29

Bernard of Italy, illegitimate son of Pepin of Italy (himself a legitimate son of Charlemagne), became king of the Lombards in 810. Edward the Martyr, briefly king of England from 975 to 978, was probably illegitimate; his father Edgar I acknowledged his younger son Æthelred as the only rightful heir (but Edgar's opinion lost most of its strength when he ...


26

@SteveBird makes a good point. You would have to go a good way back to find any ancestor of Britain's present Queen who was actually born in Germany. But the reason for so many Germans in the 18th & 19th centuries may have been due to the fact that there were so many German royals. In 1866 there were 42 German states, including Austria and Prussia. ...


24

Nothing happens at all. This is essentially a question of two parts. Part one is unstated, but important, and it is the question of who is legitimate monarch. First of all, legitimacy does not, as Tony Robinson claims, rest on blood. Legitimacy rests on being accepted as legitimate. This sounds like a tautology, and on some level it is, but on another ...


24

There is a lot that we do not fully understand about the details of the succession in Anglo Saxon England. Indeed, it seems quite likely that the role of the council ('witena ġemōt', or 'Witan', if you prefer) changed over time. It seems certain that the council maintained some role in the succession process throughout the period. However, in general, the ...


18

In general, people fight over thrones because of the power it represents. For Japan, the tennō was not particularly powerful in the first place, but moreover lost secular power quite early in Japanese history. For most of the last 1,200 years, true political power was decoupled from the imperial title. Hence while many factions fought for power in Japan, ...


18

Alexander the Great may be the most famous example. His son Alexander IV was born after his death. What is typically supposed to be done in this case is that the duties of the new monarch are carried out on his (usually not a "her") behalf by someone else until the rightful heir is of legal age in their country to fully assume the throne. This is called a ...


16

According to the Catholics of the time, Elizabeth I was illegitimate, since the Catholic church never recognised the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. Not that Elizabeth was ever king ;-) Even the Protestant parliament of England retroactively declared her illegitimate, with no place in the succession, when they annulled the same marriage (in 1536?). ...


15

Short and Simple answer (actually, it's not so simple...) The granting of the title 'Prince of Wales' by Edward I to his son (the future Edward II) was a demonstration of his authority over Wales and a political statement to that effect. One could also argue that the king was emphasizing the importance of Wales by granting it to his heir, his own flesh and ...


15

Technically, at that time kings were decided upon by the Witenagemot (assembly). We're not sure how pro-forma that typically was, but this was the accepted way a new King gained their legitimacy as ruler. No man can make himself king, but the people has the choice to choose as king whom they please; but after he is consecrated as king, he then has ...


13

Cleopatra's bastard with Julius Caesar, Caesarion, ruled jointly with his mother as the last kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt. After Caesar's assassination, Cleopatra went on to acquire a set of bastard twins from Mark Antony. Had they won their bid for power against Octavian, the male twin Alexander Helios would have been on track to succeed as the ...


12

(I think @congusbongus made some very good points concerning the lack of reasons against male-only succession, but I disagree with the motivations given in that answer. While plausible, "limiting heirs" and "concentrate power" seems to me like deductions borne of faulty premises regarding imperial power. Moreover, the Japanese were extremely concerned with ...


12

I think the biggest motivation for excluding women as successors is to limit the number of potential heirs and to concentrate power for the reigning sovereign. Furthermore the reasons against doing so are weak. Japanese Empresses First, a background of Japanese empresses. From Wikipedia: Empress Suiko (554–628), r. 593–628—first ruling empress Empress ...


10

It is called a "posthumous heir". One example was Alexander Ross. A very similar example was John I, son of Louis X, who only lived a few days. A reputed ancient king of Kashmir named Gonanda II is described as being a posthumous heir in the Rajatarangini. The only successful European monarch I know of who was a posthumous heir was Alfonso XIII of Spain.


10

Absolutely not. Through the entire 17th century and most of the 18th Sweden was the dominant military power across the Baltic Sea, a significantly stronger military power than Russia. Not until the end of the 18th Century is Russia approaching Sweden in military strength. It is not until 1809 that Russia is even strong enough to wrest the bulk of Finland ...


8

Yes. Or at least, as far as we can know based on available sources. Of course, if one chooses to disregard extant historical records, then all kinds of speculations are possible. Hence, the general consensus of historians is that Edward designated Harold his successor. Moreover there is no doubt that on his deathbed Edward the Confessor did name Harold ...


8

Anne's half-brother, James the Old Pretender would be her next of kin. He was the closest living relative; son to the deposed King James II & VII and sibling to Queen Mary II. However, it seems what you really want to know is who would succeed Anne to the throne of England. In that case, it would still be the heirs of Sophia the Electress of Hanover. ...


8

Yes, they did put a Holstein-Gottorp on the throne. But that didn't really help relations very much. Following the disaster of the Great Northern War, Russia was the dominant power in Northern Europe. In the Treaty of Nystad, Sweden had to give up all the eastern Baltic dominions. More to the point of the question, Russia was also made a warrantor of the ...


7

tl; dr Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk is correct. The 'common law' he is referring to for England dates to a legal judgement in 1321. The Statute, however, dates to 1351 (not the fifteenth-century as claimed in your quote.) So, a fourteenth-century statute, De Natis Ultra Mare, did restrict the English crown to those in the liegeance of the Sovereign. ...


6

As mentioned already by Mark C. Wallace, one of the key aspects of the English Civil War was the divine right of the Monarchy. The Bill of Rights Act 1689 established that the succession to the throne is regulated by Parliament and not by any divine right. The following lines state that James the II abdicated the government and left the throne vacant when ...


6

The most famous example of a posthumous monarch is Shapor II the Great, "King of Kings of Iran and of Non Iran, Child of the Sun and Moon and Cousin of the Stars" reigned 309-379 AD, who allegedly reigned before he was born (and of course a couple of decades before he ruled). The story is that despite having older half brothers, astrologers luckily ...


5

Pieter Geerkens gave a good answer on feudalism, but missed the mark with the conclusion that the elective monarchies appeared from areas that were not part of the Carolingian Empire, because of a lack of feudalism. Of course, both East and West Francia elected kings. Hnece, the answer to this part of the question: In Poland and Hungary kingship was not ...


5

Excellent Question.... Short Answer.. It is not settled history and calls for both knowledge of King Edward the Confessor's relationship with the Godwin clan, and who that relationship had profoundly impacted his family, his life, and his reign. ** Given these facts, I seriously doubt King Edward would have reversed his life's work to keep ...


5

Tancred of Lecce was King of Sicily.


5

(I know Lars Bosteen has provided an answer but in the interest of completing this answer, I've provided a slight update.) This is two questions rolled into one: Why, in particular, Wales? How did the convention (or tradition) develop for appointing the heir apparent the title: Prince of Wales Why Wales? The principalities of Wales was not unified under ...


5

Here is a list of the various successions of the monarchs of the house of Wessex beginning with the death of King Ecgberht who founded a new branch of the royal dynasty. The statistics of the different types of successions could be the basis of a theory about the succession in in later Anglo-Saxon England. Aethelwulf (795/810-858), son of Ecberht, ...


4

Denmark and Norway had plenty. Denmark had six bastard kings in a row, five of which were fathered by Sweyn II: Harald Hen (d. 1080) Canute the Saint (d. 1086) Oluf Hunger (d. 1095) Eric Evergood (d. 1103) Niels (d. 1134) Niels was followed by Erik Emune, bastard child of Eric Evergood. Later, his bastard son Sweyn Grathe would also take the crown. After ...


4

King Alfonso XIII of Spain was born as King of Spain, as his father King Alfonso XII of Spain died on November 25th, 1885 and he was born on May 17th, 1886. So from November 1885 until May 1886 the heir to the spanish throne was unborn.


3

Two reasons, sheer volume and the Holy Roman Empire. Germany has an incredibly vast number of royal families which increased their odds of succeeding a throne upon either intermarriage or death without an heir. This plus the HRE caused the rapid expansion of the Karling, Luxembourg, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg dynasties in the Middle Ages, uniting almost all ...


3

I think the best way to understand this would be to understand the cultural atmosphere in both China and Japan, which may provide some insights into this seemingly-unusual system of rule. In China, the Mandate of Heaven provided an ideology which professed the idea that the ability of rulers would be evaluated by the gods, and if a ruler was fit to rule, ...


3

This is probably more appropriate as a comment to Semaphore's extensive answer, but since I don't have 50 points yet I will post it as an answer. Hopefully this sheds a little more light on the difference between Japan and other Asian countries. The old Japanese word for govern is Matsurigoto (政)、the modern word for politics is Seiji (政治), notice that they ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible