Learn more about Heir Presumptive
An Heir Presumptive (capitalised) is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honor, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an Heir Apparent or of a new Heir Presumptive with a better claim to the throne. When lowercased, "heir presumptive" can refer generally to someone who is provisionally scheduled to inherit a title, position or possession, unless displaced by an Heir Apparent or other heir presumptive. In both cases, the position is however subject to law and/or conventions that may alter who is entitled to be heir presumptive.
Depending on the rules of the monarchy in question, the heir presumptive might be the daughter of a monarch (if males take priority over females and the monarch has no sons), or the senior member of a collateral line (if the monarch is childless).
If an heir apparent is born, he becomes first-in-line to the throne, with all of his descendants taking priority over the heir presumptive in the Line of Succession. In the event of there being an heir apparent, the title "heir presumptive" lapses and is not used to describe the most senior person in the Line of Succession who is not a direct male descendant of the monarch. A woman who is in the same position is sometimes called the heiress presumptive but many monarchies increasingly choose to use heir presumptive irrespective of the sex of the holder, .
For more detailed information, and a comparison between the positions of Heir Presumptive and Heir Apparent, see Heir Apparent.
 Several simultaneous heirs presumptive
It is relatively easy for there to be several simultaneous heirs presumptive. For example, in England, some hereditary titles pass through and vest in female heirs in the absence of a male heir. Since the title cannot be held by two people simultaneously, two daughters (without a brother) who inherit in this way would do so as co-parceners and before they inherit, both would be heirs presumptive. In these circumstances, the title would in fact be held in abeyance until one person represents the claim of both, or the claim is renounced by one or the other for herself and her heirs, or the abeyance is ended by the Crown. There are special procedures for handling doubtful or disputed cases.
 Heirs Presumptive as of 2006
- Caroline, Princess of Hanover is the Heiress Presumptive to the throne of Monaco; if her brother Albert II, Prince of Monaco fathers a legitimate child, that child would be heir apparent if male or heiress presumptive if female
- Prince Seeiso Seeiso is the heir presumptive to the throne of Lesotho; if his brother Letsie III fathers a son (the line of succession is established by Salic Law), then that son would become heir apparent
- Tupoutoʻa Lavaka (ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho) is the Heir Presumptive to the throne of Tonga; if his brother King George Tupou V fathers a legitimate child, that child would be heir apparent if male or heiress presumptive if female
 Examples of heirs presumptive who inherited thrones
- Queen Mary I of England, who succeeded her half-brother King Edward VI of England
- Queen Elizabeth I of England, who succeeded her half-sister Queen Mary I of England
- King James I of England (who was James VI of Scotland), who succeeded his distant cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England
- Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who succeeded her uncle King William IV of the United Kingdom
- King George VI of the United Kingdom, who succeeded his brother King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who succeeded her father King George VI of the United Kingdom
- King Albert I of the Belgians, who succeeded his uncle King Leopold II of the Belgians
- King Albert II of the Belgians, who succeeded his brother King Baudouin of the Belgians
- King Paul of Greece, who succeeded his brother King George II of Greece
- King Oscar II of Sweden, who succeeded his brother King Charles XV of Sweden
- King Charles X of Sweden, who succeeded his cousin Queen Christina of Sweden
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who succeeded her father King Frederick IX of Denmark
- Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg, who succeeded her father Grand Duke Guillaume IV of Luxembourg
- Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, who succeeded her sister Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg
 Examples of heirs presumptive who did not inherit thrones
- Bertil, Duke of Halland was heir-presumptive of Sweden between 1973-79, until the birth of Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland superseded him.
- John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany was heir-presumptive to the throne of Scotland altogether five different times between 1504-36. His own death intervened, otherwise he would have become king, and ultimately Mary, Queen of Scots who was born in 1541, succeeded in Scotland as its second female monarch.
- Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March was heir presumptive of King Richard II of England but predeceased him.
- Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, also named by Richard II, did not succeed as Richard II was deposed by Henry IV of England.
- Princess Caroline of Orange-Nassau was the only child of Willem IV of Orange until she was five years old; she was heir presumptive until the birth of her brother, Willem V.
- Prince Knud of Denmark was the heir presumptive of his brother King Frederick IX of Denmark, but an amendment to the Danish Constitution in 1953 proclaimed King Frederick's eldest daughter, Princess Margrethe as the future Heir Apparent.
- Henri, comte de Chambord (1820-83) was from his birth the heir-presumptive of his childless uncle the Dauphin Louis-Antoine, Duke of Angouleme (himself the eldest son and heir apparent of King Charles X of France, who reigned 1824-30). Henri was the only grandson of Charles X and both the king and the dauphin treated Henri as their practical heir. Due to 1830 revolution, king Charles however abdicated, together with Louis himself, in favour of Louis' nephew the young Henri, only for the throne to be seized by a cousin, King Louis-Philippe of France in 1830. When both Charles and Louis had been long dead, Henri turned down a second chance to receive the French throne from the French National Assembly in the early 1870s because he would not accept the tricolour as the French flag.
- Captain Bertram Brooke, Tuan Muda of Sarawak