Personal union

situation of two states sharing a monarch without merging

A personal union is a relationship of two or more sovereign states, which, through law, share the same person as their head of state.

Personal unions can begin for very different reasons. In many cases a princess who is already married to a king becomes pregnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries. However, a personal union sometimes was seen as a means against uprisings if a state wants an annexation of an other state. The unions can be written down in a constitution, which clearly expresses that both states shall share the same person as head of state. When that is not the case, a personal union can easily be broken.

Some examples change

Andorra change

  • Partial personal union with France since 1607 (the French president, and formerly the king of France, is one of the Heads of State in Andorra, the other co-head of state is the Bishop of La Seu d'Urgell, Catalonia, Spain.)

Belgium change

Personal union with the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908, when it annexed the Congo Free State.

Bohemia change

  • Personal union with Poland 1003 - 1004 (Bohemia occupied by Poles)
  • Personal union with Poland 1300 - 1306 and Hungary 1301 - 1305 (Wenceslas II and Wenceslas III)
  • Personal union with Luxembourg 1313 - 1378 and 1383 - 1388
  • Personal union with Hungary 1419-1439 (Sigismund of Luxemburg and his son in law) and 1490 - 1526 (Jagellon dynasty)
  • Personal union with Austria and Hungary 1526 - 1918 (except years 1619 - 1620)

Brandenburg change

Congo Free State change

Personal union with Belgium from 1885 to 1908, when Belgium annexed it.

Australia change

  • Since 1941, upon the ratification of the Westminster Statute in 1942 - which ended the British Parliament's ability to legislate for Australia. The Australia Act of 1986, amongst other things, removed the Privy Council as the last court of Appeal in the Australian Judicial System. Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom serves, independently, as Queen of Australia, through her Vice-Regal Representative, the Governor-General, nominated by the Prime Minister.

Ireland change

Denmark change

England change

The actual situation was slightly more complex with the Dutch provinces Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel entering into personal union in 1689 and Drenthe in 1696. Only 2 Dutch provinces never entered into the personal union: Friesland and Groningen.

France change

  • Personal union with the Duchy of Brittany from 1491, when Duchess Anne of Brittany married King Charles VIII of France under duress, to 1532 when the Duchy of Brittany was formally annexed to the Kingdom of France.
  • Personal union with Navarre from 1589 to 1620, when Navarre was formally integrated into France.
  • Partial personal union with Andorra since 1607 (the French president is one of the Heads of State in Andorra)

Great Britain change

Hanover change

Holy Roman Empire change

Hungary change

  • Personal union with Croatia from 1102 to 1918.
  • Personal union with Poland from 1370 to 1382 under the reign of Louis the Great. This period in Polish history is sometimes known as the Andegawen Poland. Louis inherited the Polish throne from his maternal uncle Casimir III. After Louis' death the Polish nobles (the szlachta) decided to end the personal union, since they did not want to be governed from Hungary, and chose Louis' younger daughter Jadwiga as their new ruler, while Hungary was inherited by his elder daughter Mary. Personal union with Poland in the second time from 1440 to 1444.
  • Personal union with Bohemia from 1419 to 1439 and from 1490 to 1918
  • Personal union with the Holy Roman Empire from 1410 to 1439 and from 1526 to 1806 (except 1608-1612)
  • Personal union with Austria from 1867 to 1918 (the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary) under the reigns of Franz Joseph and Charles IV (in fact it was rather a dynastic union, not a personal union.)

Iceland change

  • Personal union with Denmark from 1918 to 1944 when the country became republic.

Ireland change

Lithuania change

Luxembourg change

Navarre change

  • Personal union with France from 1589 to 1620, when Navarre was formally integrated into France.

The Netherlands change

Norway change

Poland change

Poland-Lithuania change

Portugal change

Romania change

Scotland change

Spain change

Sweden change

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland change