- Line of succession to the Monegasque throne
The line of succession to the Monegasque throne passes to the descendants of the reigning Prince of Monaco in accordance with male-preference primogeniture. The line of succession was most recently and notably modified by a constitutional change implemented by Princely Law 1.249 of 2 April 2002.
Rules of succession
Under the constitution of Monaco, the eldest son of the incumbent inherits the throne, or the eldest daughter if there are no sons. Should the reigning Prince die without legitimate offspring, the succession passes through the Prince's siblings and their legitimate descendants using the same male-preference rule. If a would-be successor dies or renounces the succession, the succession nevertheless passes to his or her own legitimate descendants using the same male-preference rule. The next in line of succession is known as the Hereditary Prince(ss) of Monaco.
If these rules fail to produce an heir, a council of regency takes power until the Crown Council selects a new reigning prince from among the more distant descendants of the House of Grimaldi. Only persons with Monegasque nationality are eligible.
Current line of succession
Current Monarch: Albert II
- HRH The Princess of Hanover, Hereditary Princess of Monaco, elder sister of the Prince
- Andrea Casiraghi, elder son of the Princess of Hanover and Stefano Casiraghi
- Pierre Casiraghi, younger son of the Princess of Hanover and Stefano Casiraghi
- Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of the Princess of Hanover and Stefano Casiraghi
- HRH Princess Alexandra of Hanover, daughter of the Prince and Princess of Hanover
- HSH Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, younger sister of the Prince
- Louis Ducruet, son of Princess Stéphanie and Daniel Ducruet
- Pauline Ducruet, daughter of Princess Stéphanie and Daniel Ducruet
All of the above would be moved down the list if Albert II were to father a legitimate child.
Recent history of the line of succession
The following nine people formerly occupied the ninth through seventeenth places in the line of succession (from 2002, with the new succession rules), but lost their positions upon Prince Albert II's succession to the throne, as succession only passes to the siblings and descendants of the current Prince, and not those of his parents:
- Christian de Massy, eldest son of Princess Antoinette, cousin of Albert II
- Antoine de Massy, younger son of Christian de Massy, first cousin once removed of Albert II
- Laetizia de Massy, daughter of Christian de Massy, first cousin once removed of Albert II
- Jonkheer Sylvestre de Brouwer (b. 2008), grandson of Christian Louis de Massy, second cousin of Albert II (b. 2008)
- Jonkvrouw Rose de Brouwer, granddaughter of Christian Louis de Massy, second cousin of Albert II (b. 2008)
- Elisabeth-Anne de Massy, daughter of Princess Antoinette, cousin of Albert II
- Jean-Léonard Taubert-Natta, son of Elisabeth-Anne de Massy, first cousin once removed of Albert II
- Mélanie de Lusignan, daughter of Elisabeth-Anne de Massy, first cousin once removed of Albert II
- Keith Sebastian Knecht, son of the late Christine de Massy, first cousin once removed of Albert II
- Andrea Knecht, son of Keith Sebastian Knecht, first cousin twice removed of Albert II
- Christine Knecht, daughter of Keith Sebastian Knecht, first cousin twice removed of Albert II
- Alexia Knecht, daughter of Keith Sebastian Knecht, first cousin twice removed of Albert II
- Vittoria Knecht, daughter of Keith Sebastian Knecht, first cousin twice removed of Albert II
Until 2002, the crown of Monaco could only pass to the direct descendants (including adopted children) of the reigning prince. This meant that Princess Antoinette was not in the line of succession and that Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie would lose their places in line at the moment of Prince Albert's succession. This created considerable concern that the throne might fall vacant should Prince Albert inherit the crown and then die without fathering (or adopting) a legitimate heir. In 2002, changes were made to the Constitution of Monaco which eliminated that concern.
Until 2002, the reigning Prince could adopt an heir who would succeed him if the Prince died without biological children. Prince Albert could thus have adopted one of his nephews, or even someone unrelated, and made the person his heir. That option no longer exists. Now, if Prince Albert II fails to marry and father a legitimate heir, the crown will automatically pass to one of his sisters or one of their children—also regardless of any illegitimate children he has fathered.
With the 2002 changes, for a biological descendant to be added to the line of succession and potentially succeed to the throne now, his or her parents must have been legally married at the time of the child's birth, or have subsequently married.
Thus, someone born to unmarried parents, like Princess Stéphanie's youngest child Camille Gottlieb, cannot inherit the crown of Monaco as they are considered illegitimate. Such a person can succeed, however, if their parents subsequently marry. One example is Louis Ducruet. He was born out of wedlock. But because Princess Stéphanie later married Louis' father, Daniel Ducruet, Louis is now considered legitimate. Therefore he is in line and can potentially assume the throne.
Similarly, Louis' half-sister Camille Gottlieb would be legitimated and could join the line of succession if her father is confirmed to be Jean-Raymond Gottlieb and he married Princess Stéphanie. However, this scenario appears unlikely as Princess Stéphanie ended her relationship with Gottlieb some time ago.
Although this rule, called legitimation, has become the norm in the case of ordinary inheritances (for example, the property of commoners) it appears that Monaco is the only monarchy to apply it for succession to the throne.
Under the 2002 succession rules, if Prince Albert II dies without legitimate offspring, the throne will pass to his sister, Princess Caroline. If Princess Caroline were to receive the throne in this manner, her eldest son Andrea would become the heir apparent. At such time, he would receive the traditional titles of the heir to Monaco's throne, becoming HSH Hereditary Prince Andrea of Monaco, Marquis of Baux. Andrea would also then assume the dynastic Grimaldi surname.
After the succession of Prince Albert, his aunt Princess Antoinette and her descendants lost their places in the line of succession. Similarly, upon the succession of any future legitimate child of Prince Albert, Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie and their children will cease to be in the line of succession. Nevertheless, if the line of succession through Albert II should fail at some future time, Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie and their descendants along with the descendants of Princess Antoinette would be eligible for selection by the Crown Council.
- Constitution of Monaco
- List of rulers of Monaco
- List of heirs to the Monegasque throne
- Monaco Succession Crisis of 1918
- Constitution de la Principauté including succession rules (in French)
Orders of succession Monarchies Presidencies
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