Personal union

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. The case that a princess who is already married to a king becomes pregnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries is a rather common cause. But a personal union sometimes was seen as a means against uprisings if a state wants an annexation of an other state. These unions can be written down in a constitution that clearly expresses that both states shall share the same person as head of state, but that is not always the case. Under these circumstances a personal union can easily be broken.

  • some examples for personal unions

Some examples for personal unions


  • 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.)


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


  • 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)


  • Personal union with the Duchy of Prussia from 1618, when Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia died without male heirs and his son in law John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg became ruler of both countries. Brandenburg and Prussia maintained separate governments and seats of power in Berlin and Königsberg respectively until 1701, when Frederick William I consolidated them into one government.

Congo Free State

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


  • 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.




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.


  • 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


Holy Roman Empire


  • 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.)


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





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

The Netherlands









United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Other Languages
العربية: اتحاد شخصي
asturianu: Unión personal
беларуская: Асабістая унія
български: Лична уния
Deutsch: Personalunion
español: Unión personal
Esperanto: Persona unio
한국어: 동군연합
Bahasa Indonesia: Uni personal
íslenska: Konungssamband
къарачай-малкъар: Энчи уния
latviešu: Personālūnija
Lëtzebuergesch: Personalunioun
lumbaart: Union personala
македонски: Личен сојуз
Nederlands: Personele unie
日本語: 同君連合
norsk nynorsk: Personalunion
português: União pessoal
русский: Личная уния
српски / srpski: Personalna unija
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Personalna unija
svenska: Personalunion
Türkçe: Şahsi birlik
українська: Персональна унія
Tiếng Việt: Liên minh cá nhân
中文: 共主邦聯