What Happens If A Royal Has Twins?

Sibling rivalry is a conflict that dates back to the beginning of time. From the Bible story of Cain and Abel (per the King James Bible Online), to the dramatic tale of Mary and Anne Boleyn's fight for the affection of their king, having a sibling can oftentimes be a source of competition. When it comes to royal families and lines of succession, the issue of multiple heirs has been a double-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse.

For generations, the expectation was that a royal family must bear a male heir to secure the family legacy. Over time this has changed and women have also taken the throne. However, when you have multiple heirs, the line of succession can often get a bit messy. The only time things get even more complex is if a royal family has a set of twins: two heirs born on the same day, minutes apart. So if a royal family has twins, which one gets the crown?

Twins are not common in modern royal families

According to Express, there has been a bit of an explosion with the number of babies born to multiple ruling European royal families in the last decade. The Belgian royal family added a prince and a princess, while the royal families of Sweden and Monaco have added seven or more royal babies to their family lines. Arguably the most famous European royals are the members of the British royal family, and in the last decade they have added nine royal babies to the family, the most recent being Lilibet Diana Mountbatten Windsor, born in 2021 to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (per People)

Out of this large number of royal children that have arrived in the last decade, there have only been a couple of sets of twins. Rumors of twins surrounded the pregnancies of both Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, and Megan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, prior to them giving birth. Neither of them actually had twins, and it turns out the British royal family has not seen a set of twins for nearly six centuries (per Metro).

Which twin gets the throne?

Though historically it does appear that twins in royal family lines are not very common, it is always a possibility. For the British royal family, though it has been a long time, in the event of twins, whichever one is born first, is the official heir, even if they are born just minutes apart (per Distractify). However, this rule only applies if the twins are delivered via a natural birth. According to Metro, if the babies are delivered by other methods, such as cesarean section, the choice of which twin is actually born "first" would then be in the hands of the royal gynecologist.

In 2014, the royal family of Monaco welcomed a set of fraternal twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jaques. When it comes to their line of succession, the prince is now the heir, despite being born a few minutes after his sister, due to the fact that he is male. Twins have become pretty rare in royal lineages, but each royal family chooses how to deal with succession in their own way according to their laws and tradition.