Heidi Mehrkens

Heidi Mehrkens

Heidi Mehrkens completed her degree in Modern History, Medieval History and Law at the Technical University of Braunschweig. Her doctoral thesis on the subject of experience, legal status, and nation in the Franco-Prussian war 1870/71 formed part of the DFG-funded research project “France and Germany at War (18th – 20th centuries)” led by Professor Ute Daniel (TU Braunschweig) and Professor Gerd Krumeich (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf) and was published in German in 2008.
As lecturer at Braunschweig University she undertook research in modern European history, especially in the fields of political cultural and transnational history, military history and the history of the media. In 2012 she joined the Heirs to the Throne project at St Andrews University. Since 2016 she is Lecturer in Modern European History (Scholarship) at the University of Aberdeen.

Email: heidi.mehrkens[at]abdn.ac.uk


Individual Project

Future Kings. Royal Heirs and the Political Sphere in European Constitutional Monarchies (1815-1914)

The hereditary principle meant that the royal heir – in his function as the future head of state – formed an essential part of the workings of Europe’s monarchies. This study examines the workings and developments of different forms of constitutional monarchy through the prism of interactions between the respective royal heir and the institutions of the constitutional state: To what extent were heirs dealing with parliaments, governments and ministries, political parties, oppositions and the organs of the public sphere, and how was their political engagement perceived?

On a different level the study analyses situations where the institution ‘royal heir’ became a matter of negotiation between the monarchical and the constitutional-political spheres, for example in times of revolutionary crisis or in case of an heir’s death. In a constitutional monarchy the dynasty was not solely responsible for decisions regarding questions of succession. Depending on the circumstances, political representatives and elected chambers could demand their say in dynastic matters when it came to controlling budgets, civil lists and marriage negotiations – here the political and monarchical spheres overlapped ever so often, which severely affected the perception of the periodic process of succession as a whole

Combining approaches drawn from political, cultural and media history, my research will cover the respective heirs to thrones of Great Britain, France and Prussia from 1815 to 1914. Exploring different models of monarchy, dynasty and constitutional environment, the study will reveal monarchical ways of adapting to changing political landscapes in Europe.


Main Publications

Books and edited works
Selected Articles
 On this website