On February 23rd, 2012 a future queen, Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, was born in Sweden. Counting her mother, Crown Princess Victoria, who is currently the only female heir-apparent in the world, this brings the total number of future queens regnant to five. The others are Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands and Princess Elisabeth of Belgium. If the Crown Prince and Princess of Spain do not have a son their elder daughter, Infanta Leonor, would make it six.
Barring any unforseen tragedy or abolishing the monarchy, these little girls are changing history. Other countries have had queens regnant before but Princess Elisabeth will be Belgium's first. Should Sweden's little princess inherit the throne from her mother, this will be one of the few times, outside of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, when the Queen of a European throne has been succeeded by another woman. Monarchies are no longer a boys only club. Should William and Catherine have a firstborn daughter, Prince Christian of Denmark will be further outnumbered by his female contemporaries.
Princess Estelle, who cannot be usurped by a male sibling, owes her position to her mother. When Sweden changed their rules of succession in 1980 from agnatic to equal primogeniture, Victoria became Crown Princess despite having a younger brother. Other monarchies followed suit, Norway in 1990, Belgium 1991, Denmark in 2009 and Luxembourg in 2011. The Netherlands, with their own history of Queens, made the change in 1983. Women have ruled the country for so long that when Crown Prince Willem-Alexander succeeds his mother Queen Beatrix, he will be the first king of the Netherlands since 1890. Although Britain has five Queens Regnant, they are currently in the process of changing the rules. If William and Catherine's firstborn is a girl, she will be the beneficiary of this change. If the fates are kind, she may eventually take her place amongst her illustrious predecessors in British history.
© Marilyn Braun 2012
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Article amended to add the name of the princess.
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