The death of Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only child and heir of the future King George IV, left the succession wide open again.
King George IV’s next brother was Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany was married to Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, but the couple had remained childless and were living apart.
The next brother was the future King William IV, who had made a life with his mistress Dorothea Bland, perhaps better known as Dorothea Jordan. William and Dorothea had ten children together, who were not in the line of succession due to their illegitimacy. When Princess Charlotte died, William went to find a suitable wife in the form of Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. Adelaide gave birth to five children, though three of those were stillborn. The other two lived only briefly, for a few hours and a few months. Thus, King William IV also did not leave any successors.
The next brother was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who had also made a life with a mistress – Madame de Saint-Laurent. He, too, sought a suitable wife after Princess Charlotte’s death and found the widowed Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She had two surviving children from her first marriage to Emich Karl, Prince of Leiningen, and soon gave birth to the future Queen Victoria in 1819. Queen Victoria would succeed her uncle King William IV in 1837. But what would have happened if Queen Victoria hadn’t been born?
The next brother after Prince Edward was Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale. He had married his first cousin, Duchess Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in 1815. She had been married twice before. Following two stillborn children, Frederica gave birth to a son named George just three days after the future Queen Victoria had been born. But in this tale, Victoria wasn’t born, so George would have been the future heir, following his father. If George had been the next heir, it would also have meant that the personal union between the Kingdom of Hanover and the United Kingdom would have remained intact. Unfortunately, Victoria was not able to inherit Hanover as a woman, and this thus passed to Ernest Augustus, ending the personal union.
Assuming that male-preference primogeniture was followed as it was in reality but without Victoria, the thrones of Hanover and United Kingdom went to Ernest Augustus and then to his son George. George’s eldest son was also named Ernst Augustus. This Ernst Augustus was succeeded by his youngest (but eldest surviving) son, also named Ernst Augustus. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he, too, was succeeded by a son named Ernst Augustus. The current King would be his son – yet again named Ernst August (who in reality, is married to Princess Caroline of Monaco). He has two sons and a daughter, and the eldest is also named Ernst August.
In reality, absolute primogeniture went into effect in the United Kingdom in 2015 for those in the line of succession born after 28 October 2011. If we assume the same happened in our alternative reality, the line of succession would be Prince Ernst August (eldest son of the “king”), his eldest child Princess Elisabeth (born 2018), his second child Prince Welf August and his third child Princess Eleonora. Quite interesting to see that it would once again lead to a Queen Elisabeth (Elizabeth).