A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the...

 is occupied
Accession has different definitions depending upon its application. In Property law, it is a mode of acquiring property that involves the addition of value to property through labor or the addition of new materials. In English Common law, the added value belonged to the original property's owner,...

 or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished
Abolished monarchy
Throughout history, monarchies have been abolished, either through revolutions, legislative reforms, coups d'état, or wars. The twentieth century saw a major acceleration of this process, with many monarchies violently overthrown by revolution or war, or else abolished as part of the process of...


Although "claimant" is sometimes preferred, the term in itself is not pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

. The original meaning of the English word pretend, from the French word prétendre (from the Latin praetendo lit. "to stretch out before") means "to put forward, to profess or claim"; this predates today's more common English meaning of "pretend", which is to claim falsely.

The term "pretender" applies not only to claimants with arguably genuine rights to the throne (as the various pretenders of the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

) who regard the de facto monarch as a usurper
Usurper is a derogatory term used to describe either an illegitimate or controversial claimant to the power; often, but not always in a monarchy, or a person who succeeds in establishing himself as a monarch without inheriting the throne, or any other person exercising authority unconstitutionally...

. It also applies to impostor
An impostor or imposter is a person who pretends to be somebody else, often to try to gain financial or social advantages through social engineering, but just as often for purposes of espionage or law enforcement....

s with wholly fabricated claims (as pretenders to Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

's throne Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel was a pretender to the throne of England. His claim to be the Earl of Warwick in 1487 threatened the newly established reign of King Henry VII .-Early life:...

 and Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne during the reign of King Henry VII of England. By claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV, one of the Princes in the Tower, Warbeck was a significant threat to the newly established Tudor Dynasty,...

). People in the latter category often assume the identities of deceased or missing royalty, and are sometimes referred to for clarity as false pretenders or royal impersonators. A Papal
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 pretender is instead called an Antipope
An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...


Pretenders in the Roman Empire

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 knew many pretenders to the offices making up the title of Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

, especially during the crisis of the Third Century
Crisis of the Third Century
The Crisis of the Third Century was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression...


These are customarily referred to as the Thirty Tyrants
Thirty Tyrants (Roman)
The Thirty Tyrants were a series of thirty rulers that appear in the Historia Augusta as having ostensibly been pretenders to the throne of the Roman Empire during the reign of the emperor Gallienus....

, which was an allusion to the Thirty Tyrants
Thirty Tyrants
The Thirty Tyrants were a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Athens after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. Contemporary Athenians referred to them simply as "the oligarchy" or "the Thirty" ; the expression "Thirty Tyrants" is due to later historians...

 of Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 some five hundred years earlier; although the comparison is questionable, and the Romans were separate aspirants, not (as the Athenians were) a Committee of Public Safety
Committee of Public Safety
The Committee of Public Safety , created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror , a stage of the French Revolution...

. The Loeb
Loeb Classical Library
The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

 translation of the appropriate chapter of the Augustan History
Augustan History
The Augustan History is a late Roman collection of biographies, in Latin, of the Roman Emperors, their junior colleagues and usurpers of the period 117 to 284...

 therefore represents the Latin triginta tyranni by "Thirty Pretenders" to avoid this artificial and confusing parallel. Not all of them were afterwards considered pretenders; several were actually successful in becoming Emperor at least in part of the Empire for a brief period.

Greek pretenders

The claimant to the throne of the last Greek kingdom is Constantine II
Constantine II of Greece
|align=right|Constantine II was King of Greece from 1964 until the abolition of the monarchy in 1973, the sixth and last monarch of the Greek Royal Family....

, who reigned as king from 1964 to 1973, of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (a branch of the House of Oldenburg
House of Oldenburg
The House of Oldenburg is a North German dynasty and one of Europe's most influential Royal Houses with branches that rule or have ruled in Denmark, Russia, Greece, Norway, Schleswig, Holstein, Oldenburg and Sweden...

), whose designated heir is his son Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, is the eldest son and heir apparent of Constantine II, who was King of Greece from 1964 to 1973....

. There are pretenders to other Greek thrones:

The Byzantine Empire

Disputed successions to the Roman (Byzantine) Empire long continued at Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. Most seriously, after the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in 1204, and its eventual recovery by Michael VIII Palaeologus, there came to be three Byzantine successor states, each of which claimed to be the Roman Empire, and several Latin claimants (including the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 and the houses of Montferrat and Courtenay
Philip of Courtenay
Philip I of Courtenay was titular Emperor of Constantinople 1273–1283. He was the son of Baldwin II of Constantinople and Marie of Brienne....

) to the Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

 the Crusaders had set up in its place. At times, some of these states and titles were subjected to multiple claims.

Cypriot pretenders

Following the defeat and death of King James III of Cyprus
James III of Cyprus
James III of Cyprus was the only and posthumous child by marriage of James II of Cyprus and Catherine Cornaro and King of Cyprus from birth. He died in mysterious circumstances as an infant, leaving his mother as the last Queen of Cyprus. His death paved the way for Venice to gain control of...

 in 1474, his younger and illegitimate brother, Eugène Matteo de Lusignan, also styled d'Arménie (died 1523) removed to Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, then to Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

. He was acknowledged as rightful heir to the thrones of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Jerusalem, and Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, although he never made serious efforts to pursue the claims. The title of "Barone de Baccari" was created in 1508 for Jacques Matteo (sives Eugene Matteo) d'Armenia with the remainder to his descendants in perpetuity. Eugene, illegitimate son of King Jacques II of Cyprus, had, when his family were exiled, first gone to Naples, then Sicily, then settled on Malta, marrying a Sicilian heiress, Donna Paola Mazzara (a descendant of the Royal House of Aragon of Sicily and Aragon), with issue.

French pretenders

The establishment of the First Republic and the execution of Louis XVI in 1793 led to the king's son becoming pretender to the abolished throne, styled as Louis XVII. As Louis XVII was a child and imprisoned in Paris by the revolutionaries, his uncle, the Comte de Provence
Louis XVIII of France
Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

, proclaimed himself regent in his nephew's name. After Louis XVII died in 1795, the Comte de Provence became pretender himself, as Louis XVIII.

Louis XVIII was restored to the throne in 1814, and was succeeded by his brother Charles X
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

 in 1824. Charles X was, however, forced into exile by the July Revolution
July Revolution
The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution or in French, saw the overthrow of King Charles X of France, the French Bourbon monarch, and the ascent of his cousin Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who himself, after 18 precarious years on the throne, would in turn be overthrown...

. Charles X and his son, the Dauphin Louis-Antoine
Louis-Antoine, Duke of Angouleme
Louis Antoine of France, Duke of Angoulême was the eldest son of Charles X of France and, from 1824 to 1836, the last Dauphin of France...

, abdicated their claims in favor of Charles's grandson, the Duke of Bordeaux; however, their cousin the Duke of Orléans, a descendant of Louis XIV's younger brother, mounted the throne as Louis Philippe I.

For most of the July Monarchy, the legitimists, as supporters of the exiled senior line came to be known, were uncertain of whom to support. Some believed the abdication of Charles and his son legal, and recognized the young Chambord as king, while others maintained that abdication was unconstitutional in France of the ancien régime, and continued to recognize first Charles X and then Louis-Antoine, until the latter's death in 1844. On his uncle's death, Bordeaux proclaimed himself king as "Henry V", but remains known to history by his title of pretense, the "Count of Chambord".

In 1848, Louis Philippe was himself overthrown by the February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

, and abdicated the throne in favor of his young grandson, the Philippe, Comte de Paris
Philippe, Comte de Paris
Philippe d'Orléans, Count of Paris was the grandson of Louis Philippe I, King of the French. He was a claimant to the French throne from 1848 until his death.-Early life:...

. However, a republic was proclaimed, leaving Paris, like his cousin Chambord, merely a pretender to a no longer existing crown. Over the next several decades, there were several attempts at a so-called "fusion", to unite both groups of monarchists in support of the childless Chambord as king, who would recognize the Count of Paris as his heir. Those efforts failed in the 1850s, but after the establishment of the Third Republic in 1870, when a royalist majority was elected to the Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of deputies is the name given to a legislative body such as the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or can refer to a unicameral legislature.-Description:...

, fusion again became the royalist strategy. As a result, in 1873 the Count of Paris withdrew his own bid for the throne and recognized Chambord as legitimate pretender to the French crown. In spite of this apparent unity among royalist forces, restoration of the monarchy was not to be; Chambord refused to accept the Tricolour
Flag of France
The national flag of France is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured royal blue , white, and red...

 flag, which rendered him unacceptable to most Frenchmen as a constitutional king
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

. The monarchists hoped that after Chambord's death they could unite behind the Orléanist
The Orléanists were a French right-wing/center-right party which arose out of the French Revolution. It governed France 1830-1848 in the "July Monarchy" of king Louis Philippe. It is generally seen as a transitional period dominated by the bourgeoisie and the conservative Orleanist doctrine in...

 candidate. Chambord died in exile in 1883. But France's royalists had lost their majority in parliament by 1877. The erstwhile Orléanist Adolphe Thiers
Adolphe Thiers
Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe Thiers was a French politician and historian. was a prime minister under King Louis-Philippe of France. Following the overthrow of the Second Empire he again came to prominence as the French leader who suppressed the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871...

 called Chambord "The French Washington", i.e. the true founder of the Republic.

In 1883 the majority of French monarchists accepted the Count of Paris as rightful pretender to the French throne. A minority of ultra-reactionaries, the so-called Blancs d'Espagne ("Spanish Whites"), continued to withheld support from the House of Orléans
House of Orleans
Orléans is the name used by several branches of the Royal House of France, all descended in the legitimate male line from the dynasty's founder, Hugh Capet. It became a tradition during France's ancien régime for the duchy of Orléans to be granted as an appanage to a younger son of the king...

 and chose instead Juan, Count of Montizon
Juan, Count of Montizón
Don Juan Carlos María Isidro de Borbón, Count of Montizón was the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain from 1860 to 1868, and the Legitimist claimant to the throne of France from 1883 to 1887.- Youth and marriage :...

, the Carlist pretender to the Spanish throne, who also happened to be the senior male descendant of Louis XIV.

The arguments are, on one side, that Louis XIV's younger grandson, Philip de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 renounced any future claim to the French throne when he left France to become king of Spain as Philip V in 1700 (ratified internationally by the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

), leaving the Dukes of Orléans as heirs to the throne of France in the event of extinction of descendants of Louis XIV's elder grandson, Louis, Duke of Burgundy
Louis, Duke of Burgundy
Louis de France, Son of France, Duke of Burgundy , and later Dauphin of France was the eldest son of Louis, Dauphin of France, known as le Grand Dauphin and, as such, was known as le Petit Dauphin...

, which occurred in 1883. On the other side, Anjou's renunciation is held to be invalid because prior to the revolution it was a fundamental tenet of the French monarchy that the crown could never be diverted from the rightful heir of Hugh Capet. Moreover, although the Orléans volunteered to defer their rival claim to the throne after 1873, the regicidal
The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial...

 vote of their ancestor Philippe Égalité
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans commonly known as Philippe, was a member of a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, the ruling dynasty of France. He actively supported the French Revolution and adopted the name Philippe Égalité, but was nonetheless guillotined during the Reign of Terror...

 in 1789 and the usurpation of Louis Philippe in 1830 are alleged to have extinguished all rights to the throne for the Orléans branch. The schism has continued to the present day, with supporters of the senior line reclaiming the title of Legitimist, leaving their opponent royalists to be known, once again, as Orléanists. The current representative of the senior line is Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou
Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou
Prince Louis Alphonse of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou was not originally among his given names ; born 25 April 1974, Madrid) is a member of the historically royal dynasty of the House of Bourbon, and one of the current pretenders to the defunct crown of France...

, the senior living descendant of Hugh Capet (and of Philip V d'Anjou of Spain) who was born and raised in Spain. The Orléanist line, which returned to live in France when its law of banishment was repealed in 1950, is represented by Henri, Count of Paris, Duke of France, senior male-line descendant of King Louis Philippe.

In addition to these two claims to the historic royal throne of France, there has also been a pretender to the imperial throne of France, created first by Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 in 1804 and recreated by his nephew Emperor Napoleon III in 1852. This claim is today disputed between Jean Christophe, Prince Napoléon and his own father, the self-avowed republican Prince Charles Napoléon (likewise deemed to be excluded from the succession due to a non-dynastic marriage), both descendants of Napoleon I's youngest brother, Jérôme Bonaparte
Jérôme Bonaparte
Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte, French Prince, King of Westphalia, 1st Prince of Montfort was the youngest brother of Napoleon, who made him king of Westphalia...


Russian pretenders

There is much debate over who is the legitimate heir to the Russian throne, and bitter dispute within the family itself. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna is considered by some to be the legitimate heir. She is the only child of Grand Duke Vladimir who died in 1992, a great-grandson of Tsar Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

, who some considered the last male dynast of the House of Romanov. Some of her opponents believe she is ineligible to claim the throne because she was born of a marriage that would have been deemed morganatic
Morganatic marriage
In the context of European royalty, a morganatic marriage is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage...

 under Russia's monarchy, which was abolished in 1917. Others oppose her for reasons similar to those of anti-Orleanists: her father's and grandfather's perceived disloyalty and dynastic ambition are seen as vitiating any rights which might otherwise have belonged to her branch of the former dynasty.

Still others maintain that the severe, pre-revolutionary marital rules of the Romanovs leave no one who can claim to be rightful heir to the dynasty's legacy. Others recognize Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia as head of the family. A descendant of Emperor Nicholas I
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

, he is the elected president of the Romanov Family Association
Romanov Family Association
The Romanov Family Association, Obyedineniye Chlenov Roda Romanovykh , is an organization for male-line descendants of Emperor Paul I of Russia...

, which consists of most living descendants of the Romanov emperors.

Anna Anderson
Anna Anderson
Anna Anderson was the best known of several impostors who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia...

 attempted to prove she was Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna....

, the lost daughter of Nicholas II, but DNA testing on her remains eventually proved her to be an impersonator. Although she did not claim the throne, per se, as women could not succeed to the Russian throne so long as any male dynast survived, she became more famous than any of the various Russian pretenders.

England, Scotland and Great Britain

Pretenders to the thrones of the United Kingdom and its predecessor realms, as well as the other historical jurisdictions that are modernly England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, have existed from time to time.

Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel was a pretender to the throne of England. His claim to be the Earl of Warwick in 1487 threatened the newly established reign of King Henry VII .-Early life:...

 (ca. 1477 – ca. 1525) was a pretender to the throne of England. His claim to be the Earl of Warwick in 1487 threatened the newly established reign of King Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 (reigned 1485–1509). This was just after The Wars of the Roses. He was just a boy but was used to try to take over the Kingdom.

After the execution of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 in 1649, his son Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 became pretender until his restoration 11 years later. In modern times, the chief claim was that of the Jacobites
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

. After the overthrow of the Catholic James II and VII
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 in the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 in 1688, many refused to accept the legality of the new regime of William and Mary
William and Mary
The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the coregency over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, of King William III & II and Queen Mary II...

, James's Protestant daughter and son-in-law, and continued to recognize James as king. James made a significant effort in 1690 to recover Ireland, but was defeated by William at the Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish and Irish thronesthe Catholic King James and the Protestant King William across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland...

. After James's death, his supporters recognized his son,
  • James Francis Edward Stuart
    James Francis Edward Stuart
    James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

    , the Roman Catholic son of the deposed King James VII and II. James was barred from the succession to the throne by the Act of Settlement 1701
    Act of Settlement 1701
    The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

    . Notwithstanding the Act of Union 1707, he claimed the separate thrones of Scotland, as James VIII, and of England and Ireland, as James III, until his death in 1766. In Jacobite
    Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

     terms, Acts of Parliament (of England or Scotland) after 1688, (including the Acts of Union) did not receive the required Royal Assent
    Royal Assent
    The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

     of the legitimate Jacobite monarch and, therefore, were without legal effect. James was responsible for a number of conspiracies and rebellions, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland. The most notable was The Fifteen, which took place in 1715-16
  • Charles Edward Stuart
    Charles Edward Stuart
    Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Great Britain , and Ireland...

    , James' elder son, the would-be Charles III, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, led in his father's name the last major Jacobite rebellion, the Forty-Five
    Jacobite Rising of 1745
    The Jacobite rising of 1745, often referred to as "The 'Forty-Five," was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent...

    , in 1745-46. He died in 1788, without legitimate issue.
  • Henry Benedict Stuart
    Henry Benedict Stuart
    Henry Benedict Stuart was a Roman Catholic Cardinal, as well as the fourth and final Jacobite heir to publicly claim the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Unlike his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, and brother, Charles Edward Stuart, Henry made no effort to seize the throne...

    , younger brother of Charles Edward, a Roman Catholic Cardinal, best known as the Cardinal-Duke of York, took up the claim to the throne as the would-be Henry IX of England, though he was the final Jacobite heir to publicly do so. He died unmarried in 1807.

After 1807, the line of James II and VII became extinct. As the Jacobites had ceased to have much political significance after the failure of the Forty-five, the movement became essentially completely dormant after Henry's death. Genealogically, the next most senior line to the English and Scottish thrones was through James II's youngest sister, Henriette Anne, whose daughter had married into the House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

. To the very limited extent that Jacobitism survived the death of Cardinal York, they supported the claims of this line. Its current representative is Franz, Duke of Bavaria
Franz, Duke of Bavaria
Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern , styled as His Royal Highness The Duke of Bavaria, is head of the Wittelsbach family, the former ruling family of the Kingdom of Bavaria...

, though he himself does not claim the title.


Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...

 (1349–1416) is probably the best-known Welsh pretender, though whether he was pretender or Prince of Wales depends upon one's source of information. Officially, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, who died in 1282, was the only Prince of Wales whose status as ruler was officially recognised by the English Crown, though three of the four men who claimed the throne of Gwynedd between the assumption of the title by Owain Gwynedd
Owain Gwynedd
Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd , in English also known as Owen the Great, was King of Gwynedd from 1137 until his death in 1170. He is occasionally referred to as "Owain I of Gwynedd"; and as "Owain I of Wales" on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of...

 in the 1160s and the loss of Welsh independence in 1283 also used the title or similar. Madog ap Llywelyn
Madog ap Llywelyn
Madog ap Llywelyn, or Prince Madoc, was from a junior branch of the House of Aberffraw and a distant relation of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last recognised native Prince of Wales.-Lineage:...

 also briefly used the title during his revolt of 1294-5. Since 1301, the title of Prince of Wales has been given to the eldest living son of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of United Kingdom, 1801). The word "living" is important. Upon the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales
Arthur, Prince of Wales
Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales was the first son of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and therefore, heir to the throne of England. As he predeceased his father, Arthur never became king...

, Henry VII invested his second son, the future Henry VIII, with the title. The title is not automatic, however, but merges into the Crown when a prince dies or accedes to the throne, and has to be re-conferred by the sovereign.

Nevertheless, it is Glyndŵr whom many remember as the last native Prince of Wales. He was indeed proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters on 16 September 1400, and his revolt in quest of Welsh independence was not quashed by Henry IV
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

 until 1409. Later, however, one of Glyndŵr's cousins, Owain Tudor
Owen Tudor
Sir Owen Meredith Tudor was a Welsh soldier and courtier, descended from a daughter of the Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffudd, "Lord Rhys". However, Owen Tudor is particularly remembered for his role in founding England's Tudor dynasty – including his relationship with, and probable secret marriage to,...

, would marry the widow of Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

, and their grandson would become Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, from whom the current British monarch is descended (through his daughter Margaret Tudor, who married James IV of Scotland
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...


The various minor kingdoms that came together to form what is today known as the Principality of Wales each had their own royal dynasty. The most important of these realms were Gwynedd
Kingdom of Gwynedd
Gwynedd was one petty kingdom of several Welsh successor states which emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in the Early Middle Ages, and later evolved into a principality during the High Middle Ages. It was based on the former Brythonic tribal lands of the Ordovices, Gangani, and the...

, Powys and Deheubarth. After 878
Year 878 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar.- Europe :...

 the ruling dynasties in these kingdoms each claimed descent from the sons of Rhodri Mawr who had conquered them or otherwise achieved their thrones during his reign. Merfyn Frych, the father of Rhodri Mawr, had come to power in Gwynedd because the native dynasty, known as the House of Cunedda had expired. Merfyn was descended from royalty through his own father Gwriad and claimed ancestors from among the rulers of British Rheged
Rheged is described in poetic sources as one of the kingdoms of the Hen Ogledd , the Brythonic-speaking region of what is now northern England and southern Scotland, during the Early Middle Ages...

 (in particular Llywarch Hen
Llywarch Hen
Llywarch Hen was a 6th-century prince of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged, a ruling family in the Hen Ogledd or 'Old North' of Britain...

). It was acknowledged by all of the realms of Wales after the time of Rhodri Mawr that the House of Gwynedd (known as the House of Aberffraw
House of Aberffraw
The House of Aberffraw is a historiographical and genealogical term historians use to illustrate the clear line of succession from Rhodri the Great of Wales through his eldest son Anarawd....

) was senior and homage should be paid by each of them to the king of Gwynedd. After the reign of Owain ap Gruffudd
Owain Gwynedd
Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd , in English also known as Owen the Great, was King of Gwynedd from 1137 until his death in 1170. He is occasionally referred to as "Owain I of Gwynedd"; and as "Owain I of Wales" on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of...

 of Gwynedd the realm began to merge with the concept of a Principality of Wales. This was realised by Owain's descendant Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1267. It was not to last and this new Wales was invaded by England and dismantled between 1277 and 1284. All of the descendants of Llywelyn "the last" and his brothers were either imprisoned or killed. Surviving members of the House of Aberffraw
House of Aberffraw
The House of Aberffraw is a historiographical and genealogical term historians use to illustrate the clear line of succession from Rhodri the Great of Wales through his eldest son Anarawd....

 descended in the male line from Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd
Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd
Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd was prince of part of Gwynedd, one of the kingdoms of medieval Wales. He ruled from 1175 to 1195.On the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170, fighting broke out among his nineteen sons over the division of his kingdom...

 in the guise of the Wynn and Anwyl families. Other surviving cadet branches of the Aberffraw and other Welsh princely houses have also survived into the modern age.


The business of Irish pretenders is rather more complicated because of the nature of kingship in Ireland before the Norman take-over of 1171. In both Ireland and Scotland, succession to kingship was elective, often (if not usually) by contest, according to matrilineal descent. That is, the head of state of any kingdom, sub-kingdom, high kingdom, etc., was always a king, but the king always inherited the crown through his mother, as a ranking princess royal, not through his father. (See, e.g., The Lion in the North: A Personal View of Scotland's History, by John Prebble ISBN 0-14-003652-0; among other works.)

Thus, a king would not be succeeded by his own son but would normally be succeeded by his mother's other sons; then by his sisters' sons; then his maternal aunt's sons; and so on, traveling through the female line of the royal house. This combination of male succession through matrilineal descent produced a cumbersome system under which the throne passed cyclically from brother to brother, then uncle to nephew, and then cousin to cousin, before starting over as brother to brother, uncle to nephew, etc. {See, e.g., The Lion in the North: A Personal View of Scotland's History, by John Prebble; among other works.} In Ireland, however, the high king from the time of Maelsheachlainn I (died 862) exercised a measure of control over the country. He belonged to the Ui Neill dynasty and under the Brehon laws, succession was open to any kinsman up to and including second cousin. His dynasty is today represented by the O'Neill family, which would regard its head as the pretender. The O Conor dynasty provided two high kings and the head of the family, the O Conor Don, would also be considered a pretender to the Irish throne. The descendants of Brian Boroimhe are represented by Lord Inchiquin, who is also regarded as a claimant. In addition, pretenders or claimants exist to the localised kingdoms of Breifne, Fermanagh, Tyrconnel and Leinster. The O'Neills would also be regarded as claimants to the throne of Aileach and Lord Inchiquin to the throne of Thomond.

In Scotland, Malcolm II
Malcolm II of Scotland
Máel Coluim mac Cináeda , was King of the Scots from 1005 until his death...

 tried to get around this system by killing off all of the heirs between himself and his grandson, Duncan; except for Prince Lulach
Lulach of Scotland
Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin was King of Scots between 15 August 1057 and 17 March 1058.He appears to have been a weak king, as his nicknames suggest...

 of Moray, who was just five years old at the time and - more importantly - was successfully rumoured to be half-witted (thus, he survived). Duncan I
Duncan I of Scotland
Donnchad mac Crínáin was king of Scotland from 1034 to 1040...

 did become king, but Lulach's stepfather, Maelbeth - rendered "Macbeth
Macbeth of Scotland
Mac Bethad mac Findlaích was King of the Scots from 1040 until his death...

" in English - successfully claimed the throne in his own right and on Lulach's behalf.

Duncan I's son, Malcolm III
Malcolm III of Scotland
Máel Coluim mac Donnchada , was King of Scots...

 'Canmore', ultimately returned from exile in England and took the throne from Maelbeth and Lulach (the latter reigning 1057-1058, after the death of Maelbeth in battle against Malcolm). Malcolm was succeeded by his brother, as Duncan II, but then by four of his own sons - one of whom, Edgar
Edgar of Scotland
Edgar or Étgar mac Maíl Choluim , nicknamed Probus, "the Valiant" , was king of Alba from 1097 to 1107...

 (1097–1107), changed the official language of Scotland from Gàidhlig (then, still a Scottish dialect of Old Irish) to Scots (then, a language similar to English but missing the Saxon element that has always been part of standard English). Gaelic dominance of Scotland ended during the reign of Alexander I
Alexander I of Scotland
Alexander I , also called Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim and nicknamed "The Fierce", was King of the Scots from 1107 to his death.-Life:...

 (1107–1124), and the old Celtic system of matrilineal kingship finally ended and was replaced by a system of primogeniture.

Such a transition never happened in Ireland, but civil war and the imposition of Anglo-Norman rule intervened. Although Ireland had been culturally unified for centuries, it was not politically unified, even as a tribal nation.

The High King of Ireland was essentially a ceremonial, pseudo-federal overlord (where his over-lordship was even recognised), who exercised actual power only within the realm of which he was actually king. In the case of the southern branch of the Uí Niall, this would have been the Kingdom of Meath (modernly the counties of Meath, West Meath and part of County Dublin). High Kings from the northern branch of the family ruled various kingdoms in what eventually became the province of Ulster.

Nevertheless, the Uí Niall were apparently powerful in ceremony if not in politic, so that political unification of Ireland was not aided by the usurpation of the high kingship from Mael Sechnaill II and the southern Uí Niall in 1002 by Briain ‘Boruma’ mac Cennédig, of the Kingdom of Munster. This was the third of the so-called "Three Usurpations of Brian Boru
Brian Boru
Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig, , , was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain, Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated...


Brian Boru was a strong king who could have unified Ireland politically, and there is some suggestion he intended to make himself High King of Scotland as well. But he was killed in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, and twelve years as High King was not long enough to unify the island politically. Mael Sechnaill II was restored to the High Kingship but he died in 1022, too soon to undo the damage done by Brian's "coup." From 1022 through the Norman take-over of 1171, the High Kingship was held by "Kings with Opposition" - that is, whoever was strong enough to overthrow the High King of the day and take the Hill of Tara
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara , located near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath, Leinster, Ireland...

 simply did so. This 150-year period of regnal unrest between families now called O'Brian, O'Conner, McLoughlin/O'Melaghlin, and others, was eventually immortalised in the children's game called "King of the Hill"
King of the Hill (game)
King of the Hill , is a children's game, the object of which is to stay on top of a large hill or pile as the "King of the Hill"...

. The game is still popular among American children, who take turns trying to push each other off a low stool, chair, or other make-shift hill while arguing, "I'm king of the hill!" "No! I'm king!"

Because the native Irish high kingship never transitioned to a system of nation-state kingship primogeniture but simply faded into an oblivion of civil war between competing Irish royal families, there are literally as many as a million or more people who can make a claim to the ancient high kingship of Tara that is as equally valid as anybody else's under the old system disrupted by what may be called Brian Boru's "coup de tribe." Indeed, as a reputed descendant of Brian Boru and of the Uí Niall Dynasty both through his late grandmother, the current heir to the statutory throne that includes Northern Ireland, Prince Charles, could be considered a viable pretender to the high kingship of Ireland, especially as he would be making the claim through the female line of his ancestry. (The British Royal Family has publicly claimed descent from Brian Boru through the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and from other ancestors associated with the Ui Niall Dynasty - usually via marriage through the Royal Family's Scottish ancestry; see the history section of the Royal Family's website for bloodlines and timelines.) But see the remarks above regarding existing native dynasties, whose claims are more valid than those of the current British royal family.

Interestingly, some Irish rebels discussed offering the Irish throne to Prince Joachim of Prussia
Prince Joachim of Prussia
Prince Joachim Franz Humbert of Prussia was the youngest son of Wilhelm II, German Emperor, by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein.-Candidate for thrones:...

 (son of Kaiser Wilhelm II) before the 1916 Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

. This was obviously anti-English sentiment following the execution of the leaders of the rebellion. After the failure of the Rising (whose leaders established an Irish republic; the royalists were a minority among the rebels), the offer was, of course, never made. But had he been crowned, and Ireland had subsequently became a republic, Joachim's son, Franz Wilhelm
Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia
Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia is a German businessman and member of the House of Hohenzollern, the former ruling imperial house of Germany and royal house of Prussia. From 1976 to 1986 he was known as Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia...

, would be an Irish pretender; and, afterward, his son, George of Russia, would be an Irish as well as a Russian pretender.

Ottoman pretenders

Prince Cem , December 22, 1459 – February 25, 1495) was a pretender to the Ottoman throne in the 15th century. He was a son of Mehmed II the Conqueror and younger brother of Sultan Bayezid II. He was banished to Europe, first under the protection of the Knights Hospitaller of St...

, eldest son born during the reign of his father, Mehmet the Conqueror claimed the Sultanate although he was defeated in battle months later by his eldest brother (by birth) Bayezid II
Bayezid II
Bayezid II or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî was the oldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512...

. He fled to Rhodes Island then eventually to the Papal Territories. His descendants claimed Cem
Prince Cem , December 22, 1459 – February 25, 1495) was a pretender to the Ottoman throne in the 15th century. He was a son of Mehmed II the Conqueror and younger brother of Sultan Bayezid II. He was banished to Europe, first under the protection of the Knights Hospitaller of St...

 rights until Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 defeated the Ottomans in the 16th century. After the Ottoman empire was abolished, and the Republic of Turkey came into power, the successive heads of the Ottoman family claimed the throne of the Turkish empire.

Kingdom of Jerusalem

The Emperors of Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 held the title of "King of Zion" through their claim of descent from the Biblical House of David
Davidic line
The Davidic line refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the New Testament...

 through his son King Solomon. Menelik II dropped the use of this title. The Ethiopian Emperors continued to use the honorific of "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah" up until the monarchy ended with the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Since the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

, many European rulers have claimed to be its rightful heir. None of these, however, have actually ruled over a part of the former Kingdom. Today there are several potential European claimants on the basis of the inheritance of the title. None of the claimants have any power in the area of the former Kingdom. See the article Kings of Jerusalem
Kings of Jerusalem
This is a list of kings of Jerusalem, from 1099 to 1291, as well as claimants to the title up to the present day.-Kings of Jerusalem :...

 for a list of potential claimants.

False pretenders

A number of individuals have claimed to be princes who disappeared or died under somewhat mysterious circumstances:
  • Anna Anderson
    Anna Anderson
    Anna Anderson was the best known of several impostors who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia...

    , who was one of several persons who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia
  • Bertrand of Rais, who claimed to be Baldwin I of Constantinople
    Baldwin I of Constantinople
    Baldwin I , the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, as Baldwin IX Count of Flanders and as Baldwin VI Count of Hainaut, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the capture of Constantinople, the conquest of the greater part of the Byzantine...

  • Lambert Simnel
    Lambert Simnel
    Lambert Simnel was a pretender to the throne of England. His claim to be the Earl of Warwick in 1487 threatened the newly established reign of King Henry VII .-Early life:...

    , who claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick
    Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick
    Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick was the son of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence and a potential claimant to the English throne during the reigns of both Richard III and his successor, Henry VII...

  • Perkin Warbeck
    Perkin Warbeck
    Perkin Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne during the reign of King Henry VII of England. By claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV, one of the Princes in the Tower, Warbeck was a significant threat to the newly established Tudor Dynasty,...

    , who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York
    Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York
    Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, 1st Duke of Norfolk, 1st Earl of Norfolk, Earl Marshal was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville. He was born in Shrewsbury....

  • Yemelyan Pugachev
    Yemelyan Pugachev
    Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachov , was a pretender to the Russian throne who led a great Cossack insurrection during the reign of Catherine II...

    , who claimed to be Peter III of Russia
    Peter III of Russia
    Peter III was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was very pro-Prussian, which made him an unpopular leader. He was supposedly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his wife, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II.-Early life and character:Peter was born in Kiel, in...

  • The three false Dimitris of Russia
    • False Dmitriy I
      False Dmitriy I
      False Dmitriy I was the Tsar of Russia from 21 July 1605 until his death on 17 May 1606 under the name of Dimitriy Ioannovich . He is sometimes referred to under the usurped title of Dmitriy II...

    • False Dmitriy II
    • False Dmitriy III
  • Karl Wilhelm Naundorff
    Karl Wilhelm Naundorff
    Karl Wilhelm Naundorff was a German clock- and watch-maker who until his death claimed to be Prince Louis-Charles. Naundorff was one of the more stubborn of more than thirty men who claimed to be Louis XVII.-Biography:...

    , who was one of over thirty persons who claimed to be Louis XVII of France
    Louis XVII of France
    Louis XVII , from birth to 1789 known as Louis-Charles, Duke of Normandy; then from 1789 to 1791 as Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France; and from 1791 to 1793 as Louis-Charles, Prince Royal of France, was the son of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette...

  • Kaspar Hauser
    Kaspar Hauser
    Kaspar Hauser was a German youth who claimed to have grown up in the total isolation of a darkened cell. Hauser's claims, and his subsequent death by stabbing, sparked much debate and controversy....

    , who was claimed to be the stillborn son of Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
    Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
    Charles, Grand Duke of Baden became ruler of Baden on June 11, 1811 and ruled until his death. He was born in Karlsruhe....

  • False Margaret
    False Margaret
    False Margaret was a Norwegian woman who impersonated Margaret, Maid of Norway....

    , who claimed to be Margaret, Maid of Norway
    Margaret, Maid of Norway
    Margaret , usually known as the Maid of Norway , sometimes known as Margaret of Scotland , was a Norwegian princess who was Queen of Scots from 1286 until her death...

Claimant descendants of royalty

There have also been individuals who claimed to be descendants of royalty:
  • Eugenio Lascorz
    Eugenio Lascorz
    Eugenio Lascorz y Labastida was a pretender who claimed connection to the royal house of the Byzantine Empire. Eugenio Lascorz was born in Zaragoza . His father was a laborer....

    , who claimed descent from the Lascaris of Byzantium
    Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

  • Alexis Brimeyer
    Alexis Brimeyer
    Alexis Ceslaw Maurice Jean Brimeyer was a false pretender who claimed connection to various European thrones. He used fraudulent combined titles like Prince d'Anjou Durazzo Durassow Romanoff Dolgorouki de Bourbon-Conde...

    , who claimed connections to various European royal houses
  • Pierre Plantard
    Pierre Plantard
    Pierre Athanase Marie Plantard was a French draughtsman, best known for being the principal perpetrator of the Priory of Sion hoax, by which he claimed from the 1960s onwards that he was a Merovingian descendant of Dagobert II and the "Great Monarch" prophesied by Nostradamus.-Surname:Pierre...

    , who claimed descent from Merovingian king Dagobert II
    Dagobert II
    Dagobert II was the king of Austrasia , the son of Sigebert III and Chimnechild of Burgundy. The Feast Date of St Dagobert II is 23 December -Biography:...

  • Michel Roger Lafosse, who claims descent from Charles Edward Stuart
    Charles Edward Stuart
    Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Great Britain , and Ireland...

  • Kumazawa Hiromichi
    Kumazawa Hiromichi
    , also known as the "Kumazawa emperor," was a Japanese businessman and Buddhist priest from Nagoya who publicly disputed the legitimacy of Emperor Hirohito's bloodline in the period shortly after the end of the Second World War...

     (so-called "The Kumazawa Tenno"), who claimed descent from the last Tenno of Nancho
    The , spanning from 1336 to 1392, was a period that occurred during the formative years of the Muromachi bakufu of Japan's history.During this period, there existed a Northern Imperial Court, established by Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and a Southern Imperial Court, established by Emperor Go-Daigo in...

     (the Southern Court) of Japan
  • Obren Christic, claimed illegitimate son of Milan I of Serbia.
  • Maria Pia de Saxe-Coburgo-Bragança, claimed adulterine
    Adultery is sexual infidelity to one's spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It originally referred only to sex between a woman who was married and a person other than her spouse. Even in cases of separation from one's spouse, an extramarital affair is still considered adultery.Adultery is...

    Legitimacy (law)
    At common law, legitimacy is the status of a child who is born to parents who are legally married to one another; and of a child who is born shortly after the parents' divorce. In canon and in civil law, the offspring of putative marriages have been considered legitimate children...

    ) daughter of Charles I of Portugal
    Carlos I of Portugal
    -Assassination:On 1 February 1908 the royal family returned from the palace of Vila Viçosa to Lisbon. They travelled by train to Barreiro and, from there, they took a steamer to cross the Tagus River and disembarked at Cais do Sodré in central Lisbon. On their way to the royal palace, the open...

    • Rosario Poidimani, designated heir of Maria Pia de Saxe-Coburgo-Bragança (above indicated).

Japanese descendants of Chinese emperors

Japanese clans like the Hata clan were descended from the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

. See the article within Japanese clans for other descendants of Chinese emperors in Japan.

See also

  • List of current pretenders
  • List of Indian princely states
  • List of royal houses
  • Royal house
    Royal House
    A royal house or royal dynasty consists of at least one, but usually more monarchs who are related to one another, as well as their non-reigning descendants and spouses. Monarchs of the same realm who are not related to one another are usually deemed to belong to different houses, and each house is...

  • Monarchism
    Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy as a form of government in a nation. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government out of principle, independent from the person, the Monarch.In this system, the Monarch may be the...

  • Order of succession
    Order of succession
    An order of succession is a formula or algorithm that determines who inherits an office upon the death, resignation, or removal of its current occupant.-Monarchies and nobility:...

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