Heir presumptive


Heir presumptive

An heir presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honor, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the throne. When lowercased, "heir presumptive" can refer generally to someone who is provisionally scheduled to inherit a title, position or possession, unless displaced by an heir apparent or other heir presumptive. In both cases, the position is however subject to law and/or conventions that may alter who is entitled to be heir presumptive.

Depending on the rules of the monarchy the heir presumptive might be the daughter of a monarch (if males take priority over females and the monarch has no sons), or the senior member of a collateral line (if the monarch is childless).

If an heir apparent is born, he becomes first-in-line to the throne, with all of his descendants taking priority over the heir presumptive in the Line of Succession. In the event of there being an heir apparent, the title "heir presumptive" lapses and is not used to describe the most senior person in the Line of Succession who is not a direct male descendant of the monarch. A woman who is in the same position is sometimes called the heiress presumptive but many monarchies increasingly choose to use heir presumptive irrespective of the sex of the holder.Fact|date=February 2007

For more detailed information, and a comparison between the positions of heir presumptive and heir apparent, see heir apparent.

Several simultaneous

It is relatively easy for there to be several simultaneous heirs presumptive. For example, in England, some hereditary titles pass through and vest in female heirs in the absence of a male heir. Since the title cannot be held by two people simultaneously, two daughters (without a brother) who inherit in this way would do so as co-parceners and before they inherit, both would be heirs presumptive. In these circumstances, the title would in fact be held in abeyance until one person represents the claim of both, or the claim is renounced by one or the other for herself and her heirs, or the abeyance is ended by the Crown. There are special procedures for handling doubtful or disputed cases.

Heirs presumptive as of 2008

*Caroline, Princess of Hanover, is the Heiress Presumptive to the throne of Monaco. If her brother Albert II, Prince of Monaco, fathers a legitimate child, that child would be heir apparent if male or heiress presumptive if female.
*Tupoutookinaa Lavaka (okinaAhookinaeitu okinaUnuakiokinaotonga Tukuokinaaho) is the Heir Presumptive to the throne of Tonga; if his brother King George Tupou V fathers a legitimate child, that child would be heir apparent if male or heiress presumptive if female.
*Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck is the Heir Presumptive to the throne of Bhutan. If his brother Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck fathers a legitimate child, that child would be heir apparent if male or heiress presumptive if female.

Examples of heirs presumptive who inherited thrones

*Queen Mary I of England, who succeeded her half-brother King Edward VI of England
*Queen Elizabeth I of England, who succeeded her half-sister Queen Mary I of England
*King James II of England, who succeeded his brother King Charles II of England
*Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who succeeded her uncle King William IV of the United Kingdom
*King George VI of the United Kingdom, who succeeded his brother King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
*Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who succeeded her father King George VI of the United Kingdom
*King Albert I of the Belgians, who succeeded his uncle King Leopold II of the Belgians
*King Albert II of the Belgians, who succeeded his brother King Baudouin of the Belgians
*King Paul of Greece, who succeeded his brother King George II of Greece
*King Charles X of Sweden, who succeeded his cousin Queen Christina of Sweden
*King Oscar II of Sweden, who succeeded his brother King Charles XV of Sweden
*Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who succeeded her father King Frederick IX of Denmark
*Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg, who succeeded her father Grand Duke Guillaume IV of Luxembourg
*Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, who succeeded her sister Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg

Examples of heirs presumptive who did not inherit thrones

*Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland was heir-presumptive of Sweden between 1973-79, until the birth of Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland superseded him.
*Princess Caroline of Orange-Nassau was the only child of Willem IV of Orange until she was five years old; she was heir presumptive until the birth of her brother, Willem V.
*Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the heir presumptive of his uncle Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria until his assassination in Sarajevo.
*Prince Knud of Denmark was the heir presumptive of his brother King Frederick IX of Denmark, but an amendment to the Danish Constitution in 1953 proclaimed King Frederick's eldest daughter, Princess Margrethe as the future heir presumptive.

See also

*Monarchy
*Constitutional Monarchy


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  • Heir Presumptive — (oder heiress presumptive) ist die Bezeichnung für den (die) voraussichtliche(n) britischen Thronfolger(in) oder den (die) voraussichtliche(n) Erben (Erbin) eines Adelstitels, wenn die Möglichkeit besteht, dass diese(r) noch durch die Geburt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • heir presumptive — see heir Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. heir presumptive n …   Law dictionary

  • Heir presumptive — Heir Heir ([^a]r), n. [OE. heir, eir, hair, OF. heir, eir, F. hoir, L. heres; of uncertain origin. Cf. {Hereditary}, {Heritage}.] 1. One who inherits, or is entitled to succeed to the possession of, any property after the death of its owner; one… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • heir presumptive — ► NOUN (pl. heirs presumptive) ▪ an heir whose claim may be set aside by the birth of another heir …   English terms dictionary

  • heir presumptive — n. pl. heirs presumptive an heir whose right to a certain property or title will be lost if someone more closely related to the ancestor is born before that ancestor dies: see HEIR APPARENT …   English World dictionary

  • heir presumptive — noun a person who expects to inherit but whose right can be defeated by the birth of a nearer relative • Ant: ↑heir apparent • Hypernyms: ↑heir, ↑inheritor, ↑heritor * * * ˌheir preˈsumptive [heir presumptive heirs presumptive …   Useful english dictionary

  • heir presumptive — heir′ presump′tive n. pl. heirs presumptive law a person who is expected to be the heir but whose expectations may be canceled by the birth of a nearer heir • Etymology: 1620–30 …   From formal English to slang

  • heir presumptive — noun (plural heirs presumptive) an heir whose claim may be set aside by the birth of another heir. Compare with heir apparent …   English new terms dictionary

  • heir presumptive — pl. heirs presumptive. a person who is expected to be the heir but whose expectations may be canceled by the birth of a nearer heir. [1620 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • heir presumptive — /ɛə prəˈzʌmptɪv/ (say air pruh zumptiv) noun (plural heirs presumptive) an heir whose expectation may be defeated by the birth of a nearer heir …   Australian English dictionary


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