The crown prince is the prince who is next in line to ascend to the throne. These days, nearly all monarchies and empires follow primogeniture, i.e. naming the firstborn (oldest) son as the crown prince. Before the advent of this system, the death of the regent often resulted in civil war between various contenders to the throne.

Crown prince differs from heir apparent solely in that a crown prince is always male, while a heir apparent may also be female (eg. a crown princess).

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