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Pretender

A Pretender is a claimant to an abolished or already occupied throne. Deposed monarchs are not seen as pretenders, as the term only applies to those who have never occupied the throne.

Some modern pretenders

State Pretender Link to Past Monarchy
Austria Crown Prince Otto Son of the last Emperor-King, Karl I of Austria
Albania Crown Prince Leka I Son of the last king, Zog of Albania
France Henri, Comte de Paris, Duc de France (Orleanist-Legitimist*: generally accepted) descendant of Louis-Philippe of France
France Louis-Alphonse, Duc d'Anjou (Legitimist: minority support) descendant of Louis XIV of France
Germany and Prussia Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia descendant of the last Emperor, Wilhelm II
Hungary Crown Prince Otto von Habsburg Son of the last King-Emperor, Charles IV of Hungary
Ireland The O'Conor Don Ireland's senior gaelic peer & descendant of the last Irish High King Rory O'Connor
Italy Crown Prince Victorio Emanuele Son of the last king, Humbert II of Italy
Montenegro Nikola, Prince of Montenegro Descendant of the last king, Nikola I of Montenegro
Portugal The Duke of Braganša distant relative of the last king Manuel II
Serbia and Yugoslavia Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia son of the last king, Peter II

French Pretenders

Following the death of the childless legitimist pretender 'Henry V', Comte de Chambord, grandson of King Charles X of France in the 1880s, the majority of Legitimists accepted the Comte's selection as heir, the Orleanist pretender, the Comte de Paris, grandson of King Louis-Philippe as the Legitimist pretender to the French throne. A small minority refused to accept this designation, and chose instead a very distant Spanish-based descendant of an earlier monarch. Hence there are in effect two legitimist pretenders, though the Orleanist pretender, the modern Comte de Paris, is generally accepted by most French monarchs as the pretender, as the list above shows.

Russian Pretenders

There is much debate over whom is the legitmate heir to the Russian throne. Grand Duke George is considered by some to be the legitimate heir, being the grandson of a cousin of Czar Nicholas II of Russia. However, the Grand Duke's mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna also claims to be the rightful heir to the throne. The massacre of the Romanovs that followed the Russian Revolution has made tracking a legitmate hier to the Russian throne very difficult, and some believe there is no legitimate heir at all.

Fake pretenders

Some well-known impostors who claimed to be a genuine pretender include:


"The Great Pretender" is a song by The Platters (lyrics).


The Pretender is an album and song by Jackson Browne.


The Pretender was the name of a television show on the NBC network.


The Pretenders are a rock music group.