Crown prince

A crown prince is the male heir apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The female form of the title is crown princess, which may refer either to an heir apparent or, especially in earlier times, to the wife of the person styled crown prince.
Crown prince as a descriptive term has been used throughout history for the prince who is first-in-line to a throne and is expected to succeed, barring any unforeseen future event preventing this. In certain monarchies, a more specific substantive title may be accorded and become associated with the position of heir apparent. In these monarchies, the term crown prince may be used less often than the substantive title.
Until the late twentieth century, no modern monarchy adopted a system whereby females would be guaranteed to succeed to the throne. A crown princess would therefore be more likely to refer to the spouse of a crown prince. She would be styled crown princess, not in her own right but by courtesy.


The term crown prince is not used in European monarchies wherein the hereditary sovereign holds a title below that of king/queen or emperor/empress, although it is sometimes used as a synonym for heir apparent.
In Europe, where primogeniture governed succession to all monarchies except those of the Papacy and Andorra, the eldest son or eldest child of the current monarch fills the role of crown prince or princess, depending upon whether females of the dynasty enjoy personal succession rights. Male-precedence has been abolished in Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The eldest living child of a monarch is sometimes not the heir apparent or crown prince, because that position can be held by a descendant of a deceased older child who, by "right of representation", inherits the same place in the line of succession that would be held by the ancestor if he or she were still living.
In some monarchies, those of the Middle East for example, in which primogeniture is not the decisive factor in dynastic succession, a person may not possess the title or status of crown prince by right of birth, but may obtain it as a result of an official designation made on some other legal or traditional basis, such as former crown prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.
Compare heir apparent and heir presumptive. In Scandinavian kingdoms, the heir presumptive to the crown may hold a different title than the heir apparent: hereditary prince. It is also the title borne by the heir apparent of Liechtenstein, as well as the heir apparent or presumptive of Monaco. In Luxembourg, the heir apparent bears the title of hereditary grand duke ; along with hereditary prince, it was also the title borne by the heirs apparent to the thrones of the grand duchies, sovereign duchies and principalities, and of mediatized princely families in the German monarchies abolished in 1918.

Christian/Western traditional titles

Many monarchies use or did use substantive titles for their heirs apparent, often of historical origin:
Some monarchies have used a territorial title for heirs apparent which, though often perceived as a crown princely title, is not automatically hereditary. It generally requires a specific conferral by the sovereign, which may be withheld.
Current and past titles in this category include:
Currently, the following states use the term "crown prince" for the heirs apparent to their thrones:
In addition; the following heirs apparent to deposed monarchies use the title of Crown Prince as a title used by international courtesy:
, Prince of the Sa'id, meaning Prince of Upper Egypt
Persia, Pahlavi dynasty and Qajar dynasty, the full style was Vala Hazrat-i-Humayun Vali Ahd, Shahzada , i.e. His August Imperial Highness the Heir Apparent, Prince...;
  • the above component vali ahd meaning 'successor by virtue of a covenant' was adopted by many oriental monarchies, even some non-Muslim, e.g. Walet as alternative title for the Nepali royal heir apparent; first used Crown Prince Trailokya in the middle of the nineteenth century, taken from the Mughal title 'Vali Ahd'
Hindu tradition :
East Asian traditions:
if the heir apparent is a:songrandson
ChineseHuang TaiziHuang Taisun
KoreanHwangtaeja Hwangtaeson
VietnameseHoàng Thái TửHoàng Thái Tôn

  • During the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, the crown prince was referred as Dong-gung due to the location of his residence from the main palace; or wangseja. He was not necessarily the first-born son, wonja.
Southeast Asian traditions:
Equivalents in other cultures:
  • Jaguar Prince
  • Ka Haku O Hawaii or "The Lord of Hawaii" in the Hawaiian language.
  • Aremo, "First Son and Heir" in the Yoruba language of West Africa, used as a royal title in many of the kingdoms of the region.
  • Lee Jae-yong, South Korean billionaire and Chairman of Samsung referred to as the "Crown Prince of Samsung"