Queen Elizabeth may be the globe’s most iconic monarch but waiting in the wings in neighbouring Europe are a whole crop of young women ready to wear the crown and command a kingdom.
In fact, the future of the royal houses of Europe is looking increasingly female, feisty and fabulous.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (43)
She’s the princess next door, known for her down-to-earth nature and is one of the most popular European royals.
Victoria is the eldest daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf (74) and Queen Silvia (76) and her place as heir was formalised in 1980 when a change to the Act of Succession introduced absolute primogeniture – meaning the eldest child irrespective of gender inherits the throne. Before that her brother, Prince Carl Philip (41) was the heir.
When Victoria ascends to the throne, she’ll become Sweden’s fourth reigning queen (after Margaret, Christina and Ulrika Eleonora) and the first since 1720.
Her work She supports a range of meaningful causes including LGBTQ rights and the disabled – she founded Kronprinsessan Victorias Fond, a fund that helps disabled Swedish youth. She’s been open about her own health struggles, which include dyslexia and a battle with anorexia in the ’90s.
Husband In 2010 she married her former personal trainer, Daniel Westling. Their lavish wedding at the Stockholm Cathedral was compared to that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Future heirs The couple have two children, Princess Estelle (8), who’ll succeed her as queen one day, and Prince Oscar (4).
Did you know?
- She speaks Swedish, English, French and German.
- She suffers from prosopagnosia – also known as face blindness – a cognitive disorder that makes it difficult to recognise familiar faces. In a 2008 interview she called it a “big drawback” in her position.
- She’s godmother to 17 children including her niece, Princess Leonore (daughter of her sister, Princess Madeleine), Prince Christian of Denmark and Princess Eleonore of Belgium.
Princess Leonor of Spain (15)
The eldest daughter of King Filipe and Queen Letizia also holds the traditional titles of Princess of Asturias and Princess of Girona.
While she is the future heir, the Spanish monarchy still operates under a system of male-preference primogeniture meaning in the event her father has a son, she will be bumped down the order of succession.
If or when she ascends to the throne, she’ll become the first queen since Queen Isabella II, who reigned from 1833 to 1868.
Queen in grooming
In September 2018 Leonor conducted her first public engagement, accompanying her parents to Covadonga in Spain to celebrate the 1 300th anniversary of the Kingdom of Asturias.
Last year she was hailed for her “brave speech” at the Princess of Girona Foundation Awards in Barcelona, which fosters talent in young entrepreneurs and innovators.
She was praised for delivering part of her speech in Catalan, a provincial dialect, which she’s been studying.
“As Princess of Girona, I want to honour the Foundation and proudly bear its name throughout Catalonia, the rest of Spain and worldwide,” she said.
Princess Catharina-Amalia of The Netherlands (17)
As the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, she’s next in line to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which includes Holland, Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean.
Her grandmother is Queen Beatrix (82), who abdicated in 2013 and was replaced by her father.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is one of her godparents.
Queen in grooming
She attends the illustrious Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet, one of the best schools in the Netherlands, and spends most of her time with the rest of her family in Huis ten Bosch, the royal palace in The Hague.
In an interview with Dutch author Wilfried de Jong, her father said, “You must first get to know yourself through and through, that’s what I am constantly emphasising with Amalia. Go everywhere, make mistakes, as far as possible out of the public eye. I did that a lot. I keep saying: know your own limits.”
Princess Elisabeth of Belgium (19)
Elisabeth Therese Marie Helene – also known as the Duchess of Brabant – is the eldest child of King Philippe (60) and Queen Mathilde (42).
She acquired her position after her grandfather, King Albert II, abdicated in favour of her father in 2013.
She’ll become her country’s first queen when she eventually ascends to the throne.
Queen in grooming
She completed her higher education in Wales and this year joined the Belgian Military Academy in Brussels.
She’s passionate about a range of causes and in 2019 travelled with her mom to Kenya for the United Nation Children’s Fund where they visited the Kakuma refugee camp.
She also volunteers with organisations that help children with learning difficulties, the elderly, the homeless and people with handicaps.
Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway (16)
She’s the only daughter of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and she’s second in line behind her dad to succeed her grandfather, King Harald V.
The teen is expected to become the country's second female monarch, after Queen Margaret in the 15th century.
Queen in grooming
In 2016 the Princess Ingrid Alexandra Sculpture Park opened in the Palace Park with sculptures made for children and by children. The princess takes an active part in collating the designs from for the park, which come from school children across Norway.
Her first official duty was in 2016 when she and her grandfather took part in the opening ceremony of the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer. She lit the cauldron, which her father did 22 years ago at the opening of the Winter Olympics in 1994.
In October 2020 she won a gold medal in the Norwegian surfing championship for juniors. She’s also an accomplished skier and kickboxer.
EUROPE’S REIGNING QUEEN
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (80)
She’s considered the grand dame of European royalty and is the first female monarch to rule Denmark since the reign of Margrethe I from 1375 to 1412. Margrethe ascended the throne on 14 January 1972 following the death of her father, King Frederick IX, and is continental Europe’s only reigning queen by birth.
She turned 80 in April 2020 but her milestone birthday celebrations were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Just a few weeks before, she became the first monarch to make a televised address about the crisis. “Sadly, not everyone is taking this seriously. Some are still hosting celebrations and birthday gatherings. This is not acceptable behaviour,” she reprimanded the nation. “It is thoughtless, and first and foremost inconsiderate.”
“She was like a stern mother telling the Danish people to stay at home,” says Julie Brøgger, the Danish designer behind the London-based brand, Brøgger, who devoted her spring/summer 2019 collection to the queen’s style.
“Like many of her New Year’s speeches, she isn’t afraid of telling people off a bit. It only adds to her popularity and respect.”
In addition to her role as matriarch of her nation, she’s the commander in chief of the Danish Defence Force and the colonel-in-chief of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, an infantry regiment of the British Army, following a tradition in her family.
She was married for over 50 years to Prince Henrik of Denmark, a former French diplomat. He died in 2018.
She has two sons – Crown Prince Frederik (52) and Prince Joachim (51). Frederik has four children, the eldest of whom is a boy, Prince Christian (15), and heir to the throne after his dad.
Did you know?
- She’s a chain smoker who refuses to give up her habit.
- She’s a talented painter and an accomplished translator who translated the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings.
- She studied prehistoric archaeology at Cambridge University followed by political science at a Danish university. She also attended the London School of Economics.
- She’s designed costumes for the Royal Danish Ballet and for herself. In 2013 the UK’s The Guardian listed her as one of their best dressed over 50s.
Sources: people.com, royalcentral.co.uk, scmp.com, hellomagazine.com