European Monarchy's 10 Heir To The Throne. Their Profile and What They Do

10 Heir apparent in Europe

Europe has 10 reigning royal houses. Seven Kingdoms, two Principalities, and one Grand Duchy. Since the abdication of Queen Margrethe II early this year, the continent does not have any reigning Queens. however, four princesses are next in line.

Let's get to know more about these heirs who are next in line to succeed. All are heir-apparent, except Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, who is heir-presumptive because Spain has not yet changed its law of succession, they still follow the male-preference primogeniture succession.

1. Belgium: Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant

  • Full name in Dutch: Elisabeth Theresia Maria Helena
  • Full name in French: Élisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène
  • Birthdate: October 25, 2001
  • Heir apparent since July 21, 2013
  • Years as heir apparent: 10 years
  • House: Belgium (surname: Saxe-Coburg)
  • Monarch: HM King Philippe
  • Education: History and Politics, Oxford University
Princess Elisabeth Duchess of Brabant
HRH The Duchess of Brabant 

Belgium has followed an Absolute Law of Succession since 1990, making Princess Elisabeth Belgian heir since her birth in 2001. If she can succeed to the throne someday, she will be the first Queen regnant of Belgium.

As a preparation for her role as Belgium's next monarch, she trained in the military upon turning 18. In September 2023, she received her commission as second lieutenant in the Belgian army. 

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
Princess Elisabeth with her father King Philippe, and younger brother who is ber "spare", Prince Gabriel. Photo credit: Belgian Royal Palace
The House of Belgium
Prince Gabriel, King Philippe, and Princess Elisabeth

She also went to UWC of the Atlantic in the UK for her IB diploma. She is in her final years in college taking up politics and history at the Lincoln College of Oxford University, UK.

Since turning 18 in 2019, Princess Elisabeth has been taking official royal duty, sharing the workload with her parents as her younger siblings are not yet working royals.

2. Denmark: Crown Prince Christian

  • Full name: Christian Valdemar Henri John
  • Birthdate: October 15, 2005
  • Heir apparent since January 14, 2024
  • Years as heir apparent: Only two months
  • House: Glucksburg
  • Monarch: HM King Frederik X
  • Education: Ordrup Gymnasium, a public secondary school in Denmark
Crown Prince Christian of Denmark
HRH The Crown Prince of Denmark

According to royal analysts, Prince Christian is the most unprepared adult Crown Prince in Europe, as the abdication of his grandmother, Queen Margrethe, in January was sudden. On what could have been his period to enjoy his teenage life, now Prince Christian is suddenly thrust into the limelight of royal duty.

Prince Christian of Denmark
Crown Prince Christian with his parents, King Frederik X and Queen Mary. Photo credit: Dennis Stenild, Danish Royal House 

He is the only adult heir apparent in Europe who has not yet trained in the military perhaps due to his schooling schedule. He is currently in his last year in high school. 

Military training is necessary for heirs to the throne because when they succeed to the throne, they also assume the role of a Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Since turning 18 on the 15th of October 2023, Crown Prince Christian has been a member of the Council of State and is eligible to stand in on his father's behalf if the king is indisposed or out of the country. 

No plans are laid yet as to what activities the Crown Prince will be taking in the upcoming months as his high school graduation gets near.

3. Liechtenstein: Hereditary Prince Alois

  • Full name: Alois Philipp Maria
  • Birthdate: June 11, 1968 (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Heir apparent since November 13, 1989
  • Years as heir apparent: 34 years
  • Regent of Liechtenstein since August 15, 2004
  • House: Liechtenstein
  • Monarch: HSH Hans-Adam II, the Sovereign Prince
  • Education: Law with master's degree, University of Salzburg
Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein
HSH The Sovereign Prince and his son, HSH The Hereditary Prince

Liechtenstein is the only reigning royal house in Europe that still follows the Agnatic Succession Law, an archaic law of succession that only allows male descendants to inherit the throne.

The Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein is also the only Crown Head in Europe who retains legislative power, meaning he has the right to veto laws and elect judges.

The Hereditary Prince Alois held the position of heir apparent since his father's accession to the Liechtenstein throne on November 13, 1989. On August 15, 2004, His father made him Regent, transferring his father's day-to-day government decisions to him including representing the country to overseas royal events. 

The Hereditary Prince enrolled at the Royal Military Sandhurst in the UK for his military officer training, graduating with a second lieutenant rank. He served for six months with the Coldstream Guards in Hong Kong and London.

He completed his law studies in 1993 with a master's degree at the University of Salzburg in Austria. From September 1993 to May 1996 he worked for an auditing company in London before he moved back to Liechtenstein to manage the princely estate.

Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein
Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein attend the Coronation of King Charles III

In 1993, he married Duchess Sophie of Bavaria from the House of Wettelsbach, the former ruling family of Bavaria in Germany. 

Hereditary Princess Sophie is heiress to the Jacobite succession (a line through which Jacobites, meaning the supporters of the ousted British king, James II, believed the thrones of Scotland and England should be passed), as a descendant of King Charles I of Britain.

The Hereditary Prince and Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein have four children, three sons, and one daughter. 

4. Luxembourg: Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke

  • Full name: Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie
  • Birthdate: November 11, 1981
  • Heir apparent since October 7, 2000
  • Years as heir apparent: 23 years
  • House: Luxembourg-Nassau
  • Monarch: HRH Grand Duke Henri
  • Education: Literature and Political Science, University of Angers, France
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
From left: Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa holding Prince Francis, Princess Stephanie, and Prince Guillaume, in front is Prince Charles. Photo credit: Grand Ducal House

Prince Guillaume has been heir apparent to the crown of Luxembourg since October 7, 2000, upon the abdication of his grandfather, Grand Duke Jean. But only became The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg on December 18, 2000, after he was officially sworn in.

His grandmother, Princess Josephine Charlotte was the older sister of King Albert II of Belgium, both first cousins of King Harald V of Norway. 

Prince Guillaume has been a member of the Council of State of Luxembourg since June 21, 2005. He regularly attends the plenary sessions and various committees in Luxembourg, which enable him to deepen his knowledge of the institutional and legislative workings of the country.

He regularly participated in the various economic and social initiatives of the Luxembourg Government. Since 2009, the Hereditary Grand Duke has been a full-time working royal, representing the grand ducal house in local and overseas events.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
Prince Guillaume, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Grand Duke Henri, and Princess Stephanie

He attended Swiss boarding schools at the Institut Le Rosey and the Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil where he finished the French baccalaureate in 2001.

He completed his one-year military officer training at the Royal Military Sandhurst in the United Kingdom in August 2002.

Prince Guillaume completed his postgraduate training at the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in London in 2019. He holds the rank of colonel in the Luxembourg army.

Prince Guillaume married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy, a Belgian aristocrat, in October 2012. They have two sons now, Prince Charles and Prince Francis.

5. Monaco: Hereditary Prince Jacques

  • Full name: Jacques Honoré Rainier
  • Birthdate: December 10, 2014
  • Heir apparent since birth
  • Years as heir apparent: 9 years
  • Monarch: HSH Albert II, the Sovereign Prince
  • House: Grimaldi
  • Education: Elementary pupil in Monaco
Hereditary Prince Jacques of Monaco has been heir apparent since his birth in December 2014. He is currently the youngest heir to the throne in Europe.

Prince Jacques of Monaco
Jacques, the Hereditary Prince of Monaco

Despite his young age, Prince Jacques has been exposed to public duties early in his life. In 2021, he began participating in the public activities of the Monegasque royals, accompanying his parents in many royal functions.

Prince Jacques of Monaco
Prince Jacques and his father, Prince Albert II

He is currently an elementary pupil at a local school in Monaco, enjoying his school life with his twin sister, Princess Gabriella. 

6. Netherlands: Catharina-Amalia, the Princess of Orange

  • Full name: Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria
  • Birthdate: December 7, 2003
  • Heir apparent since April 30, 2013
  • Years as heir apparent: 10 years
  • House: Orange-Nassau
  • Monarch: HM King Willem-Alexander
  • Education: Bachelor's program (PPLE), University of Amsterdam
Princess Catharina-Amalia
HRH The Princess of Orange ©RVD - Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk

The Kingdom of the Netherlands adopted the Absolute Law of Succession in the early 1980s, thus, as the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander, Princess Catharina-Amalia is automatically the heir apparent. 

Unlike her two younger sisters who went abroad to get an IB diploma, The Princess of Orange chose to remain in the Netherlands, finishing her high school in 2021. She took a gap year to undertake an internship at the Orange Fund, volunteering for other organizations.

Princess Catharina-Amalia
King Willem-Alexander and his heir apparent, The Princess of Orange. ©RVD - Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk 

In the autumn of 2022, she began her university life, attending classes in Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics (PPLE) at the University of Amsterdam.

Since turning 18 in December 2021, the Princess of Orange has been a member of the Council of State and its Advisory Division. She has trained in the military to prepare for her future role as head of state.

She is currently focusing on her studies and does not take royal duties. But when her academic schedule permits, Princess Catharina-Amalia will participate in public engagements. 

7.  Norway: Crown Prince Haakon

  • Full name: Haakon Magnus
  • Birthdate: July 20, 1973
  • Heir apparent since January 17, 1991
  • Years as heir apparent: 33
  • House: Glucksburg
  • Monarch: HM King Harald V
  • Education: BA in Political Science, University of California-Berkeley; Master of Science in Development Studies, specializing in international trade and Africa, London School of Economics
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
HRH The Crown Prince of Norway

Crown Prince Haakon is the younger child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway. In 1990, the Norwegian constitution adopted the Absolute Law of Succession, but unlike in Sweden where they applied the change retroactively, in Norway, it was not, thus, Crown Prince Haakon is still ahead of his older sister, Princess Martha-Louise, in the line of succession.

Apart from his Political Science degree, the Crown Prince attended lectures about the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs civil servant introductory course at the University of Oslo. 

He obtained a Master of Science degree in Development Studies, specializing in international trade and Africa, from the London School of Economics in 2003.

He has a particular interest in cultural matters and has patronages related to this interest. He has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program since 2003.

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
Crown Prince Haakon and his father, King Harald V

As a future Norwegian king, he trained in all three branches of the military in Norway. He has the rank of Admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy and the rank of General in the Norwegian Army and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Since 2016, he has been a certified military paratrooper in Norway after completing an Army paratrooper course. In recent years, he increased his workload of royal duties due to his father's health.

Early this month, he is serving as Norway's Regent for the third time due to his father's sick leave after the monarch caught an infection while on vacation in Malaysia. 

In 2001, he married a single mother, Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a situation that created a stir in Norwegian society at that time. They have two children together: Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus.

8. Spain: Leonor, the Princess of Asturias

  • Full name:  Leonor de Todos los Santos
  • Birthdate: October 31, 2005
  • Heir presumptive since June 19, 2014
  • Years as heir presumptive: 9
  • House: Bourbon
  • Monarch: HM King Felipe VI
  • Education: IB Diploma, UWC Atlantic, Wales, UK
Princess Leonor of Spain
HRH The Princess of Asturias

Leonor, the Princess of Asturias has been heir presumptive to the throne of Spain since her grandfather, King Juan Carlos I, abdicated on June 19, 2014. Heir presumptive because the Spanish constitution has not yet altered its law of succession. 

The Princess of Asturias was formally proclaimed heiress to the Spanish throne on her 18th birthday, October 31, 2023, when she took an Oath of Allegiance before the Spanish Parliament.

Princess Leonor of Spain
Princess Leonor and her father, King Felipe VI of Spain

After her IB graduation at UWC, Princess Leonor began a three-year military training at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza, Spain, which means she will be foregoing a university education, at least for the time being while training in the military. 

Her full titles are Princess of Asturias, Princess of Girona, Princess of Viana, Duchess of Montblanc, Countess of Cervera, and Lady of Balaguer.

Should she ascend to the throne as expected, she will be Spain's second queen regnant after Queen Isabella II in the 19th century.

9. Sweden: Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastergotland

  • Full name: Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée
  • Birthdate: July 14, 1977
  • Heir apparent since January 1, 1980
  • Years as heir apparent: 44
  • House: Bernadotte
  • Monarch: HM King Carl XVI Gustaf
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts degree, University of Uppsala in Sweden
HRH The Crown Princess of Sweden

When Crown Princess Victoria was born in 1977, she was not expected to inherit the throne. Sweden at that time followed the male-preference primogeniture succession. Two years later, her younger and only brother, Prince Carl Philip, was born, and he was the Crown Prince at birth.

But on January 1, 1980, the Swedish Constitution altered its law of succession and adopted the Absolute Primogeniture Law, but unlike other monarchies in Europe, it was applied retroactively in Sweden, making Prince Carl Philip lose the title of the Crown Prince. Victoria replaced her brother as the heir apparent and held the title of Crown Princess from then on. 

Crown Princess Victoria, her daughter, Princess Estelle, and her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf

She went to the United States in 1998 to study various subjects at Yale University. She also took an internship at the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C in May 1999, completing a study program at the Government Offices in 2001.

Just like most future monarchs, Crown Princess Victoria completed basic soldier training at SWEDINT (the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre) in 2003.

In 2006, she enrolled in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Diplomat Program, a training program for young future diplomats. Three years later, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Uppsala University.

In January 2016, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed her a member of Sustainable Development Goals Advocates for Agenda 2030. She is, therefore, one of the 16 ambassadors in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocacy Group. 

The group's task is to promote the UN's Sustainable Development Goals – Agenda 2030 – in various ways. The Crown Princess primarily works with issues concerning water and health.

Crown Princess Victoria began a relationship with her gym trainer, Daniel Westling, in 2002, they became engaged in February 2009 and wed on June 19, 2010. They have two children now, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. 

She is dubbed as the godmother of Europe because she has royal godchildren more than any other royals in Europe. Her godchildren are Prince Alexios Constantine of Greece (eldest son of Crown Prince Pavlos),  Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, The Princess of Orange, Crown Prince Christian of Denmark, Princess Eleonore of Belgium, Prince Gabriel (her nephew), and Princess Leonore (her niece).

10. United Kingdom: William, The Prince of Wales

  • Full name: William Arthur Philip Louis
  • Birthdate: June 21, 1982
  • Heir apparent since September 8, 2022
  • Years as heir apparent: One year
  • House: Windsor
  • Monarch: HM King Charles III
  • Education: Geography, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
William, the Prince of Wales
HRH The Prince of Wales

Prince William, the Prince of Wales is the eldest son of King Charles III and his first wife, Diana, the Princess of Wales. From his mother's side, he descended from King Charles II (Stuart).

Prince William is the first British heir to study at Eton College, an elite boarding school for boys in the United Kingdom. He took a gap year after high school graduation to do volunteer work abroad. 

In 2001, he enrolled in the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and took up Art History, but the following year, he switched to Geography. Prince William was appointed a Councilor of State when he reached 21.

After university, he interned in land management at Chatsworth House (the official seat of the Duke of Devonshire) to learn about agriculture, in preparation for his future role as Duke of Cornwall.

He then began his officer training at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst giving him the name, Lieutenant Wales. Then he trained at the Royal Air Force College to join the RAF Search and Rescue Force. He served as a full-time pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance for two years. He also trained in the Royal Navy, obtaining his commission as a sub-lieutenant.

King Charles III coronation portrait
King Charles III and his two heirs, Prince William and Prince George

Prince William left his work in the military in 2017 to become a full-time working royal. He is a patron of more than 30 charities and organizations with a focus on mental health, sustainability development, the green environment, and wildlife conservation.

In 2020, he launched the Earthshot Prize, which aims a provide funding and incentives for environmental solutions over the next decade. 

Since 2021, the Prize has been awarded to five winners each year (until 2030). The criteria for choosing winners are in accordance with the sustainability goals of the United Nations: restoration of nature, air cleanliness, ocean conservation, waste-free living, and climate change.

His grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, created him Duke of Cambridge upon his marriage to Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011. 

On the accession of his father's accession to the British throne on September 8, 2022, he automatically became the Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He was created Prince of Wales on the following day.

  • Oldest heir apparent: Alois, the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein
  • Longest serving heir apparent: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
  • Youngest heir apparent: Hereditary Prince Jacques of Monaco
  • Newest heir apparent: Crown Prince Christian of Denmark

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