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Heir apparent and heir presumptive usually refer to someone who will inherit a royal or noble title:
- An heir apparent is someone who will inherit at the death of the present title holder.
- An heir presumptive is someone who may inherit, unless someone with a better claim under the rules of succession is found.
- Queen Elizabeth II's oldest son is Prince Charles, so he is her heir apparent.
- Queen Elizabeth II (when she was still called Princess Elizabeth) was heiress presumptive to her father King George VI, because she was his oldest daughter and he had no sons. She was not his heir apparent, though, because if the king ever had a son he would have taken over as heir apparent.
- Prince Bertil of Sweden was heir presumptive to his nephew King Carl XVI Gustav. The King's son, Prince Carl Philip became heir apparent when he was born, but because the law of succession changed his sister Princess Victoria became the world's first heiress apparent.
Monarchies that have used the title
- Richard Burn; John Burn, A New Law Dictionary (London: printed by A. Strahan and W. Woodfall, for T. Cadell, 1792), p. 423
- The Manual of Rank and Nobility, or Key to the Peerage (London: Saunders and Otley, 1828), p. 43
- Jeremy Paxman, On Royalty: A Very Polite Inquiry Into Some Strangely Related Families (New York : PublicAffairs, 2008), p. 103
- John Almon; John Debrett; et al., The Parliamentary register: or, History of the proceedings and debates of the House of Lords ... during the 14th-[18th] Parliament[s] of Great Britain [1774-1803] (London: Printed for J. Almon, 1775-1804), p. 75