Cadet branch

In history and heraldry, a cadet branch consists of the male-line descendants of a monarch or patriarch's younger sons (cadets). In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets—realm, titles, fiefs, property and income—have historically been passed from a father to his firstborn son in what is known as primogeniture; younger sons—cadets—inherited less wealth and authority to pass to future generations of descendants.

In families and cultures in which this was not the custom or law, as in the feudal Holy Roman Empire, equal distribution of the family's holdings among male members was eventually apt to so fragment the inheritance as to render it too small to sustain the descendants at the socio-economic level of their forefather. Moreover, brothers and their descendants sometimes quarreled over their allocations, or even became estranged. While agnatic primogeniture became a common way of keeping the family's wealth intact and reducing familial disputes, it did so at the expense of younger sons and their descendants. Both before and after adoption of inheritance by primogeniture, younger brothers sometimes vied with older brothers to be chosen their father's heir or, after the choice was made, sought to usurp the elder's birthright.


In such cases, primary responsibility for promoting the family's prestige, aggrandizement, and fortune fell upon the senior branch for future generations. A cadet, having less means, was not expected to produce a family. If a cadet chose to raise a family, its members were expected to maintain the family's social status by avoiding derogation, but could pursue endeavors that might be considered demeaning for the senior branch, such as emigration to another sovereign's realm, or engagement in commerce, or a profession such as law, academia, or civil service.

In some cases, cadet branches eventually inherited the crown of the senior line, e.g. the Bourbon Counts of Vendôme mounted the throne of France (after civil war) in 1593; the House of Savoy-Carignan succeeded to the kingdoms of Sardinia (1831) and Italy (1861); the Counts Palatine of Zweibrücken obtained the Palatine Electorate (1799) and the Kingdom of Bavaria (1806); and a deposed Duke of Nassau was restored to sovereignty in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (1890).

In other cases, a junior branch came to eclipse more senior lines in rank and power, e.g. the Kings of Prussia and German Emperors who were junior by primogeniture to the Counts and Princes of Hohenzollern, and the Electors and Kings of Saxony who were a younger branch of the House of Wettin than the Grand Dukes of Saxe-Weimar.

A still more junior branch of the Wettins, headed by the rulers of the small Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, would, through diplomacy or marriage in the 19th and 20th centuries, obtain the royal crowns of, successively, Belgium, Portugal, Bulgaria and the Commonwealth realms. Also, marriage to cadet males of the Houses of Oldenburg (Holstein-Gottorp), Polignac, and Bourbon-Parma brought those dynasties patrilineally to the thrones of Russia, Monaco, and Luxembourg, respectively. The Dutch royal house has, at different times, been a cadet branch of Mecklenburg and Lippe(-Biesterfeld). In the Commonwealth realms, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and his male-line descendants are cadet members of the house of Glücksburg.

By contrast, it was also sometimes possible for cadet branches to sink in status, either due to diminished fortune or genealogical distance from the reigning line. Such was the case of the Capetian branch of the princes de Courtenay, the last male of which died in 1733 without ever having been recognized by the French crown as dynastic princes du sang despite their undisputed but remote male-line descent from Louis VI of France. Likewise, the principi di Ottajano, an extant branch of the House of Medici eligible to inherit the grand duchy of Tuscany when the last male of the senior branch died in 1737, were bypassed by the intervention of Europe's major powers, which allocated the title elsewhere. Although the Romanovs mounted Russia's throne in 1613 due to kinship-by-marriage to a tsar (Ivan the Terrible) descended from the 9th century founding ruler Rurik, when in 1880 Tsar Alexander II wed Catherine Dolgorukov, a Rurikid princess, the marriage and its progeny were deemed morganatic.

Notable cadet branches

See also


  1. ^ Poore, Benjamin Perley (1848). The Rise and Fall of Louis Philippe, Ex-king of the French: Giving a History of the French Revolution, from Its Commencement, in 1789. W.D. Ticknor & company. p. 299. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  2. ^ a b Amos, Deborah (1991). "Sheikh to Chic". Mother Jones. p. 28. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia: HRH or HH? | American Bedu". Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  4. ^ "Family Tree". Retrieved 1 April 2018.

The Anscarids (Latin: Anscarii) or the House of Ivrea were a medieval Frankish dynasty of Burgundian origin which rose to prominence in Italy in the tenth century, even briefly holding the Italian throne. The main branch ruled the County of Burgundy from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries and it was one of their members who first declared himself a count palatine. The cadet Castilian branch of Ivrea ruled the Kingdom of Galicia from 1111 and the Kingdoms of Castile and León from 1126 until 1369. The House of Trastamara, which ruled in Castile, Aragon, Naples, and Navarre at various points between the late 14th and early 16th centuries, was an illegitimate cadet branch of that family.

Blanche of Navarre, Queen of France

Blanche of Navarre (French: Blanche d'Évreux; 1330 – 5 October 1398) was Queen of France as the wife of King Philip VI.

She was the second child and daughter of Queen Joan II of Navarre and King Philip III of Navarre. She belonged to the House of Évreux, a cadet branch of the House of Capet, and married into the House of Valois, another cadet branch of the House of Capet.

Catherston Leweston

Catherston Leweston is a small village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southwest England. It lies in the West Dorset administrative district, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of Lyme Regis. Dorset County Council estimate that in 2013 the population of the parish was 30.The village's Tudor-style manor house was built in 1887 and the Blue Lias-built church dates from 1858. Part of an earlier medieval manor house belonging to the Wadham family of Catherston, a cadet branch of the family that founded Wadham College, Oxford, remains beside the later house.


Corriechatachan (Gaelic for “corrie of the wild cats”) is a farmstead (now ruined), lying at the foot of Beinn na Caillich, near Broadford, on the Isle of Skye. Until the 19th century, it was a tack farmed by a cadet branch of the Clan Mackinnon. Notable visitors included Thomas Pennant, in the course of the travels that resulted in the publication of A Tour of Scotland in 1769, and Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, on their tour of the Highlands.

Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg

The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg constitutes the House of Luxembourg-Nassau, headed by the sovereign Grand Duke, and in which the throne of the grand duchy is hereditary. It consists of heirs and descendants of the House of Nassau-Weilburg, whose sovereign territories passed cognatically from the Nassau dynasty to a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon-Parma, itself a branch of the Spanish Royal House which is agnatically a cadet branch of the House of Capet that originated in France. This is descended from the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians.

House of Artois

The House of Artois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, descended from Louis VIII the Lion, King of France, through his younger son, Robert (1216 † 1250). Robert received the County of Artois as appanage in his father's will.

In 1297, Robert II, Count of Artois, was one of three Capetian princes to be added to the peerage of France. On his death in 1302, the county was claimed by his daughter Mahaut and his paternal grandson Robert III. The Parlement of Paris ruled in favor of Mahaut, and Robert III was given the lordship of Beaumont-le-Roger as compensation.

Robert later lost his lands by producing false documents in support of his claims in the Artois suit. The county of Artois was inherited by Mahaut's descendants, who married into the House of Burgundy, another branch of the Capetian dynasty.

The sons of Robert III received French titles and fought in the Hundred Years War against the English. The House of Artois became extinct in the male line in 1472.

House of Dinefwr

The House of Dinefwr was a royal house of Wales and refers to the descendants of Cadell ap Rhodri, King of Seisyllwg (reign 872 – 909), son of Rhodri the Great.

With the death of Rhodri Mawr, the kingdom of Gwynedd passed to his eldest son Anarawd ap Rhodri. Rhodri's second son Cadell ap Rhodri, however, looked outside Gwynedd's traditional borders and took possession of the Early Medieval Kingdom of Dyfed by the late 9th century, establishing his capital at the citadel of Dinefwr. Cadell ap Rhodri's descendants are designated Dinefwr after the citadel from which they would rule Dyfed. The Dinefwr dynasty under king Hywel Dda would unite Dyfed and Seisyllwg into the kingdom of Deheubarth in the early 10th century. The Dinefwr dynasty would rule in Deheubarth until their conquest by the Anglo-Normans in the 13th century. This branch would compete with House Aberffraw for supremacy and influence in Wales throughout the 10th, 11th, and 12th century, with Powys variously ruled between them. Eventually, a cadet branch of Dinefwr would establish itself in Powys by the mid 11th century, designated Mathrafal after the castle there.

House of Holstein-Gottorp (Swedish line)

The House of Holstein-Gottorp, a cadet branch of the Oldenburg dynasty, ruled Sweden from 1751 until 1818, and Norway from 1814 to 1818. The current royal family, Bernadotte, is de jure a branch of the Holstein-Gottorps due to the last Holstein-Gottorp king's adoption of the first Bernadotte king, Charles XIV John.

In 1743, Adolf Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp was elected crown prince of Sweden as a Swedish concession to Russia, a strategy for achieving an acceptable peace after the disastrous war of the same year. He became King of Sweden in 1751.

King Gustav III, Adolf Frederick's eldest son, was enthusiastic about the fact that through his great-great-grandmother their dynasty descended from the royal House of Vasa. He expressed wishes that their house be known as Vasa, as the new royal house of Vasa and the continuation of the original. There was no effective way to force this change. Historians have not agreed with Gustav's desires, and the house is always referred to as Holstein-Gottorp.

In 1809, Gustav III's son King Gustav IV Adolf was deposed following the loss of Finland, and the dynasty disappeared from Swedish history with the death of his uncle King Charles XIII in 1818. In 1810, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte (later Charles XIV John), a Marshal of France, was elected crown prince, and became the founder of the next and current Swedish dynasty, the House of Bernadotte.

In 1836, Gustav, the son of the deposed Gustav IV Adolf, was created Prince of Vasa in Austria (written Wasa). However, the use of that name ceased when the prince's only surviving child, his daughter Carola died without children.

The marriage of the future King Gustaf V to Princess Victoria of Baden in 1881 united the ruling House of Bernadotte with a descendant of the House of Holstein-Gottorp since Victoria was a great-granddaughter of the deposed Gustav IV Adolf.

House of Mathrafal

The House of Mathrafal began as a cadet branch of the House of Dinefwr, taking their name from Mathrafal Castle, their principal seat and effective capital. Although their fortunes rose and fell over the generations, they are primarily remembered as kings of Powys in central Wales.

They—along with the Houses of Aberffraw, Dinefwr, and Seisyll—traced their descent from Merfyn the Oppressor who, along with his son Rhodri, established their control over northern and western Wales. Rhodri replaced King Cyngen in Powys after the latter died while on pilgrimage to Rome, allegedly because his mother or wife (sources differ) was Nest, Cyngen's sister, but more likely through conquest. Cyngen's true heirs were either exiled or reduced to the level of minor land owners (e.g., the family of Sir Gruffudd Vychan). Yet the later King of Powys Cadell ap Brochwel, maternal great-grandfather of the first King of the House of Mathrafal, Bleddyn ap Cynfyn claimed descent from Cyngen's son Aeddan, who seems to have ruled straight after. Other noble families claimed descent from another of Cyngen's sons, Elisedd, who is mentioned as killing his older brother Gruffydd in the Annales Cambriae. It is therefore likely that Gwynedd's hegemony over Powys was merely propaganda, intended to glorify Gwynedd at the expense of Powys before the time of Owain Gwynedd. If Cyngen did have a daughter called Nest, it wasn't by her line when Powys passed out of the hands of the Cadelling. More likely, it was by the daughter of the aforementioned Cadell ap Brochwel, also called Nest, to her son Cynfyn; during a period when no suitable heir was of age or ability.

In the traditional accounts, Rhodri divided his kingdom among his sons and gave Powys to his youngest, Merfyn. King Cadell in Ceredigion then dispossessed his brother and added Powys to his inheritance. It's possible, however, that Powys remained independent until its 916 annexation by Cadell's son Hywel Dda, who also conquered Dyfed and Gwynedd and established what has become known as the realm of Deheubarth. On the death of Hywel's grandson Maredudd ab Owain in 999, the realm splintered: Irishmen usurped Gwynedd and falsely passed themselves off as Maredudd's heir in Dyfed. These were removed by Llywelyn ap Seisyll, from a cadet branch of the Aberffraw line in the commote of Rhuddlan.

The house of Mathrafal was effectively established in the wake of Harold and Tostig Godwinson's disastrous raids in 1062 and 1063. They installed Bleddyn ap Cynfyn over Powys and Gwynedd and he kept his base in Mathrafal close to the Saxon border. From this point forward, his family jockeyed with the Dinefwr and Aberffraw dynasties for control of Wales. (The unrelated dynasty in Gwent and Morgannwg was swiftly overrun by the Marcher Lords after the Norman Conquest.) The House of Mathrafal's influence was greatest between 1063 and 1081, when they lost control of Gwynedd to a resurgent Aberffraw family following the Battle of Mynydd Carn. By 1191, Powys was divided between Powys Fadog in the north and Powys Wenwynwyn (roughly modern Montgomeryshire) in the south. The first became a more-or-less loyal vassal of Gwynedd; the latter, one of its main competitors.

Historian John Davies points out that, following the division of Powys, the dynasty should not be considered as "equal" to that of Aberffraw or Dinefwr. Mathrafal Castle was utterly destroyed by Gwynedd in 1212 and thenceforth it was entirely dependent on English support for its survival. However, the Mathrafal dynasty continued to exert some influence, undermining and eventually betraying Llywelyn ap Gruffudd on behalf of Edward I during his conquest of Wales in 1282–83. Thereafter, they avoided his campaign of extermination against the Welsh royal houses and even exchanged their claims to royalty for an English lordship at the Parliament of Shrewsbury in 1283. They were finally displaced by the lords of Mortimer in the early 14th century.

House of Palatinate-Simmern

Palatinate-Simmern (German: Pfalz-Simmern) was one of the collateral lineages of the Palatinate line of the House of Wittelsbach.

The Palatinate line of the House of Wittelsbach was divided into four lines after the death of Rupert III in 1410, including the line of Palatinate-Simmern with its capital in Simmern. This line became extinct in 1685 with the death of Charles II. The Palatinate-Neuburg line inherited the estate.

The founder of the line Simmern, Stephen, Count Palatine of Simmern-Zweibrücken is also the founder of the cadet branch House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken and its cadet branches. The rights over the County of Veldenz and a share of the County of Sponheim, transmitted by Stephen's wife Anna of Veldenz, were held by these lineages.

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (; German: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty that ruled the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was one of the Ernestine duchies. It is a cadet branch of the Saxon House of Wettin.

Founded by Ernest Anton, the sixth duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, it has been the royal house of several European monarchies. Agnatic branches currently reign in Belgium through the descendants of Leopold I and in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms through the descendants of Prince Albert. Due to anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I, George V changed the name of his branch from "Saxe-Coburg and Gotha" to "Windsor" in 1917. The same happened in 1920 in Belgium, where the name was changed to "de Belgique" (French) or "van België" (Dutch) or "von Belgien" (German), meaning "of Belgium".

Kingdom of Imereti

The Kingdom of Imereti (Georgian: იმერეთის სამეფო) was a Georgian monarchy established in 1455 by a member of the house of Bagrationi when the Kingdom of Georgia was dissolved into rival kingdoms. Before that time, Imereti was considered a separate kingdom within the Kingdom of Georgia, to which a cadet branch of the Bagrationi royal family held the crown. This started in 1260 after David VI revolted against Mongolian rule and fled to Abkhazia. This was the result of the Mongolian conquest of Georgia during the 13th century which decentralized and fragmented Georgia, forcing the relocation of governmental centres to the provinces.

Imereti was conquered by Giorgi the Brilliant, who was subject to the Mongols, and united Imereti with the east Kingdom of Georgia. From 1455 onward, however, the kingdom became a constant battleground between Georgian, Persian and Turkish forces. Between 1555 and 1804 it was a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. On 25 April 1804 Solomon II of Imereti accepted Russian vassalage and in 1810 he was removed from the throne. During the time that Imereti was a vassal state, the Mingrelia, Abkhazia and Guria princedoms declared their independence from Imereti and established their own governments. In Persian - Azeri nomenclature the name of the region was changed to "baş açıq" which literally means "without a head scarf".


Nagyecsed is a town in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, in the Northern Great Plain region of eastern Hungary.

The old name of the town was Ecsed but over time it has been renamed Nagyecsed, meaning "grand" or "great Ecsed" to distinguish it. The area had close associations with a cadet branch of the Báthory family. Elizabeth Báthory was raised in the town's now ruined castle. Her main residence and later her prison was Csejte Castle, Upper Hungary, now in Slovakia, but she was buried in the family crypt at Ecsed.

The town's castle was demolished in the eighteenth century after the Kuruc uprisings.

Princes of Conti

The title of Prince of Conti (French: prince de Conti) was a French noble title, assumed by a cadet branch of the princely house of Bourbon-Condé.

Sakai Tadatoshi

Sakai Tadatoshi (酒井 忠利, 1562–1627) was a Japanese samurai daimyō of the Edo period. He was head of a cadet branch of the Sakai clan.

Siunia dynasty

The Siunia also known as the Siak or Syunik were a family of ancient Armenian nobles who were the first dynasty to govern as Nakharars in the Syunik Province in Armenia from the 1st century. The Nakharars were descendants of Sisak.The first known ruler was Valinak Siak (c.330) and his successor was his brother Andok or Andovk (Antiochus, c.340). In 379 Babik (Bagben) the son of Andok, was re-established as a Nakharar by the Mamikonian family. Babik had a sister called Pharantzem who had married the Arsacid Prince Gnel, nephew of the Armenian King Arsaces II (Arshak II) and later married Arsaces II as her second husband. Babik's rule lasted for less than ten years and by about 386 or 387, Dara was deposed by the Sassanid Empire.

Valinak (c.400-409) was followed by Vasak (409-452). Vasak had two sons: Babik (Bagben), Bakur and a daughter who married Vasak’s successor, Varazvahan (452-472). Varazvahan’s son Gelehon ruled from 470-477, who died in 483. Babik (Bagben) who was the brother of Varazvahan became the new Nakharar in 477. Hadz the brother of Gelehon died on September 25 482. The Syunik Province was later governed by Vahan (c.570), Philip (Philipo, c.580), Stephen (Stephanos, c.590-597), Sahak (Issac, c.597) and Grigor (Gregory, until 640).

Inscriptions found in the region around Lake Sevan attributed to King Artaxias I confirm that in the 2nd century BC the District of Syunik constituted part of the Ancient Armenia.A cadet branch of the dynasty came to rule the Kingdom of Artsakh as of the 11th century.

Uyunid dynasty

The Uyunid dynasty (Arabic: العيونيون‎, translit. al-ʿUyūnīyūn) were an Arab dynasty that ruled Eastern Arabia for 163 years, from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Their sect is disputed; some sources mention they were Shia, others Sunni. They were the remnants of Banu Abdul Qays tribe and seized the country from the Qarmatians with the military assistance of Great Seljuq Empire in the year 1077-1078 AD. It then fell to the Usfurids of Banu Uqayl in 651 AH (1253 AD). The famous poet Ali bin al Mugrab Al Uyuni is a descendant of the Uyunids.

Younger (title)

Younger is a Scottish convention, style of address, or description traditionally used by the heir apparent to:

A current laird (owner of a substantial and landed estate in Scotland)

Someone whose name includes a territorial designation (i.e. a family who were previously lairds but who are no longer – this applies mainly to armigerous families who had a territorial designation which formed part of their name. Their arms being registered with the inclusion of the territorial designation, having become landless, still retain the full name – including the territorial designation – pertaining to the Grant of Arms)

A Scottish chieftainship (the head of a cadet branch of a clan which has a chief)

A clan chief.

A Scottish baron, only if also a laird (as above) and recognised by the Lord Lyon as such.The style of using the term "Younger" applies equally to a woman who is heir in her own right as to a man. The style of "Younger" is neither a title of nobility nor a peerage and does not carry voting rights either in the Parliament of Scotland or the Kingdom of England. The abbreviation of Younger is Yr. The wife of such an heir may adopt this style also.

When a person bearing this suffix becomes the laird in their own right or succeeds to the arms of a now landless family or inherits the chieftainship of a cadet branch or the chiefship of the clan, they then drop the suffix and the next heir apparent may add the style to their name.

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