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The heirs of 2024: who’s first in line to the thrones of Europe?

They are the people who will one day reign and their role has an importance that pervades every element of their lives. Being the heir means preparation for a throne that starts early and only ends with accession. From the first in lines who grew up in pole position to those who took the part when adults, here are the heirs of Europe in 2024.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Elisabeth Toll, The Royal Court of Sweden

Crown Princess Victoria will mark 44 years as heir to the throne of Sweden in 2024 and is now the longest serving first in line on the continent. When she was born, on July 14th 1977, Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree had no succession rights. A change in law soon afterwards saw her become first in line to her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, even leapfrogging her younger brother, Carl Philip, who had been born as Crown Prince in 1979 but moved down the succession under new rules. Crown Princess Victoria is married to Prince Daniel and they have two children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar.

Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein

UNclimatechange via Flickr

Prince Alois occupies a unique role among the current heirs in Europe. For almost twenty years, he has taken on responsibility for the day to day governmental decisions in Liechtenstein despite remaining first in line. His father, Hans-Adam II, handed him that power, following a pattern set by his own father, Franz Joseph II. Alois Philipp Maria was born on June 11th 1968 in Zurich, the first child of Hans-Adam and his wife, Marie. He became heir in 1989 Franz Joseph II died and his father, Hans-Adam, assumed power. He married Duchess Sophie in Bavaria at St. Florian’s Cathedral in Vaduz in 1993 and the couple have four children.

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway

Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus will mark 33 years as heir to the throne of Norway in 2024. Haakon Magnus was born on July 20th 1973 in Oslo, the second child and first son of Harald, then heir to the throne, and Sonja. In 1990, Norway’s laws changed to allow absolute primogeniture but it wasn’t made retroactive so Haakon wasn’t overtaken by his older sister, Martha Louise. Within months, their grandfather, Olav V, died and Harald became King of Norway, turning Haakon into the country’s Crown Prince. He has become a passionate advocate for environmental issues. Haakon Magus married Mette-Marit Tjessem Hjoiby in 2001 and he became stepfather to her son, Marius. They welcomed two children together, Ingrid Alexandra in 2004 and Sverre Magnus in 2005.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg

Photo de famille de LL.AA.RR. le Grand-Duc Héritier, la Grande-Duchesse Héritière, le Prince Charles et le Prince François. © Maison du Grand-Duc / Kary Barthelmey

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume has been heir to the throne of Luxembourg for 24 years but his role is about to alter again. From October he will assume the lieutenancy of the country, meaning he will carry out many of the constitutional duties of its ruler, Grand Duke Henri. It’s seen as a first step towards Henri’s abdication and Guillaume’s succession as Grand Duke. Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie was born on November 11th 1981 and was educated in Luxembourg and Switzerland before attending Sandhurst Military Academy. He became heir on October 7th 2000 when his grandfather, Jean, abdicated and his father became Grand Duke Henri. He married Stephanie de Lannoy in 2012 and the couple has two sons, Charles (2020) and Francois (2023).

Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange

©RVD – Frank Ruiter

Princess Catharina-Amalia has been heir to the throne of the Netherlands for 11 years. She was born on December 7th 2003 in The Hague and christened Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria in June 2004. As the first child of the then heir to the throne, Willem-Alexander, and his wife, Maxima, she was second in line from birth. In April 2013, her grandmother, Beatrix, abdicated and her father became the first King of the Netherlands in over a century. Amalia, as she is always called, became heir at the age of 8. She took the traditional title for the first in line and became Princess of Orange. She was educated in The Hague before beginning a university degree in Amsterdam. However, she had to change her living accommodation after threats. The Princess of Orange takes on engagements with her family in the Netherlands and has represented them at several high profile recent events.

Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant

Princess Elisabeth is about to mark 11 years as heir to the Belgian throne. She will make history when she does succeed as she will be the first queen regnant in Belgium’s history. Elisabeth Therese Marie Helene was born on October 25th 2001 in Brussels, the first child of Philippe, then heir to the throne, and his wife, Mathilde. She was joined later by two brothers, Gabriel and Emmanuel, and a sister, Eleonore. On July 21st 2013, her father became King of the Belgians and Elisabeth was now heir, at the age of 11. She was styled as Duchess of Brabant, the traditional title for the first in line. Her groundbreaking role as female heir to the Belgian throne was cemented when she completed military training. She now studies at Oxford.

Princess Leonor, Princess of Asturias

Casa de S.M. el Rey

Princess Leonor has just marked ten years as heir to the throne of Spain. Leonor y Todos los Santos was born on October 31st 2005 in Madrid, the first child of the then heir to the throne, Felipe, and his wife, Letizia. Her father referenced Spain’s succession laws when announcing her birth – a younger brother could have overtaken her and her path to the throne wasn’t guaranteed. Leonor was styled as Infanta and became second in line to the throne. She was joined by a younger sister, Sofia, in 2007. Leonor became heir on June 19th 2014 when her grandfather, Juan Carlos, abdicated and her father became King Felipe VI. She took the title of Princess of Asturias. In August 2023, Princess Leonor began her military training and in October 2023, as she turned 18, she swore allegiance to the constitution of Spain in a moving ceremony at the Cortes in Madrid.

Prince Jacques, Marquis of Baux

Prince Jacques turns ten in December 2024 and that day will also see him complete a decade as heir to Monaco’s throne. Currently the youngest first in line in Europe, Jacques Honore Rainier was born on December 10th 2014 in Monaco, and immediately became heir ahead of his twin sister, Princess Gabriella, who had been delivered just minutes earlier. Monaco still retains male primogeniture. Jacques and Gabriella live with their parents, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, and make regular appearances at important national events.

Prince William, The Prince of Wales

Prince William became heir to the British throne on September 8th 2022 and the accession of his father as King Charles III. William Arthur Philip Louis was born on June 21st 1982 to Charles III and Diana, Princess of Wales and was second in line from birth. He became heir on September 8th 2022 on the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and the accession of his father as King. He married Catherine Middleton on April 29th 2011 and the Prince and Princess of Wales have three children.

Crown Prince Christian of Denmark

Dennis Stenild, Kongehuset ©

The newest heir to the throne in Europe is Denmark’s first in line. Christian became Crown Prince on January 14th 2024 on a day of history for Denmark. His grandmother, Margrethe II, abdicated on the 52nd anniversary of her reign and the throne passed to her elder son who became King Frederik X. From the moment Queen Margrethe signed her abdication papers, Christian was heir to the throne. He was born on October 15th 2005, the first child of Frederik and his wife, Mary. He was christened Christian Valdemar Henri John. In June 2024, he completed his high school education, another chapter in the story of Europe’s newest heir.

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