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Line of succession to the Monegasque Throne
The line of succession to the Monegasque Throne passes to the descendants of the reigning Prince of Monaco in accordance with male-preference primogeniture. The line of succession was most recently and notably modified by a constitutional change implemented by Princely Law 1.249 of April 2, 2002.
Rules of succession
Under the constitution of Monaco, the eldest son of the incumbent inherits the throne, or the eldest daughter if there are no sons. Should the reigning prince die without legitimate offspring, the succession passes through the prince's siblings and their legitimate descendants using the same male-preference rule. If a would-be successor dies or renounces the succession, the succession nevertheless passes to his or her own legitimate descendants using the same male-preference rule.
If these rules fail to produce an heir, a council of regency takes power until the Crown Council selects a new reigning prince from among the more distant descendants of the House of Grimaldi. Only persons with Monegasque nationality are eligible.
Current line of succession
Current Monarch: Albert II
- HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, elder daughter of the late Prince Rainier III
- Andrea Casiraghi, elder son of Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi
- Pierre Casiraghi, younger son of Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi
- Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi
- HRH Princess Alexandra of Hanover, daughter of Ernst August of Hanover and Princess Caroline
- HSH Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, younger daughter of Prince Rainier III
- Louis Ducruet, only son of Princess Stéphanie and Daniel Ducruet
- Pauline Ducruet, only daughter of Princess Stéphanie and Daniel Ducruet
All of the above are heirs presumptive; that is, they could be moved down the list if Albert II were to father or adopt a child. If Albert's firstborn were a daughter, she would become the first in line, but still an heiress presumptive; on the other hand, his first son would be the heir apparent, who could not be displaced by any future births.
Male preference resulted in Albert becoming ruler of Monaco even though his sister Caroline is older; for the same reason, Pierre Casiraghi is ahead of his older sister Charlotte. If Albert had had a brother of any age, that hypothetical brother would be the heir presumptive instead of Caroline. Caroline's descendants are ahead of Stephanie and her descendants, and would remain so even if Caroline herself died or renounced her claim to the throne.
Recent history of the line of succession
The following nine people formerly occupied the tenth through eighteenth places in the line of succession, but lost their positions at the death of Prince Rainier III, since succession only passes to the siblings and descendants of the current Prince, and not those of his parents:
- HSH Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy, sister of Prince Rainier III and granddaughter of Prince Louis II
- Baron Christian de Massy , eldest son of Princess Antoinette and nephew of Prince Rainer III
- Baron Brice de Massy , eldest son of Baron Christian de Massy and great-nephew of Prince Rainer III
- Baron Antoine de Massy , younger son of Baron Christian de Massy and great-nephew of Prince Rainer III
- Baroness Laetizia de Massy , daughter of Baron Christian de Massy and great-niece of Prince Rainer III
- Baroness Elizabeth-Ann de Massy , daughter of Princess Antoinette and niece of Prince Rainer III
- Jean-Léonard Taubert Natta , son of Baroness Elizabeth-Ann de Massy and great-nephew of Prince Rainer III
- Mélanie de Lusignan , daughter of Baroness Elizabeth-Ann de Massy and great-niece of Prince Rainer III
- Keith Sebastian Knecht , son of the late Baroness Christine de Massy and great-nephew of Prince Rainer III
Under the 2002 succession rules, if Prince Albert dies without legitimate offspring, the throne will pass to his sister, Princess Caroline (previously, only his descendants were eligible). If Caroline gained the throne, her eldest son Andrea would become heir apparent. At that time, he would most likely receive the traditional titles of the heir to Monaco's throne (becoming HSH Hereditary Prince Andrea of Monaco, Marquis of Baux) and assume the Grimaldi surname.
After the succession of Prince Albert, his aunt Princess Antoinette and her descendants lost their places in the line of succession. Similarly, upon the succession of any future child of Prince Albert, Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie and their children will cease to be in the line of succession. Nevertheless, if the line of succession should fail at some future time, Princesses Antoinette, Caroline, and Stéphanie or their descendants would be eligible for selection by the Crown Council.
Until the changes of 2002, the crown of Monaco could only pass to the descendants of the reigning prince. These old rules meant that Princess Antoinette was not in the line of succession and that Princesses Caroline and Stephanie would lose their places in line at the moment of Prince Albert’s succession. This created considerable concern that the throne might fall vacant should Prince Albert inherit the crown and then die without fathering a child. The 2002 rules eliminate that concern.
In one respect, the 2002 rules are more restrictive than the previous succession law. Under the old rules, the reigning prince could adopt an heir who would succeed if the prince died without legitimate biological children. Prince Albert could have adopted one of his nephews as his heir, or even an unrelated person. That option no longer exists. Now, if Prince Albert fails to marry and father a legitimate child, the crown will automatically pass to his sister or her children.
A biological child can only succeed to the throne if his or her parents are legally married. Thus, someone born out of wedlock, like Princess Stéphanie's youngest child Camille Gottlieb, cannot inherit the crown of Monaco. Such a person can succeed, however, if his or her parents subsequently marry. For instance, Louis Ducruet was born before his parents' marriage. Since Princess Stéphanie later married Louis' father, Daniel Ducruet, Louis can now inherit the crown. Similarly, Camille Gottlieb would join the line of succession if her father, Jean-Raymond Gottlieb, eventually marries Princess Stéphanie (this scenario appears unlikely because Princess Stéphanie has married and divorced Adans Lopez Peres since ending her relationship with Gottlieb). Although this rule, called legitimization, has become the norm in the case of ordinary inheritances (for example, for the property of commoners) it appears that Monaco is the only monarchy to apply it for succession to the throne.
- Constitution de la Principauté including succession rules (in French)
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