Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred reigned as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 1893 to 1900. He was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, he was known as the Duke of Edinburgh from 1866 until he succeeded his paternal uncle Ernest II as the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in the German Empire. Prince Alfred was born on 6 August 1844 at Windsor Castle to the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the second son of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, he was second in the line of succession behind the Prince of Wales. Alfred was baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Howley, at the Private Chapel in Windsor Castle on 6 September 1844, his godparents were Prince George of Cambridge. Alfred studied violin at Holyrood, where his accompanist was Hungarian expatriate George Lichtenstein. Alfred remained second in line to the British throne from his birth until 8 January 1864, when his older brother Edward and his wife Alexandra of Denmark had their first son, Prince Albert Victor.
Alfred became third in line to the throne and as Edward and Alexandra continued to have children, Alfred was further demoted in the order of succession. In 1856, at the age of 12, it was decided that Prince Alfred, in accordance with his own wishes, should enter the Royal Navy. A separate establishment was accordingly assigned to him, with Lieutenant J. C. Cowell, RE, as governor, he passed the examination in August 1858, was appointed as midshipman in HMS Euryalus at the age of 14. In July 1860, while on this ship, he paid an official visit to the Cape Colony, made a favourable impression both on the colonials and on the native chiefs, he took part in a hunt at Hartebeeste-Hoek, resulting in the slaughter of large numbers of game animals. On the abdication of King Otto of Greece, in 1862, Prince Alfred was chosen to succeed him, but the British government blocked plans for him to ascend the Greek throne because of the Queen's opposition to the idea, she and her late husband had made plans for him to succeed to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg.
Prince Alfred, remained in the navy, was promoted to lieutenant on 24 February 1863, serving under Count Gleichen on the corvette HMS Racoon. He was promoted to captain on 23 February 1866 and was appointed to the command of the frigate HMS Galatea in January 1867. In the Queen's Birthday Honours on 24 May 1866, the Prince was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Ulster, Earl of Kent, with an annuity of £15,000 granted by Parliament, he took his seat in the House of Lords on 8 June. While still in command of the Galatea, the Duke of Edinburgh started from Plymouth on 24 January 1867 for his voyage around the world. On 7 June 1867, he left Gibraltar, reached the Cape of Good Hope on 24 July and paid a royal visit to Cape Town on 24 August 1867 after landing at Simon's Town a while earlier, he landed at Glenelg, South Australia, on 31 October 1867. Being the first member of the royal family to visit Australia, he was received with great enthusiasm. During his stay of nearly five months he visited Adelaide, Sydney and Tasmania.
Adelaide school Prince Alfred College was named in his honour to mark the occasion. On 12 March 1868, on his second visit to Sydney, he was invited by Sir William Manning, President of the Sydney Sailors' Home, to picnic at the beachfront suburb of Clontarf to raise funds for the home. At the function, he was wounded in the back by a revolver fired by Henry James O'Farrell. Alfred was shot just to the right of his spine and was tended for the next two weeks by six nurses, trained by Florence Nightingale and led by Matron Lucy Osburn, who had just arrived in Australia in February 1868. In the violent struggle during which Alfred was shot, William Vial had managed to wrest the gun away from O'Farrell until bystanders assisted. Vial, a master of a Masonic Lodge, had helped to organise the picnic in honour of the Duke's visit and was presented with a gold watch for securing Alfred's life. Another bystander, George Thorne, was wounded in the foot by O'Farrell's second shot. O'Farrell was arrested at the scene tried and hanged on 21 April 1868.
On the evening of 23 March 1868, the most influential people of Sydney voted for a memorial building to be erected, "to raise a permanent and substantial monument in testimony of the heartfelt gratitude of the community at the recovery of HRH". This led to a public subscription. Alfred soon recovered from his injury and was able to resume command of his ship and return home in early April 1868, he reached Spithead on 26 June 1868, after an absence of seventeen months. He visited Hawaii in 1869 and spent time with the royal family there, where he was presented with leis upon his arrival, he was the first member of the royal family to visit New Zealand, arriving in 1869 on HMS Galatea. He became the first European prince to visit Japan and on 4 September 1869, he was received at an audience by the teenaged Emperor Meiji in Tokyo; the Duke's next voyage was to India, where he arrived in December 1869 and Ceylon, which he visited the following year. In both countries and at Hong Kong, which he visited on the way, he was the first British prince to set foot in the country.
The native rulers of India vied with one another in the magnif
Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony has been the head of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha since 1998. He is the grandson of the last ruling duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Prince Andreas was born at Schloss Casel in Lower Lusatia to Friedrich Josias, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the former Countess Viktoria-Luise of Solms-Baruth. In 1949 he moved to New Orleans in the United States where he spent his childhood with his mother and her second husband, Richard Whitten. Prince Andreas became heir apparent to the headship of the ducal house on 6 March 1954, when his father became the head. From the age of 16 he made regular visits to Germany in preparation for his future role as head of the ducal house, permanently returning in 1965, he completed his military service between 1966 and 1968 in the Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 6 based in Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein. After leaving the army he trained as a timber merchant in Hamburg from 1969 to 1971. Prince Andreas succeeded to the Headship on his father's death on 23 January 1998.
In 2006, Prince Andreas created the Ducal Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House Order, based on the extinct Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order. Prince Andreas is a first cousin of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, he is the godfather of the king's youngest daughter Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. Prince Andreas is the owner of Greinburg Castle in Grein, Austria, he manages the family estates including farms and real estate. In Hamburg on 31 July 1971, Andreas married Carin Dabelstein, daughter of Adolf Wilhelm Martin Dabelstein, Fabrikant and wife Irma Maria Margarete Callsen; the marriage, although unequal, is not morganatic, was authorized by Andreas's father. They have had three children, who inherit the ducal styles and titles: Princess Stephanie Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. A muscle release therapist for horses. Married civilly to Jan Stahl, an engineer with BMW, at Friedenstein Palace on 6 July 2018. Hubertus Michael, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the heir-apparent to the Headship.
Married to Kelly Jeanne Rondesvedt civilly on 21 May 2009 in Coburg and religiously on 23 May 2009 at Callenberg Castle. They have issue. Prince Alexander Philip of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha: Co-Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Ducal Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House Order Sweden: Recipient of the 70th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf Callenberg Castle website
German Revolution of 1918–19
The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution; the causes of the revolution were the extreme burdens suffered by the population during the four years of war, the strong impact of the defeat on the German Empire and the social tensions between the general population and the elite of aristocrats and bourgeoisie who held power and had just lost the war. The roots of the revolution lay in the German Empire's defeat in the First World War and the social tensions that came to a head shortly thereafter; the first acts of revolution were triggered by the policies of the German Supreme Command of the Army and its lack of coordination with the Naval Command.
In the face of defeat, the Naval Command insisted on trying to precipitate a climactic battle with the British Royal Navy by means of its naval order of 24 October 1918. The battle never took place. Instead of obeying their orders to begin preparations to fight the British, German sailors led a revolt in the naval ports of Wilhelmshaven on 29 October 1918, followed by the Kiel mutiny in the first days of November; these disturbances spread the spirit of civil unrest across Germany and led to the proclamation of a republic on 9 November 1918. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Wilhelm II fled the country; the revolutionaries, inspired by socialist ideas, did not hand over power to Soviet-style councils as the Bolsheviks had done in Russia, because the leadership of the Social Democratic Party of Germany opposed their creation. The SPD opted instead for a national assembly that would form the basis for a parliamentary system of government. Fearing an all-out civil war in Germany between militant workers and reactionary conservatives, the SPD did not plan to strip the old German upper classes of their power and privileges.
Instead, it sought to integrate them into the new social democratic system. In this endeavour, SPD leftists sought an alliance with the German Supreme Command; this allowed the army and the Freikorps to quell the communist Spartacist uprising of 4–15 January 1919 by force. The same alliance of political forces succeeded in suppressing uprisings of the left in other parts of Germany, with the result that the country was pacified by late 1919. Elections for the new Weimar National Assembly were held on 19 January 1919; the revolution ended on 11 August 1919. In the decade after 1900, the Social Democratic Party of Germany was the leading force in Germany's labour movement. With 35% of the national votes and 110 seats in the Reichstag elected in 1912, the Social Democrats had grown into the largest political party in Germany. Party membership was around one million, the party newspaper attracted 1.5 million subscribers. The trade unions had 2.5 million members, most of whom supported the Social Democrats.
In addition, there were numerous co-operative societies, other organizations directly linked to the SPD and the labor unions, or else adhering to Social Democratic ideology. Other notable parties in the Reichstag of 1912 were the Catholic Centre Party, the German Conservative Party, the National Liberal Party, the Progressive People's Party, the Polish Party, the German Reich Party, the Economic Union, the Alsace-Lorraine Party. At the congresses of the Second Socialist International, the SPD had always agreed to resolutions asking for combined action of Socialists in case of a war. Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the SPD, like other socialist parties in Europe, organised anti-war demonstrations during the July Crisis. After Rosa Luxemburg called for disobedience and rejection of war in the name of the entire party as a representative of the left wing of the party, the Imperial government planned to arrest the party leaders at the onset of war. Friedrich Ebert, one of the two party leaders since 1913, travelled to Zürich with Otto Braun to save the party's funds from being confiscated.
After Germany declared war on the Russian Empire on 1 August 1914, the majority of the SPD newspapers shared the general enthusiasm for the war because they viewed the Russian Empire as the most reactionary and anti-socialist power in Europe. In the first days of August, the editors believed themselves to be in line with the late August Bebel, who had died the previous year. In 1904, he declared in the Reichstag that the SPD would support an armed defence of Germany against a foreign attack. In 1907, at a party convention in Essen, he promised that he himself would "shoulder the gun" if it was to fight against Russia, the "enemy of all culture and all the suppressed". In the face of the general enthusiasm for the war among the population, which foresaw an attack by the Entente powers, many SPD deputies worried they might lose many of their voters with their consistent pacifism. In addition, the government of Imperial Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg threatened to outlaw all parties in case of war.
On the other hand, the chancellor exploited the anti-Russian stance of the SPD to procure the party's approval for the war. The party leadership and the party's deputies were split on the issue of support for the war: 96 deputies, including Friedrich Ebert, approved the war bonds demanded by the Imperial government. There we
Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (pilot)
Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was a German courier pilot and a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, which reigned over the eponymous duchy in the German Empire. Born a prince of Great Britain and Ireland as the great-grandson of Queen Victoria, Hubertus lost this title during the First World War, he became heir apparent to the headship of his house in 1932, he never married. Hubertus joined the Nazi Party upon the outbreak of the Second World War despite his opposition to Adolf Hitler and Nazism, he served in the German Army on the Eastern Front. He is the maternal uncle of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Prince Hubertus was born on 24 August 1909 at German Empire. A 72-gun salute took place at Friedenstein Palace 40 minutes after the Prince's birth; the third child and second son of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, he was christened Dietmar Hubertus Friedrich Wilhelm Philipp on 21 September with his maternal grandfather, Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, serving as godfather.
Besides ruling a state of the German Empire, Charles Edward was a British peer and a British prince as the grandson of Queen Victoria. Charles Edward lost his Coburg and Gotha throne during the German Revolution of 1918–19, was stripped of his British titles in 1919 for siding with Germany in the First World War. Hubertus had an older brother, Hereditary Prince Johann Leopold, heir apparent to their father, three more siblings: Princess Sibylla, Princess Caroline Mathilde, Prince Friedrich Josias. Though Charles Edward was brought up as an Englishman and the family spoke English at home, Hubertus spoke German fluently, as did his siblings, he was hindered by timidity but was the favourite of the family. He was close to his sister Sibylla and remained her confidant in adulthood; the children lived in fear of their father, who ran his family "like a military unit". Little is known about the career of Prince Hubertus, he received a private education before enrolling at the Gymnasium Casimirianum in Coburg.
He studied law. According to Harald Sandner, biographer of Duke Charles Edward, it became evident during the studies that Prince Hubertus was homosexual, but his sexual orientation remained secret; when his brother Hereditary Johann Leopold renounced his succession rights in order to marry a commoner in 1932, Hubertus became the new heir apparent to the defunct throne of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The same year, Hubertus attended the wedding of his sister Sibylla and Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Västerbotten, staying close to the bride during the ceremony. Hubertus himself was not willing to marry; the father of Prince Hubertus, Duke Charles Edward, was an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler. The entire family enthusiastically welcomed the rise of German nationalism. Soon, however and his mother, Duchess Victoria Adelaide, grew to despise the rising Nazi Party. After witnessing the torture of Jews, Prince Hubertus was forbidden to discuss it at home; the Second World War broke out in September 1939, all of Charles Edward's sons were enlisted in the German Army.
Prince Hubertus formally became a member of the Nazi Party on 19 October 1939, but remained opposed to Hitler for the rest of his life. In 1940, Hitler issued the Prinzenerlass, a decree prohibiting members of Germany's reigning families from serving in the Wehrmacht, fearing that this would increase the public's sympathy for the deposed dynasties and threaten his grip on power; such was Charles Edward's loyalty to Hitler, that the decree did not apply to the Duke's sons. During the war it was reported that Hitler considered making Hubertus his Gauleiter for the United Kingdom. Prince Hubertus was an accomplished aviator. Serving in the Luftwaffe as a courier pilot in the Eastern Front, Hubertus obtained the rank of Oberleutnant, he was killed in action when his plane was shot down by the Soviet Air Forces on 26 November 1943 in Mosty, modern-day Ukraine. It was his last flight. News of his death spread on 3 December. Hubertus was buried the following day at the Coburg family cemetery at Callenberg Castle.
The Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha announced the death of their son and heir in Gothaer Beobachter with a short obituary on 11 December. The ducal couple's youngest son, Prince Friedrich Josias, became heir apparent in his stead. Princess Sibylla was distraught by the death of her favourite brother. In 1946, she had a son, the long-awaited heir to the Swedish throne, named him Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus; when King Carl XVI Gustaf's grandson was christened Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil, the choice of the name Hubertus was criticized by journalist Henrik Arnstad due to Prince Hubertus' membership of the Nazi Party. Arnstad was rebuked for his comments by political analyst Ivar Arpi. Hubertus was styled as "His Highness Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha". Being a member of the House of Wettin, he held the title Duke of Saxony; as a male-line great-grandson of a British monarch, Hubertus was Prince of Great Britain and Ireland until the use of the title was restricted to the children and grandchildren of a monarch by letters patent of 1917.
He was a knight of the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim
Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the only son and heir apparent of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He died aged 24 under circumstances still not clear, he was a first cousin of King George V of the United Kingdom, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Prince Alfred of Edinburgh was born on 15 October 1874 at London, his father was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. His mother, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, was a daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury, baptised the prince in the Lower Bow Room of Buckingham Palace on 23 November 1874, his godparents were the Queen, the Emperor of Russia, the German Emperor, the German Crown Princess, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Prince of Wales. In 1893, his granduncle, Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the elder brother of his paternal grandfather, died without legitimate heirs.
Being ineligible under Saxe-Coburg-Gotha house law to succeed to the duchy due to his status as the heir apparent to an existing throne, the Prince of Wales had renounced his claim to the ducal throne. Thus, the succession devolved to Alfred's father, at that time the Duke of Edinburgh. Alfred thus became the Hereditary Prince of Gotha. Prince Alfred had lived in Clarence House in the early years of his life with his parents and sisters. On 28 January 1895, the Court Circular published the following: “We are informed that a marriage has been arranged between his Royal Highness Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, only son of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and grandson of Her Majesty, Her Royal Highness the Duchess Elsa Matilda Marie, elder twin daughter of the late Duke William Eugene of Württemberg by his marriage with the Grand Duchess Vera of Russia.” The marriage never occurred. The exact circumstances of Alfred's death are not known, varying accounts have been published.
His sister Marie's memoirs say his health "broke down", other writers have said that he had "consumption". The Times published an account stating he had died of a tumor, while the Complete Peerage gives the accepted account that he "shot himself". Various authors have speculated on reasons why he might have killed himself, one author, Frank Bush, claimed to have been a descendant of a secret marriage between Alfred and Mabel Fitzgerald, granddaughter of the 4th Duke of Leinster, claimed that friction between Alfred and his family over the "secret marriage" was the cause of the suicide. Despite the lack of documentary evidence, the lack of contemporary reference, other authors have repeated Bush's assertion that Alfred and Mabel married, including John van der Kiste and Bee Jordaan in Dearest Affie, the assertion is repeated as fact in the official family history. According to theory, Alfred shot himself with a revolver while the rest of the family was gathered for the anniversary celebration.
He survived and was looked after at Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha for three days before being sent to the Martinnsbrunn Sanatorium in Gratsch near Meran in the County of Tyrol. Alfred died there at 4:15 pm on 6 February aged 24 years, he was buried in the ducal mausoleum of the Friedhof am Glockenberg, Bavaria. In 1899 Alfred's uncle the Duke of Connaught and his son Prince Arthur of Connaught renounced their succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; as a result, his first cousin Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, became heir presumptive. 15 October 1874 – 23 August 1893: His Royal Highness Prince Alfred of Edinburgh 23 August 1893 – 6 February 1899: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony BritishQueen Victoria Golden Jubilee Medal, 21 June 1887 Venerable Order of St. John, Knight, 25 April 1893 Order of the Garter, Knight, 23 April 1894 Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Bar, 22 June 1897Foreign German Empire: Order of the Red Eagle, Grand Cross, June 1889 Order of the Black Eagle, Knight, 12 April 1894 Hesse and by Rhine: Ludwig Order, Grand Cross, 19 April 1894 Ernestine duchies: Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Grand Cross, 15 October 1874 Duke Alfred and Duchess Marie Silver Wedding Medal, 23 January 1899 Kingdom of Romania: Order of the Crown of Romania, Grand Cross, 10 January 1893 Russian Empire: Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, Knight, 19 April 1894 Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, Knight, 19 April 1894 Order of St. Anna, Knight 1st Class, 19 April 1894 Order of St. Stanislaus, Knight 1st Class, 19 April 1894 Imperial Order of the White Eagle, Knight, 19 April 1894 As a male-line grandson of the British Sovereign, young Alfred bore the royal arms, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony, all differenced by a label argent of five points, the odd bearing crosses gules and anchors azure.
Media related to Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at Wikimedia Commons
Saxe-Gotha was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia. The ducal residence was erected at Gotha; the duchy was established in 1640, when Duke Wilhelm von Saxe-Weimar created a subdivision for his younger brother Ernest I the Pious. Duke Ernest took his residence at Gotha, where he had Schloss Friedenstein built between 1643 and 1654. At the same time, the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach was created for the third brother Albert IV. Albert died in 1644, Ernest inherited large parts of his duchy, though not the core territory around the residence at Eisenach and the Wartburg, which fell to his elder brother Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar. Ernest could incorporate several remaining estates of the extinct House of Henneberg in 1660, vacant since 1583. In 1672 he received the major part of Saxe-Altenburg through his wife Elisabeth Sophie, after Altenburg's last duke Frederick William III had died without heirs. Ernest would be called Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
When Ernest died in 1675, he left his seven sons a enlarged territory. The eldest, Frederick I at first ruled jointly with his brothers until in 1680 the duchy was divided; the area around Gotha and Altenburg passed to Frederick I, who retained the title of a Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. For history of the duchy, see Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Ernest I the Pious, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg from 1672 Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, jointly with his brothers until 1680: Albert V, became Duke of Saxe-Coburg Bernhard I, became Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Heinrich, became Duke of Saxe-Römhild Christian, became Duke of Saxe-Eisenberg Ernest, became Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen John Ernest IV, became Duke of Saxe-SaalfeldWhen the house of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg became extinct in 1825, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was split. Saxe-Gotha passed to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld; the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen received Saxe-Altenburg, gave the district of Hildburghausen to Saxe-Meiningen. After the abolition of German monarchies at the end of the First World War it became a part of the newly created state of Thuringia in 1920.
Saxe-Gotha, Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Columbia University Press, accessed January 27, 2007
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person, first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone, first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir. Today these terms most describe heirs to hereditary titles or offices when only inheritable by a single person. Most monarchies refer to the heir apparent of their thrones with the descriptive term of crown prince but these heirs may be accorded with a more specific substantive title, such as Prince of Orange in the Netherlands, Duke of Brabant in Belgium, Prince of Asturias in Spain, or Prince of Wales in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. In France the title was le Dauphin, in Imperial Russia; the term is used metaphorically to indicate an "anointed" successor to any position of power, e.g. a political or corporate leader. This article describes the term heir apparent in a hereditary system regulated by laws of primogeniture—as opposed to cases where a monarch has a say in naming the heir.
In a hereditary system governed by some form of primogeniture, an heir apparent is identifiable as the person whose position as first in the line of succession to a title or office is secure, regardless of future births. An heir presumptive, by contrast, can always be "bumped down" in the succession by the birth of somebody more related in a legal sense to the current title-holder; the clearest example occurs in the case of a holder of a hereditary title, one that can only be inherited by a single person, with no children. If at any time he were to produce children, they rank ahead of whatever more "distant" relative had been heir presumptive. Many legal systems assume childbirth is always possible regardless of health. In such circumstances a person may be, in a practical sense, the heir apparent but still speaking, heir presumptive. Indeed, when Queen Victoria succeeded her uncle King William IV, the wording of the proclamation gave as a caveat:...saving the rights of any issue of his late Majesty King William IV, which may be born of his late Majesty's consort.
This provided for the possibility that William's wife, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, was pregnant at the moment of his death, since such a posthumous child, regardless of its sex, would have displaced Victoria from the throne. Adelaide was 44 at the time, so pregnancy was possible if unlikely. Daughters may inherit titles that descend according to male-preference primogeniture, but only in default of sons; that is, both female and male offspring have the right to a place somewhere in the order of succession, but when it comes to what that place is, a female will rank behind her brothers regardless of their ages or her age. Thus even an only daughter will not be heir apparent, since at any time a brother might be born who, though younger, would assume that position. Hence, she is an heir presumptive. For example, Queen Elizabeth II was heir presumptive during the reign of her father, King George VI, because at any stage up to his death, George could have fathered a legitimate son. In a system of absolute primogeniture that disregards gender, female heirs apparent occur.
As succession to titles, positions, or offices in the past most favoured males than females, females considered to be an heir apparent were rare. Absolute primogeniture was not practised by any modern monarchy for succession to their thrones until the late twentieth century with Sweden being the first to adopt absolute primogeniture in 1980 and other Western European monarchies following suit. Since the adoption of absolute primogeniture by contemporary Western European monarchies, examples of female heirs apparent include: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, Princess Elisabeth of Belgium. Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway is heir apparent to her father, Victoria herself has a female heir apparent in her oldest child, Princess Estelle. Victoria was not heir apparent from birth, but gained the status in 1980 following a change in the Swedish Act of Succession, her younger brother Carl Philip was thus heir apparent for a few months. In 2015, pursuant to the 2011 Perth Agreement, the Commonwealth realms changed the rules of succession to the 16 thrones of Elizabeth II to absolute primogeniture, except for male heirs born before the Perth Agreement.
The effects are not to be felt for many years. But in legal systems that apply male-preference primogeniture, female heirs apparent are by no means impossible: if a male heir apparent dies leaving no sons but at least one daughter the eldest daughter would replace her father as heir apparent to whatever throne or title is concerned, but only when it has become clear that the widow of the deceased is not pregnant; as the representative of her father's line she would assume a place ahead of any more distant relatives. Such a situation has not to date occurred with the British throne.