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I'm writing about an OC's home empire for a short bio, and I am completely baffled as to what would happen when she marries her husband, who is the heir to the throne of a different empire. Would it just become one large empire?

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    $\begingroup$ That's the kind of thing that is decided before the marriage is allowed. In the case of Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella, the two states did merge. In other cases, like the Hapsburg Empire of Charles V the components soon split up among descendants. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jul 1 '15 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ OC? In real life, it depends. What's the setting? $\endgroup$ – Gilles Jul 1 '15 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Oldcat actually, in Spain the different kingdoms continued to be separate entities (which happened to be ruled by the same king) for several centuries. When the old king died, each "Cortes" had to approve his heir as the new King separately. Similarly, laws were different for people of the different kingdoms (one example being commerce with America being a Castillan only privilege). The kingdoms were actually merged only after Philip V of Spain and (maybe most importantly) the War of the Spanish Sucession. $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Jul 1 '15 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ I may be the only one, but what's an OC? $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Jul 1 '15 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin Original character. you would think $\endgroup$ – Necessity Jul 1 '15 at 22:47
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As mentioned by Oldcat, marriages of state should be carefully negotiated beforehand. Assuming that didn't happen, consider this:

  • The heir of the Empress of A and the Emperor of B might be in line for the throne of A and B. Are the rules of succession compatible? For instance, B might have a salic succession while A is strictly based on primogeniture. If the first child is a boy, he will inherit the crowns of A and B. A girl would only inherit in A.
  • As mentioned by SJuan76, having the same head of state doesn't necessarily unify empires. The technical term is personal union, and it may or may not last. Consider that Elisabeth II is queen of the Bahamas, but that doesn't make the Bahamas part of the UK.
  • How strong are laws and traditions in both empires? Can a strong ruler overcome them? The Habsburgs tried that, and unrest followed.

Summarized, empires don't merge just because their current rulers are married. On the other hand, that is one way how mergers can happen.

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