi - eldest child of Pierre
  10. Francesco Casiraghi - 2nd child of Pierre
  11. Charlotte Casiraghi-Rassam - 3rd child of Princess Caroline
  12. Balthazar Rassam - son of Charlotte
  13. Princess Alexandra of Hanover - 4th child of Princess Caroline
  14. Princess Stephanie - younger sister of Albert II
  15. Louis Ducruet - eldest child of Princess Stephanie
  16. Victoire Ducruet - son of Louis
  17. Pauline Ducruet - 2nd child of Princess Stephanie
NORWAY (Kingdom)

Royal House: Glucskburg

The first Norwegian monarch under independent Norway (1905) was King Haakon VII, the second son of King Frederick VIII of Denmark. His wife, Princess Maud of Wales, was the youngest child of King Edward VII of Britain, and Queen Alexandra, who was also the younger sister of King Frederick VIII.

Haakon VII and Queen Maud had only one child - King Olaf V - who had three children of his own. Currently, the Norwegian throne has only seven individuals eligible to succeed King Harald V.

Line of Succession to the Throne
The King and his heir apparent

Current Head: King Harald V (born: 1937), reigning since January 1991, upon the death of his father, King Olaf V. Consort: Queen Sonja (Sonja Haraldsen from Oslo, Norway)

Heir Apparent: Crown Prince Haakon (born: 1973)

Line of Succession to the Throne
King Harald V and his two direct heirs, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Ingrid Alexandra

Succession Law: Absolute Primogeniture since 1990. Unlike in Sweden, it was not implemented retroactively, thus, Crown Prince Haakon and his descendants still take precedence over his older sister, Princess Märtha Louise, and her eligible descendants.

King Harald V's elder sister, Princess Astrid, and her descendants, along with the descendants of their deceased eldest sister, Princess Ragnhild, are excluded from the line of succession due to the agnatic primogeniture law before 1970.

Line of Succession:
  1. Crown Prince Haakon - son of Harald V
  2. Princess Ingrid Alexandra - eldest child of Haakon
  3. Prince Sverre Magnus - younger child of Haakon
  4. Princess Martha Louise - eldest child of Harald V
  5. Maud Angelica Behn - eldest daughter of Martha Louise
  6. Lea Isadora Behn - 2nd daughter of Martha Louise
  7. Emma Tallulah Behn - youngest daughter of Martha Louise
SPAIN (Kingdom)

Royal House: Bourbon

The 1978 Spanish Constitution limits the line of succession to the Spanish throne to the legitimate direct descendants of King Juan Carlos I.

Line of Succession to the Throne
King Felipe VI and his heir presumptive, Princess Leonor

Current Head: King Felipe VI (born: 1968), reigning since June 2014 upon the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I. Consort: Queen Letizia (Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano from Spain).

Heir Presumptive: Leonor, The Princess of Asturias (born: 2005)

Succession Law: Male-preference Primogeniture (male precedes female)

Line of Succession:
  1. Leonor, the Princess of Asturias - elder daughter of Felipe VI
  2. Infanta Sofia - younger daughter of Felipe VI
  3. Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo - elder sister of Felipe VI
  4. Don Felipe de Marichalar y Borbon, Lord of Tejada - eldest child of Infanta Elena
  5. Doña Victoria de Marichalar y Borbon, Lady of Tejada - younger child of Infanta Elena
  6. Infanta Cristina - elder sister of Felipe VI
  7. Don Juan Urdangarin y Borbón - eldest child of Infanta Cristina
  8. Don Pablo Urdangarin y Borbón - 2nd child of Infanta Cristina
  9. Don Miguel Urdangarin y Borbón - 3rd child of Infanta Cristina
  10. Doña Irene Urdangarin y Borbón - 4th child of Infanta Cristina
SWEDEN (Kingdom)

Royal House: Bernadotte

All sisters of King Carl XVI Gustaf were not eligible to succeed to the British throne due to the previous succession law in Sweden which was agnatic succession where the throne can be passed only to male descendants.

In January 1980, the Absolute Primogeniture Law was implemented and was applied retroactively, replacing Crown Prince Carl Philip with her older sister, now Crown Princess Victoria, as the King's heir apparent.

Line of Succession to the Throne
King Carl XVI Gustaf and his two direct heirs, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Estelle

Current Head: King Carl XVI Gustaf (born: 1946), reigning since September 1973 upon the death of his grandfather, Adolf VI Gustaf. 

Presently, the King is the longest-reigning monarch in Europe after his first cousin, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, abdicated. Consort: Queen Silvia (born Silvia Sommerlath in Germany)

Heir Apparent: Crown Princess Victoria (born: 1977)

Line of Succession:
  1. Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastergotland - eldest child of Carl XVI Gustaf
  2. Princess Estelle, Duchess of Ostergotland - eldest child of the Crown Princess
  3. Prince Oscar, Duke of Skane - 2nd child of the Crown Princess
  4. Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Varmland - 2nd child of Carl XVI Gustaf
  5. Prince Alexander, Duke of Sodernmanland - eldest son of Carl Philip
  6. Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna - 2nd son of Carl Philip
  7. Prince Julian, Duke of Halland - 3rd son of Carl Philip
  8. Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Halsingland and Gastrikland - youngest child of Carl XVI Gustaf
  9. Princess Leonor, Duchess of Gotland - eldest child of Madeleine
  10. Prince Nicolas, Duke of Angermanland - 2nd child of Madeleine
  11. Princess Adriene, Duchess of Blekinge - 3rd child of Madeleine
THE NETHERLANDS (Kingdom)

Royal House: Orange-Nassau

In 1983, the succession law of The Netherlands was changed from male-preference primogeniture to absolute primogeniture. Prince Friso, the second son of Queen Beatrix, renounced his place, and those of his descendants, in the line of succession to the Dutch throne when he married without obtaining parliamentary consent.

Line of Succession to the Throne
King Willem-Alexander and his heir apparent, Princess Catharina-Amalia

Current Head: King Willem-Alexander (born: 1967), reigning since April 2013, upon the abdication of his mother, Queen Beatrix. Consort: Queen Maxima (born Maxima Zorreguieta from Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Heir Apparent: Catharina-Amalia, the Princess of Orange (born: 2003)

Line of Succession: 
  1. Catharina, Amalia, the Princess of Orange - eldest daughter of Willem-Alexander
  2. Princess Alexia - 2nd daughter of Willem-Alexander
  3. Princess Ariane - 3rd daughter of Willem-Alexander
  4. Prince Constantijn - youngest brother of Willem-Alexander
  5. Countess Eloise - eldest child of Prince Constantijn
  6. Count Claus-Casimir - 2nd child of Prince Constantijn
  7. Countess Leonore - 3rd child of Prince Constantijn
  8. Princess Margriet - younger sister of the former Queen Beatrix
THE UNITED KINGDOM (Kingdom)

Royal House: Windsor (since 1917), formerly Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Succession Law: Absolute Primogeniture since 2013 (the change will only affect descendants born from 2013 onwards).

Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, legitimacy, and religion. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Princess Sophia of Hanover (granddaughter of King James I) to prevent the Catholic descendants of King James I from succeeding the throne. 

Descendants who are in "communion with Rome", meaning Roman Catholics, are excluded from the line of succession. However, those who married Catholics will retain their places in the line of succession.

Line of Succession to the Throne
King Charles III and his two direct heirs, Prince William and Prince George

Current Head: King Charles III (born: 1948), reigning since September 2022, upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Consort: Queen Camilla (born Camilla Shand).

Heir Apparent: William, the Prince of Wales (born: 1982)

Line of Succession:
  1. William, the Prince of Wales - eldest son of Charles III
  2. Prince George of Wales - eldest child of the Prince of Wales
  3. Princess Charlotte of Wales - 2nd child of Prince of Wales
  4. Prince Louis of Wales - 3rd child of Prince of Wales
  5. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex - younger son of Charles III
  6. Prince Archie of Sussex - eldest child of the Duke of Sussex
  7. Princess Lilibet of Sussex - younger child of the Duke of Sussex
  8. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York - 2nd son of Queen Elizabeth II
  9. Princess Beatrice - eldest child of the Duke of York
  10. Siena Elizabeth Mapelli-Mozzi - daughter of Princess Beatrice
  11. Princess Eugenie - younger daughter of the Duke of York
  12. August Brooksbank - eldest child of Princess Eugenie
  13. Ernest Brooksbank - 2nd child of Princess Eugenie
  14. Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh - 3rd son of Queen Elizabeth II
  15. James Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl of Wessex - only son of Prince Edward
  16. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor - only daughter of Prince Edward
  17. Anne, the Princess Royal - only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II
  18. Peter Phillips - eldest child of the Princess Royal
  19. Savannah Phillips - eldest child of Peter Phillips
  20. Isla Phillips - eldest child of Peter Phillips

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