These young princesses move crowns right to lead Europe


After the abdication of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, Europe will not be left without a reigning queen for long.

A series of young princesses in countries such as Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden are slowly but surely moving their crowns to the right to sit on thrones across this continent in the coming years.

Many will even be the first women to take the royal lead in their countries after the introduction of female succession laws – a privilege previously reserved for male heirs.

Lisa Castro, a royal historian at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaures in southern France, told AFP that while there is great excitement about Europe’s future queens, they will often struggle with the same questions and challenges that faced their forefathers – especially regarding how relevant their place is in a modern world.

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According to Castro, an attitude towards issues such as women’s rights or environmental issues will be an important tool to ensure the public’s ongoing support.

According to her, the next generation “appears to be in the best position to respond to expectations on these topics”, especially thanks to the modern, more informal ways in which many of them were brought up.

“A precedent has already been set by many of the princesses’ parents to take on more contemporary matters, they therefore understand the needs and the challenges of their time”.

Here are some of Europe’s future queens:

Princess Leonor of Spain (19)

Royal supporters hope that the young, photogenic Leonor can breathe new life into the Spanish royal family.

This family has been plagued in the last few years by embarrassments surrounding her grandfather, the former Spanish king, Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014 and has been living in self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi since 2020 amid investigations into his financial affairs.

Princess Leonor’s parents, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, enjoy moderate favor from Spaniards according to a recent YouGov poll. Her mother, a former journalist, is often also looked at for her stylish outfits.

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The blonde princess recently started three years of military training at an academy in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, after which she will continue her university studies.

She is fluent in Spanish, French and Catalan.

When she ascends the throne, Leonor will become Spain’s third full queen after Joanna of Castile in the 16th century and Isabella II in the 19th century.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway (20)

Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the second in line for the Norwegian throne after her father, Crown Prince Haakon, and grandfather, King Harald V.

Her mother, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, has an older son, Marius Borg Høiby, from a previous relationship who is not part of the monarchy’s line of succession.

The Danish population did not immediately welcome Mette-Marit with open arms due to the nature of her first relationship, but she especially won favor after the birth of Ingrid.

King Frederik X, the new Danish king, is one of her godparents.

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Like Spain’s Princess Leonor, Ingrid recently started her military training. The future queen is also passionate about sports, especially surfing.

She will be the first Norwegian queen in nearly 600 years.

Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands (20)

Catharina-Amalia is the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, and she has two younger sisters, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane.

She became the official heir to the Dutch throne when her father ascended the throne on 30 April 2013. Her official title is Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange.

As a little girl, she was a flower girl at Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s wedding.

The future queen is currently in her second year at the University of Amsterdam where she studies politics, psychological law and economics.

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Her decision to turn down her annual royal income of £1.4 million (R33.5 million) a year until she one day acts as a working royal has been described as “brave” by experts.

At the time, the princess said in the media that she “feels uncomfortable” to receive such a large sum as a student, while others struggle to pay for their studies.

Like many other royals, growing up she faced criticism online and in the media – especially regarding her appearance. The Portuguese magazine Caras was particularly criticized for a cover story in which they labeled the princess as a “plus-size woman”.

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium (22)

Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, will one day make history and become Belgium’s first female monarch thanks to legislation changed in 1991 to end preference for male heirs to the throne.

Her father, King Philippe, is currently the reigning monarch.

This clever princess is currently studying history and politics at Oxford University’s Lincoln College and has also already completed her military service.

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She is fluent in German, Dutch, French and English, and was also the first Belgian royal to begin her schooling in German rather than French.

Crown Princess Victoria (46) and her daughter, Princess Estelle (12)

Crown Princess Victoria is the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife, Queen Silvia.

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Although she has a younger brother, Prince Carl Philip, her place as heir formally came into effect in 1980 with the parliamentary change to the Swedish Succession Act.

This means that her daughter, the twelve-year-old princess Estelle, can follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a ruling Swedish monarch.

The crown princess married her personal trainer, Daniel Westling, in 2009. When she becomes queen, he will be known as the king consort of Sweden.

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Where her royal ancestor, the British Queen Victoria, was known at the time as the “grandmother of Europe” thanks to her children’s marriages to European royalty, Crown Princess Victoria is known as the “godmother of Europe”.

She is currently the godparent of over 18 children, many of whom are European royalty.

The future queen is dyslexic like her father and younger brother, and has spoken candidly about her struggles with eating disorders.

Sources: AFP, People, Hello!, Vogue, Tatler.