Meet The Future Queens Of Europe

In Anne Hathaway's breakout role in "The Princess Diaries," she played Mia Thermopolis — an awkward American teenager who discovers she's heir to the throne of a small, fictional European country called Genovia. She gets a makeover, starts taking princess lessons, and soon enough, she is whisked off to her new kingdom to assume the throne. Many of us probably dreamed that a similar fairytale would play out in our own lives. But in reality, there are only a few real European princesses waiting to take their position as leaders — and none of them are socially awkward American teens!

Unlike Mia Thermopolis, the actual princesses of Europe — and future queens — have been preparing for their royal destinies since birth. From Princess Victoria of Sweden, who is set to take the throne after her father, to Princess Leonor of Spain, who is also first in line to the throne, Europe's future is looking bright with a string of strong female figures.

Princess Victoria of Sweden

Princess Victoria has been heir to the Swedish throne since 1980. Her father, Carl XVI Gustaf, assumed the throne in 1973, but Princess Victoria's younger brother Carl Philip was initially named his heir. However, when succession laws changed to permit women to take the throne, the princess was named heir apparent. The king later said he felt it was unfair that his son was stripped of his title as heir, but added that Princess Victoria would be an excellent queen. "She is an extraordinary asset to me, my family and our country," he said. "I am proud of her and her tireless work for Sweden" (via the Daily Mail).

Princess Victoria was born in 1977 and was raised as the heir apparent. After going to several schools in Sweden, the princess studied French at the Catholic University of the West's International Centre of French Studies. She also studied political science and history at Yale University in the U.S. before completing a degree in conflict resolution and international peace promotion at Uppsala University in Sweden and completing military training with the Swedish Armed Forces (via the Swedish Royal Court).

Princess Victoria is married to Daniel Westling and the couple has two children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. As for her future as queen, the princess is committed to the role. As she once said in an interview: "My whole life is for Sweden. It may seem pretentious, but I feel it, it's true" (via Royal Central).

Princess Estelle of Sweden

Second in line to the Swedish throne is Princess Victoria's eldest daughter, Princess Estelle. Born in 2012, the young princess will likely assume the throne after her mother. According to the official website of the Swedish Royal Court, Princess Estelle attended a preschool near Stockholm that focused on outdoor education and nature appreciation. As her mother, Princess Victoria explained in an interview: "I see an obligation as a parent to convey to my children that what we do has a great [environmental] impact on those around us." She then went to preschool and primary school at Campus Manilla in Stockholm.

As Princess Victoria told Svenskdam (via Hello!), she has tried to involve Princess Estelle in her royal duties since she was young, just as her parents did with her. "I think my parents made it very good and educational," she said. "They started very often from their travels and their visits in order to speak about Sweden and also in order to speak about the weight to lead forward with Sweden, Swedish valuations, Swedish research and technology." Even as a young child, Princess Estelle showed interest. "Estelle knows that I'm here and [am talking about] fishing, and then we talk about Japan, fisheries, nature and ecology and how things fit together," Princess Victoria said during her 2017 trip to Japan. "She is five-years-old, but she's not too young. ... On the contrary, she was very interested and receptive."

Princess Leonor of Spain

Princess Leonor, the eldest daughter of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, is currently first in line to the throne. According to Hello!, she will be the nation's first queen since the 1800s. Born in 2005, Princess Leonor is quickly becoming one of the most stylish young princesses in Europe (via Tatler). 

Princess Leonor gave her first speech on her 13th birthday (via YouTube), and since then, she has appeared at several events and made several royal appearances. For instance, during the coronavirus pandemic, she and her younger sister released a video thanking healthcare workers for their hard work (via YouTube). In December 2022, the princess also made an appearance in Madrid, where she met Red Cross volunteers (via the Daily Mail). 

She is currently studying at UWC Atlantic College in Wales where she is taking part in the International Baccalaureate program to finish off her high school (via Hola!).

Princess Ingrid of Norway

Princess Ingrid of Norway is currently second in line to the throne. Her father, Crown Prince Haakon, is set to assume the throne after his father, King Harald V. Since her birth, Princess Ingrid has been included in important Norwegian royal events, attending the annual Constitution Day children's parade and celebrating World Environment Day. In 2016, Princess Ingrid lit the flame at the opening ceremony of the Youth Olympics in Lillehammer (via NBC Sports). For her 18th birthday, Princess Ingrid was given an office at the palace in preparation for taking on a more active role as a royal. Her interests reportedly include the environment and sports (via The Royal House of Norway).

In her first interview, Princess Ingrid opened up about her life as a future queen, and how learning to be a queen isn't always easy. "I have not gone to any queen school," she said. "However, I learn a lot from [the king] through everything he does and things he talks about. And then I think that in our role, the most important thing is not to be told what to do, but rather to make it your own."

Nevertheless, she explained she was excited about the opportunity to rule. "[I]think that I can do a lot with it," she said. "I am still young, and it is long until I become queen. But it lies a bit in the cards and I intend to do it."

Princess Catharina-Amalia of The Netherlands

Princess Catharina-Amalia, known as Princess of Orange, is next in line to the throne in The Netherlands as the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander. Born in 2003, the Dutch princess was a member of the student council at school and a participant in the Model United Nations of the International School of The Hague (MUNISH). After graduating from high school, she took a gap year to volunteer at the Orange Fund. In September 2022, Princess Catharina-Amalia moved to Amsterdam to study politics, psychology, law, and economics at the University of Amsterdam (via the Royal House of The Netherlands).

While Princess Catharina-Amalia is next in line for the Dutch throne, it may be many years before she takes on the role. In fact, in a 2021 biography, the princess revealed that she didn't yet feel ready and that if her father were to die suddenly, she would want her mother to step into the role first. Princess Catharina-Amalia is also willing to accept the possibility that the monarchy may be abolished in the years to come. "[Republicans] can do that of course, and then I'll go on living too," she said matter-of-factly (via the Daily Mail). Nevertheless, her mother Queen Máxima believes that she'll eventually be ready. "She is very responsible," she said in an interview. "She realises what her future will be but handles it really well. She takes her time, and she is a wonderful human being" (via Hola!).

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium

The final future European queen is Princess Elisabeth of Belgium. As the daughter of King Philippe, she is first in line to the throne. Born in 2001, Princess Elisabeth has been preparing to assume the throne for most of her life. She attended a Dutch-speaking high school in Brussels before completing a year at the Royal Military Academy in Belgium. She then went on to study history and politics at Oxford University. According to the official website of The Belgian Monarchy, her hobbies range from skiing and tennis to traveling and reading. She can also speak Dutch, French, German, and English fluently. 

For her 18th birthday, the princess gave a speech in which she announced her plans to prepare for assuming the throne. "Eighteen years ... A step that I take with great optimism," she said (via Royal Central). "I realise that I still have a lot to learn. I will also focus on that in the coming years: trying to understand the world better — and helping to improve it, by giving the best of myself."