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This article is only accurate for EU3 and Napoleon’s Ambition, version 2.2.
Please help update this page to include information on the IN, HTTT and DW expansions.

Every time the monarch of a country dies, be it natural or not, a certain number of options can occur. These are completely random and only follow the scripted probability factors which the developers put into the game, and are therefore not contextual nor historical.

Normal Succession

The by far most common form of succession is the normal replacement of the deceased ruler with a legitimate heir, i.e. a randomly skilled ruler will take the place of the former one and everything will continue as usual.


A Dynasty is the family of monarchs, countries ruled by the same dynasty get a bonus to relations. Using royal marriages to nations with low legitimacy can lead to expanding different branches of the dynasty.

Regency Council

The second most likely succession, but still not common, is the replacement of the ruler with a temporary Regency Council. This is supposed to model cases like when the legitimate heir is not old enough, or has duties elsewhere to take care of before being crowned. The Regency Council have stars like any ruler. Although having one means that the country will not be at risk of being excommunicated (if catholic), the country governed by an institution like this also has several disadvantages:

  1. It cannot declare war
  2. It cannot become Holy Roman Emperor
  3. It cannot inherit or become the senior partner in a Personal Union with another country
  4. It cannot convert the Head of State into a general, as there is none

Regency Councils tend to not last for very long, and they make another succession check at the end of the ruling period.

The fastest way out of a Regency Council is to change your government type. See Forms of Government to find out how much stability you lose by doing so.

Personal Union

See Personal Union

A more uncommon option is the Personal Union. This can occur if the nation has at least one royal marriage and it seems to be more likely if your king dies in combat. What happens is that the country losing its ruler will then be led by the ruler of a country with which it has a royal marriage. The country which still has a ruler becomes the senior partner of the union and the country that lost its ruler becomes the junior member. All of the senior member's rulers stats will apply to the junior member as well. The junior member also gets some diplomatic penalties; it cannot form royal marriages or alliances (apart from the senior member) nor inherit another country (see further down), become Holy Roman Emperor or convert its ruler into a general. The only restriction on the senior member is that it may not declare war on the junior member. When the common ruler dies, the following scenarios can happen:

  • With positive relationship between the countries: a large chance a new king will rule both countries, small chance the lesser partner is inherited by the senior.
  • With negative relationship: The personal union is broken and the lesser partner receives a new monarch.

War of Succession

If the country losing its ruler had two royal marriages or more, there is a chance that a war of succession may break out. The country that lost its ruler will side with one pretending country, and the other pretender will go to war with them. In a succession war there is a special peace negotiation option to force a personal union. A country "wins" the succession war if it can force the other claimant to acknowledge this union. Winning a succession war also gives a prestige bonus, while losing gives a loss in prestige.


One of the more drastic options is the inheritance. This means that there is a very slim chance that the country now standing without a ruler is completely annexed/inherited by one of the nations it has a royal marriage with. The nation inherited will of course cease to exist as all her former provinces become owned by the inheritor. This feature is disabled for human players, meaning they cannot get inherited but can still inherit AI-controlled countries.

In Heir to the Throne, inheritance happens most of the time if the following conditions are met:

  • Two countries are of the same culture group and are in a personal union.
  • Two countries are the same religion
  • Relations between two countries in a personal union are above 100.
  • Inheriting nation is at peace when ruler dies.

Inheriting does not result in any nationalism revolt risk, automatically assigns cores to the inheritor (assuming same culture group, or both members of the Holy Roman Empire), and has no badboy penalty. Therefore, it is possible to exploit this feature as a large nation by using force conversion and forming a personal union via "Forged Documents".