In Europa Universalis IV, it is possible for electors in the Holy Roman Empire to support the election of someone outside of the Holy Roman Empire as the emperor.

I recognize that this is a game with multiple ahistoric elements among its historicity (which is part of the appeal), but was curious if there is any historical incidents that reflect this mechanic.

Did a prince-elector ever support a person who did not belong to the empire at the time of the election to be King of the Romans?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Please also show respect and courtesy to one another.
    – MCW
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 1:32
  • 1
    What's the time frame?
    – John Dee
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 1:33
  • 1
    I point out that the Holy Roman Empire claimed to be the rightful government of everywhere and thus according to that claim nobody could possibly be from outside the HRE. In any case the borders of the HRE could be s considered somewhat vague as different places could be considered to be inside the empire to greater or lesser degrees. In about 1257 the 7 electoral votes went to either Richard of Cornwall or Alfonso X of Castile, etc., both usually considered to be from outside the HRE. In that case of all 7 votes were cast for persons usually considered to have been from outside the HRE.
    – MAGolding
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 4:37

1 Answer 1


The election of 1519 is the best example, as it was disputed between King Francis I of France and Charles, King of Spain and Archduke of Austria.

By "dispute" we mean "who has deeper bribing pockets", although Charles had one vote guaranteed by family ties. (yes, the same Charles who inherited Spain; Burgundy; Austria, Low Countries and other Hapsburg lands, Milan, and etc. and become Emperor Charles V). It also appears that some famous banker families got very busy and happy with all this royal spending.

Just imagine if Francis were Emperor. No more HRE+Spain vs France wars? No France-Turk alliance? What if he managed to keep HRE and France united in the next generations? But this is alternate history.

Also, Alfonso X of Castile disputed an election to King of Romans with Richard of Cornwall - both coming from outside the empire in the XIII c. Neither of them was crowned Emperor. Their history is complicated and I have never understood it fully - it looks like the electors wanted money. Some Iberian sources call him Emperor Alfonso X, although it looks like to be wishful thinking.

Not sure if you want to count Sigismund, as his family is obviously from the Empire, and he ruled Brandenburg for some time, but when he was elected he was primarily King of Hungary - outside the empire, as his succession to Bohemia was disputed. If you like computer games, the dispute Sigismund-Wenceslaus-Jobst is featured in the Kingdom Come Deliverance game.

I think EU4 got it right: in the game it is possible but much harder to elect a candidate from outside the empire.

  • This answer could be improved by adding an introduction as to who Francis was, and whether he was the candidate from "outside the Empire" the OP asked about.
    – Spencer
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 15:12
  • 1
    "It also appears that some famous banker families got very busy and happy with all this royal spending." Not just that, the Fugger family ended up with an imperial silver mine concession. :D Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 7:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.