Primogeniture  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn child to inherit the family estate, in preference to siblings (compare to ultimogeniture). In the absence of children, inheritance passed to collateral relatives, usually males, in order of seniority of their lines of descent. The eligible descendants of deceased elder siblings take precedence over living younger siblings, such that inheritance is settled in the manner of a depth-first search.

The principle has applied in history to inheritance of real property (land) as well as inherited titles and offices, most notably monarchies, continuing until modified or abolished.

Variations on primogeniture modify the right of the firstborn son to the entirety of a family's inheritance (see appanage) or, in the West since World War II with the wider promotion of feminism, eliminate the preference for males over females. Most monarchies in Europe have eliminated male preference in succession: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The United Kingdom passed legislation to establish gender-blind succession in 2013 but delayed implementation until the 15 other countries which share the same monarch effect similar changes in their succession laws. But the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 will not change the present position in the line of succession to the British throne of Prince George of Cambridge, as the first born child and heir of his father William, Duke of Cambridge.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Primogeniture" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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