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The Heirs of 2020: Europe

As a new decade gets underway, the ruling houses of Europe are looking to the future and that future is increasingly female. The next generation of rulers on the continent is dominated by women with the princesses who will one day be queens taking on increasingly high profile roles. By the end of this decade, much may have changed in Europe’s royal families. Here are the heirs who stand in line to help guide their dynasties into the future.

The United Kingdom: the Prince of Wales

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released

Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales is the longest serving heir to the throne in British history. Born on November 14th 1948 at Buckingham Palace in London, he became heir on February 6th 1952 on the accession of his mother as Elizabeth II. He will mark 68 years as first in line to the throne as they year gets under way and celebrate his 72nd birthday as it comes to an end.

Denmark: Crown Prince Frederik

By Mogens Engelund – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Frederik Andre Henrik Christian became Crown Prince of Denmark on January 14th 1972 at the age of three when his mother ascended the throne as Queen Margrethe II. He was born on May 26th 1968 at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen and will celebrate his 52nd birthday this year. In 2020, he will mark 48 years as heir to his country’s throne.

Sweden: Crown Princess Victoria

The Crown Princess in the living room of Haga Palace. Photo: Erika Gerdemark/

Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree made history on January 1st 1980 when she replaced her younger brother as heir to the throne of Sweden. Born on July 14th 1977 at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm as the first child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, she had no accession rights until a change in law put her in line to be queen. Victoria, who will celebrate her 43rd birthday this year, has now been Sweden’s heir for forty years.

Liechtenstein: Prince Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein

By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres – Außenministerin Karin Kneissl in Liechtenstein, CC BY 2.0

Alois Philipp Maria, born on June 11th 1968, has been first in line to his country’s throne since November 13th 1989 when his father, Hans-Adam, succeeded as Prince of Liechtenstein meaning that in 2020 he will have spent 31 years as heir. Alois, who will be 52 this year, has actually been regent of his country since 2004 although Prince Hans-Adam remains Head of State.

Norway: Crown Prince Haakon Magnus

Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court

Haakon Magnus became Crown Prince of Norway on January 17th 1991 when his father ascended his country’s throne as King Harald V. Haakon was born on July 20th 1973 at the National Hospital in Oslo. He will celebrate his 47th birthday this summer, having been Norway’s heir for 29 years.

Luxembourg: Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke

Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie will mark 20 years as Luxembourg’s heir this year. Born on November 11th 1981, he moved to first in line for his country’s throne in 2000 when his father, Henri, became Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Guillaume, who will welcome his own heir in 2020, will celebrate his 39th birthday later this year.

The Netherlands: Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange

© RVD – HM the King

Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria was born on December 7th 2003 in The Hague. She became heiress to the Dutch throne on April 20th 2013 when her father ascended the throne as King Willem-Alexander. Since then, she has held the traditional title of Princess of Orange. She will mark 7 years as first line to the throne in 2020 and at the end of the year, the princess will celebrate her 17th birthday.

Belgium: Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant

© Royal Palace, Brussels/Koninklijk Paleis, Brussel/Palais Royal, Bruxelles/Königlicher Palast, Brüssel Photographer: Michel Gronemberger

Elisabeth Therese Marie Helene was born on October 25th 2001 in Brussels and will be her country’s first queen regnant when she eventually succeeds to the throne. She has been heiress since July 21st 2013 when her father became King Philippe of the Belgians. In 2020, Elisabeth will celebrate her 19th birthday and mark 7 years as first in line to her country’s throne.

Spain: Princess Leonor, Princess of Asturias

By Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain, Attribution, Wiki Commons

Leonor de Todos los Santos was born on October 31st 2005 in Madrid and became heir to the Spanish throne on the accession of her father as King Felipe VI on June 19th 2014. Leonor, who holds the traditional title of Princess of Asturias, is in a unique position among Europe’s female heirs as Spanish laws mean that she could still be bumped down the succession by the arrival of a brother. The princess will celebrate her 15th birthday in 2020 and mark 6 years as first in line to Spain’s throne.

Monaco: Prince Jacques, Marquis of Baux

Monaco Info/Fair Use

Jacques Honore Rainier was born as heir to Monaco’s throne on December 10th 2014. His father, Prince Albert II, had ruled the country for nine years before the birth of his only legitimate son. Jacques arrived two minutes after his twin sister, Princess Gabriella, who he immediately supplanted as first in line. In 2020, Jacques will mark 6 years as his country’s heir on the same day that he celebrates turning six.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.