ROYAL EXPLAINER: Why Do Some Monarchies Have One Monarch But Not Two?


Every monarchy around the world has different rules regarding its monarch. Some have one while others have two. What’s more, is some have no monarch but have a royal family. In this post, we’re going to be exploring why some monarchies are different from others, and we’re going to be exploring a few history lessons too.

In this post, we’ll be covering:

  • Why One Monarch And Not Two?
  • Presenting Heirs To The Public
  • Spare Heirs
  • Treatment Of Illegitimate Children
  • Title distribution

This will be a lengthy post. Moreover, we hope you stay on board for this one.

Why One Monarch And Not Two?

[Credit: Norway Today]

In some nations with monarchies, there is only one named monarch. In others, however, there are two. There’ve been cases, however, where there is a monarchy. Though, there’s no monarch. Why is this? Well, we’ll do our best to explain what we know.

Let’s begin with the one monarch.

One Monarch – Britain and Commonwealth

[Credit: SheKnows]

So, you’d have to be living beneath the Earth if you don’t know that there is only one monarch in the British family; Queen Elizabeth II. Her consort was her late husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. When Her Majesty was crowned on June 2, 1953, her husband did not become king.

In Britain, the reason Prince Philip did NOT become king is because of a rule that says that if the heir to the throne is female, their husband cannot become king as they were not the heir, as per Jadie Troy-Pryde of Marie Claire UK. However, this rule is different in other monarchies.

There is a similar rule within the British monarchy regarding the ‘Duchess’ title and various others, which we’ll get to a little later.

Prince Philip is not the only Prince Consort the British Monarchy has had over the centuries. Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, was never king either.

One Monarch – Denmark

[Credit: Culture Trip]

Denmark’s monarchy is similar to the British. It too only has one monarch with Queen Margrethe II.

Queen Margrethe, much like Queen Elizabeth, became Queen of Denmark as she had no brothers. However, unlike in Britain, where there had been several Queens, born over the many centuries, who were heirs to the throne, Margrethe is the first female sovereign under the then-newly established Act of Succession.

In the late 1380s, the was a Queen named Margaret. To the Danish, she is known as Margrethe I. The reason for this is due to Margrethe II sharing a similar name to her. Margaret was the youngest of six legitimate children of King Valdemar IV. Three of her five older siblings perished young. She was the Queen of not just Denmark but Sweden and Norway. The reason she became Queen was due to a power struggle. She became engaged to the much older Haakon, King of Norway, when she was six, according to Lennart T. Norman from Britannica.

Going back to the point, Queen Margrethe’s husband, Prince Henrik, was a foreigner much like Prince Philip was in England. Henrik was French.

Anyway, Prince Henrik was never king. Moreover, this is due to the rule of the Act of Succession. which was invoked on March 27, 1953, the same one that allowed his wife to become Queen in her own right, prohibited only descendants of King Christian X to be Denmark’s monarch.

Henrik, allegedly never made it a secret at his disdain of not being King of Denmark, which annoyed many Danes.

What’s more, is their eldest son, Frederik, is Crown Prince of Denmark, in the same manner, that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is.

No Traditional Monarch – Monaco

[Credit: Fox News]

The monarchy in Monaco is different from Denmark or Britain. While it does have a sovereign, there is no King or Queen. Instead, they have a Sovereign Prince, which technically is the monarch, but not in the traditional sense. So, currently, the Sovereign Prince is Prince Albert II.
Prince Albert is the only son of the late Prince Rainier III and the late Princess Grace. The Monaco royal family still practices male preference primogeniture, which means his legitimate daughter, Princess Gabriella, cannot inherit the throne as she is not male. Her younger twin brother, Prince Jacques, is the heir apparent.

Also, Prince Albert has two illegitimate children, Jazmin and Alexandre, to two different women before his marriage to Charlene. Given their status, Jazmin nor Alexandre can inherit.

Despite the preference towards male heirs, women are still included in the line of succession.

Two Monarchs – Sweden

[Credit: The Royal Correspondent]

In Sweden, there are two monarchs, King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife, Queen Silvia. Like Prince Philip in the UK, Queen Silvia is the consort, but she has the title of Queen rather than Princess. Also, their eldest daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, is the heir to the throne alongside her eldest daughter, Princess Estelle.

What’s more is that Victoria’s husband, Daniel Westling, became Prince Daniel when they married. However, given that Victoria will become Queen, it is unclear if Daniel will become king or Prince Consort.

Also, the heir to the throne stands out because she has “Crown” at the beginning of her title. As we mentioned above, we’ll address this when we come to it.

How Heirs To The Throne Are Presented

[Credit: Express]

Every kingdom is different when it comes to presenting the heir to the throne. When we say “presenting” we mean how their parents show them off to the world. Now, we won’t dive too deeply into the titles bit until the end of the post.

So, we’re going to use the British royals as an example for this one.

Given the royals are funded by the British taxpayer, it is suggested that they share some of their private lives with the public. In 1982, after the birth of Prince William, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles walked out of the hospital and were faced with the pre-arranged press pack. Two years later, when Harry was born, the same thing happened.

In 2013, a now-adult Prince William walked out of the same hospital with his wife Catherine with their firstborn, George. The couple repeated the same pattern with their secondborn, Charlotte, in 2015 and Louis, in 2018.

Other British royals have shown off their newborns in a less showy way. For example, William’s cousin, Princess Eugenie, showed her son August on Instagram. She showed his face, once which was enough for the public before choosing not to show it again.

[Credit: Observer]

Now, Eugenie didn’t have to do this. She’s not an heir to the throne. Her older sister, Beatrice, said she wouldn’t be showing off her daughter Sienna, which is fine. However, Eugenie likely felt that it would be nice to share her son with the world as a thank you for the support. After all, the taxpayer did fund her wedding in 2018.

Spare Heirs

[Credit: Vanity Fair]

We’ve covered the curse of the spare heir before for the British royals. Now, we’re going to use the situation again for this because we don’t know how it works for the other royal families.

Anyway, the why spare heirs are treated in the British Royal family varies due to the generation. So, we’re going to address three generations here; Harry, Andrew, and Charlotte, and Louis. We’re including Louis because he, like his brother George, is an heir to their father’s dukedom.

So without further ado, let’s jump into it.

Prince Andrew

[Credit: Sky News]

The second son of Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Andrew as long been rumoured to be the favourite child. Note that very important keyword; favourite. Why this is said to be a fact, we have no idea. Several royal authors, according to Natalie Oliveri of Nine Honey, have said that it’s Prince Edward who is the favourite. 

Anyway, Andrew has probably getting annoyed because he thought he was just as important as his other siblings. You don’t hear anything about his relationships with Anne or Edward, but you do with Charles.

Many accounts claim that he has always been envious of Charles’ position as the heir to the throne. There was even that rumour where Andrew wanted to be the regent to Prince William after the death of Princess Diana as Charles’ reputation had taken a hit. Now, we’re not sure whether we believe that, but it’s possible. Also, he allegedly all but demanded his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie be given titles when they were born. Again, this is speculation.

Anyway, given the Duke of York’s status as the secondborn son, he thought he held almost the same power as Charles. Before his questionable history came out, he was a working royal and proud of it. Nowadays, Andrew is a massive laughing stock, given how he acts. One example is how he behaved regarding the wearing of military uniform at his father’s funeral.

Prince Harry

[Credit: USA Today]

Once upon a time, Harry was a deeply beloved member of the British royal family. At one point, he was dubbed to be the Queen’s favourite grandchild. However, he fell in love with an unknown American actress, Meghan Markle, and as they say, the rest speaks for oneself. We won’t go over the whole thing again, as you know what happened.

Anyway, Harry’s reputation has plummeted as he has made unproven claims about his family and how they’re racists and never accepted Meghan. If Princess Diana were alive today, she would not have allowed him to spiral. Various sources over the years have given different thoughts on whether she would’ve approved on Meghan. She would not have recognised the man her youngest son has become. Moreover, she did not raise him or William to be self-centered and to call people out without proof.

Before Meghan came into his life, Harry was super close to William, Catherine, and their children. He thought highly of his father, once commenting that he was there for him and his brother after their mother died as he was the only parent they had remaining. Now, he sees his father as uncaring and unworthy of seeing his children grow up.

Charlotte and Louis

[Credit: Harper’s Bazaar]

While they may only be children now, Princess Charlotte and her younger brother, Prince Louis are being taught they are no less important than their older brother. Their parents are teaching them that they have a role to play that is equal to George. Catherine and William are instilling in them that they are more than spare heirs and they are loved the same way their brother is.

Treatment Of Illegitimate Heirs

[Credit: Daily Mail]

We’ve all seen the stories of how illegitimate heirs are treated in fictional stories. However, in reality, it’s a little different, especially in the 20th and 21st Centuries. There are two cases we wanted to look at that deals with this subject.

The first is about Jazmin Grimaldi and Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste while the second is about Princess Delphine.

Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste

They might be the illegitimate children of Prince Albert II of Monaco but Jazmin Grimaldi and her half-brother Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste have taken to their reality with relevant grace. However, it wasn’t always easy for them given who their father is. When you think illegitimate, the unsavoury words seem to start brewing in your mind.

However, when you’re in the public eye like Prince Albert II is, the media will eat up anything scandalise, and that includes illegitimate children.

Jazmin was born and raised in Palm Springs, California. Her mother had met Prince Albert years earlier. Jazmin’s birth occurred while her mother’s divorce was being finalised. She met her father for the first time when she was 11 when she travelled to Monaco.

It is assumed that Jazmin knew who her father was as she has said that she grew watching her grandmother, Princess Grace’s old movies, and knew she was her grandmother. Her existence was verified by her father in 2006. However, Albert claimed that he wanted to protect her by not revealing she was his daughter.

Alexandre’s existence wasn’t acknowledged, at first until his mother went to the media. At the time, Albert told his mistress, whom he had met when she was a flight attendant, that he would acknowledge however, he didn’t, and it became more complicated when his father died in 2005. He failed to acknowledge the speculation as Monaco was in mourning.

Nicole, Alexandre’s mother, offered an interview and photos of her son to the press. When the information hit the French media, Albert sued one publication for invading his privacy. Around the same time, he acknowledged Jazmin, he did the same for his son.

Delphine Boël

Delphine was raised by her mother and her first husband. In 1999, a teenage boy published an unauthorised biography on Queen Paola of Belgium. In it, it revealed that her husband, King Albert II had had an affair and fathered a daughter. Delphine and her mother didn’t acknowledge the claims when the Belgian press questioned them about it, calling it nothing but baseless speculation.

The story of Delphine’s existence was first mentioned in a Belgian satirical magazine, but it took a while for it to enter the mainstream press. Her mother has claimed that she and the king were involved for 18 years. In 2013, Delphine attempted to take the king to court to prove he was her father using DNA tests. However, the issue with this was that because of his status, Albert was immune from doing such a thing. However, this stopped when he abdicated the throne, and his eldest son, Phillipe became king.

After the abdication, Delphine dropped the first case and tried another angle; getting her siblings involved. She was hit with another snag when the court rejected her claim in 2017. An appeal was lodged and in 2018, the king was forced to take a DNA test. Albert made the process harder when he told his lawyer that he wouldn’t do the DNA test.

In May 2019, CNN put out a report that Albert had to provide a DNA test, otherwise, he’d be fined for every day he didn’t. However, he vowed to continue fighting it. He eventually stopped battling the truth when in 2020 it was revealed Delphine was his daughter.

Delphine was never in it for the money or the title. All she wanted was the acknowledgement from her father.

Title Distribution

In this last section, we’re going to cover title distribution. We won’t go over it in detail as we’ll do a full post on it. Anyway, the way senior royals get their titles varies depending on the country. For some, secondary titles are given at birth. While others receive them as wedding gifts.

We’ll go over a couple of examples now to give you all a brief idea of how this works.

Let’s begin with the Duchess title.

In Britain, only married women are given the title of Duchess and cannot be passed down to children. One example of this is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She received the title upon her marriage to Prince William as he is the Duke of Cambridge as the dukedom was bestowed upon him by his grandmother, The Queen on their wedding day.

However, in Sweden, the title of Duchess is given to girls, presumed at birth. The same applies to boys as Prince Oscar, the younger brother of Princess Estelle is a duke.

About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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