Charlemagne was the first Holy Roman Emperor, and is the ancestor of most of the royalty of Europe. I recently watched a video tracing Charlemagne’s most senior heirs over the centuries. However, this video focuses on male or male-preferring heirs, as did many historical cultures.

I’m more interested in gender-neutral heirs. I decided to figure out who is Charlemagne’s most senior living descendant, where we always go from parent to eldest child, going to the next-eldest child if someone has no living descendants. This is a system known as “absolute primogeniture”.

I’m not a historian, so this line of descendants has a “Wikipedia” level of accuracy: I followed the senior-most descendants who were famous enough to have articles easily findable on the internet, and I didn’t check any primary or secondary sources. I didn’t intentionally skip illegitimate children, but the illegitimate children I did encounter weren’t necessarily famous enough to be easily findable.

I’ve listed the full line of descent from Charlemagne to the present below. People listed on the top-level numbered list are people on the primary line of descent. The first numbers are their dates of birth and death. People with an “m” in front of their name were spouses of those people, and parents of those who came after. The first number is their marriage date, while birth and death dates are at the end. People in parentheses were on the line of descent, but have no surviving descendants at the present that I could find. I’ve tried to mark where I’m uncertain and there could be more-senior descendants. I’ve also tried to link to a Wikipedia page for everyone famous enough to have one.

It’s interesting to see how this line of descendants goes up and down in prominence and power over time, as viewed by their titles.

Charlemagne’s Eldest Descendants

Senior-most descendant line of Charlemagne by absolute primogeniture.

  1. 747-814: Charlemagne, King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, Emperor of the Romans
  2. 777-810: Pepin, King of Italy
    • m 796: Chrotais
  3. 797-818: Bernard, King of Italy
    • m: Cunigunde of Laon
  4. 817-850: Pepin II, Count of Vermandois
    • m: ?
    • (830-866: Richilde of Vermandois, at least 2 descendants, at least through 886, unknown?)
    • (845-893: Bernard II, Count of Laon. Unknown children?)
    • (846-893: Pepin III, Count of Vermandois. 4 descendants, extinct 1028)
  5. 848-907: Herbert I, Count of Vermandois
    • m: Bertha?
  6. 880-931: Beatrice of Vermandois, Queen of West Francia
    • m 890: Robert I, King of West Francia, 866-923
  7. 898-956: Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, Count of Paris
    • (m 922: Judith of Maine, ?-925. No children)
    • (m 926: Eadhild, Princess of England, ?-937. No children)
    • m 937: Hedwig of Saxony, 910-958
  8. 938-1003: Beatrice of France
  9. 965-1026: Theodoric I, Duke of Upper Lorraine
    • m 985: Richilde of Bliesgau and Metz
    • (990-?: Adelaide, Countess of Arlon. 2 descendants? History muddled)
  10. 995-1026: Frederick II, Duke of Upper Lorraine
  11. 1018?-1093: Sophie, Countess of Bar
    • m 1038: Louis, Count of Montbeliard, 1019-1071?
  12. 1045-1105: Theodoric I, Count of Montbeliard, Count of Bar, Lord of Mousson, Count of Verdun
    • m 1065: Ermentrude of Burgundy, 1055-1105
  13. 1080-1163: Theodoric II, Count of Montbeliard
    • m: ?
    • (?-1155?: Theodoric III, Count of Montbeliard. Unknown children?)
  14. 1111?-1148: Sophie, Countess of Montfaucon
  15. 1130-1195: Amadeus II, Count of Montbeliard, Lord of Montfaucon
    • m: Beatrice Grandson-Joinville (Or Osilie of Faucogney?)
  16. ?-1227: Richard III of Montfaucon, Count of Montbeliard
    • m: Agnes de Bourgogne
  17. 1205-1283: Thierry III, Count of Montbeliard
    • m: Alix von Pfirt, Lady of Belfort
    • (?-1279: Richard de Montfaucon. Unknown children?)
  18. ?-1277: Sibylle de Montfaucon
    • m: Rudolf III, Count of Neuchatel, ?-1263
    • (Ulrich IV, ?-1278. Unknown children?)
    • (Jean, ?-1308. Unknown children?)
  19. ?-1285. Amadeus, Count of Neuchatel
    • m 1270?: Jordanna of Arberg
  20. 1260-1317: Guillemette of Neuchatel, Countess of Montbeliard
  21. ?-1367: Agnes, Countess of Montbeliard
    • m: Henry I, Lord of Montfaucon, 1318-1367
  22. 1325-1397: Stephen, Lord of Monfaucon, Count of Montbeliard
    • m 1354: Marguerite of Chalon-Arlay, 1338-1392
  23. 1360-1396: Henry II, Lord of Montbeliard, Orbe, Echallens, Marnay, and Montagny-le-Corbos
    • m 1383: Marie of Chatillon, Vincountess of Bligny
  24. 1387-1444: Henriette, Countess of Montbeliard
  25. 1408-1471: Anna of Wurttemberg
  26. 1427-1453: Philipp the Younger, Count of Katzenelbogen
    • m 1449: Ottilie, Countess of Nassau-Siegen, 1437-1493
  27. 1451-1517: Ottilie of Katzenelenbogen, Margravine of Baden
    • m 1469: Christopher I, Margrave of Baden, 1453-1527
    • (1470-1490: Ottilie, Abbess in Pforzheim. No children)
    • (1471-1511: Jakob von Baden, Archbishop-Elector of Trier. No children)
    • (1473-1519: Marie, Abbess in Lichtenthal. No children)
  28. 1474-1536: Bernhard III, Margrave of Baden-Baden
    • m 1535: Franziska of Luxemburg, Countess of Brienne and Ligny, ?-1566
    • (Numerous extra-marital children, including Bernard, Philip, John, George, Caspar, and Melchior. George, Caspar, and Melchior were all born before 1532.)
    • (1536-1569: Philibert, Margrave of Baden-Baden. 11 descendants. Extinct 1688)
  29. 1537-1575: Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern
    • m 1564: Cecilia, Princess of Sweden, 1540-1627
  30. 1565-1600: Edward Fortunatus, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern and Baden-Baden
    • m 1591: Maria van der Eycken, Lady of Rivieren, 1571-1636
    • (1592-1654: Anna Maria Lukretia. Unknown children, considered illegitimate?)
  31. 1593-1677: William, Margrave of Baden-Baden
  32. 1625-1669: Ferdinard Maximilian, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden
    • m 1653: Louise, Princess of Savoy, 1627-1689
  33. 1655-1707: Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden
    • m 1690: Sibylle, Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg, 1675-1733
    • (1694-1695: Leopold William, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden. Died in childhood)
    • (1696-1700: Charlotte of Baden-Baden. Died in childhood)
    • (1697-1703: Charles Joseph, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden. Died in childhood)
    • (1700-1702: Wilhelmine of Baden-Baden. Died in childhood)
    • (1701-1707: Luise of Baden-Baden. Died in childhood)
    • (1702-1761: Louis George, Margrave of Baden-Baden. 4 descendants. Extinct 1789)
    • (1703-1709: Wilhelm Georg of Baden-Baden. Died in childhood)
  34. 1704-1726: Auguste of Baden-Baden
    • m 1724: Louis, Duke of Orleans, First Prince of the Blood, 1703-1752
  35. 1725-1785: Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orleans, First Prince of the Blood
  36. 1747-1793: Philippe Egalitte, Duke of Orleans, First Prince of the Blood
  37. 1773-1850: Louis Philippe I, King of the French
    • m 1809: Maria Amalia, Princess of Naples and Sicily, 1782-1866
  38. 1810-1842: Ferdinand Philippe, Prince Royal of France, Duke of Orleans
    • m 1837: Helene, Duchess of Mechlenburg-Schwerin, 1814-1858
  39. Philippe of Orleans, Prince of France, Count of Paris
    • m 1864: Maria Isabelle, Infanta of Spain, 1848-1919
    • (1865-1951: Amelie, Queen of Portugal. 3 descendants. Extinct 1951)
    • (1869-1926: Philippe, Duke of Orleans. No children)
  40. 1871-1951: Helene of Orleans
  41. 1898-1942: Amedeo, Prince of Savoy, Duke of Aosta
  42. 1930-2022: Margherita, Princess of Savoy-Aosta
    • m 1953: Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este, 1915-1966
  43. 1954-current: Maria Beatrice, Archduchess of Austria-Este
    • m 1980: Riprand, Count of Arco-Zinneberg, 1955-2021
  44. 1981-current: Anna Theressa, Countess of Arco-Zinneberg
    • m 2019: Colin McKenzie, 1976-current
  45. 2019-current: Josephine