Posthumous birth

A posthumous birth is the birth of a child after the death of a biological parent.[1] A person born in these circumstances is called a posthumous child or a posthumously born person. Most instances of posthumous birth involve the birth of a child after the death of its father, but the term is also applied to infants delivered shortly after the death of the mother, usually by caesarean section.[2]

Legal implicationsEdit

Posthumous birth has special implications in law, potentially affecting the child's citizenship and legal rights, inheritance, and order of succession. Legal systems generally include special provisions regarding inheritance by posthumous children and the legal status of such children. For example, Massachusetts law states that a posthumous child is treated as having been living at the death of the parent,[3] meaning that the child receives the same share of the parent's estate as if the child had been born before the parent's death. Another emerging legal issue in the United States is the control of genetic material after the death of the donor.[4] United States law holds that posthumous children of U.S. citizens who are born outside the United States have the same rights to citizenship that they would have had if the deceased U.S. citizen parent had been alive at the time of their birth.[5] In the field of assisted reproduction, snowflake children, i.e. those "adopted" as frozen embryos by people unrelated to them, can result in the birth of a child after the death of one or both of their genetic parents.

In monarchiesEdit

A posthumous birth has special significance in the case of hereditary monarchies following primogeniture. In this system, a monarch's own child precedes that monarch's sibling in the order of succession. In cases where the widow of a childless king is pregnant at the time of his death, the next-in-line is not permitted to assume the throne,[citation needed] but must yield place to the unborn child, or ascends and reigns until the child is born.[citation needed] In monarchies that follow male-preference cognatic primogeniture, the situation is similar where the dead monarch was not childless but left a daughter as the next-in-line, as well as a pregnant widow. A posthumous brother would supplant that daughter in the succession, whereas a posthumous sister, being younger, would not. Similarly, in monarchies that follow agnatic primogeniture, the sex of the unborn child determines the succession; a posthumous male child would himself succeed, whereas the next-in-line would succeed upon the birth of a posthumous female child.

Modern complicationsEdit

Posthumous conception by artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, whether done using sperm or ova stored before a parent's death or sperm retrieved from a man's corpse, has created new legal issues.[3] When a woman is inseminated with her deceased husband's sperm, laws that establish that a sperm donor is not the legal father of the child born as a result of artificial insemination have had the effect of excluding the deceased husband from fatherhood and making the child legally fatherless.[6] In the United Kingdom before 2000, birth records of children conceived using a dead man's sperm had to identify the infants as fatherless, but in 2000 the government announced that the law would be changed to allow the deceased father's name to be listed on the birth certificate.[7] In 1986, a New South Wales legal reform commission recommended that the law should recognize the deceased husband as the father of a child born from post-mortem artificial insemination, provided that the woman is his widow and unmarried at the time of birth, but the child should have inheritance rights to the father's estate only if the father left a will that included specific provisions for the child.[7] In 2001, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was asked to consider whether the father's name should appear on the birth record for a child conceived through artificial insemination after her father's death, as well as whether that child was eligible for U.S. Social Security benefits. The court ruled in January 2002 that a child could be the legal heir of a dead parent if there was a genetic relationship and the deceased parent had both agreed to the posthumous conception and committed to support the child.[3] Different U.S. state courts and federal appellate courts have ruled differently in similar cases. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Astrue v. Capato that twins born 18 months after their father's death using the father's frozen sperm were not eligible for Social Security benefits, which set a new precedent.


In the Middle Ages, it was traditional for posthumous children born in England to be given a matronymic surname instead of a patronymic one. This may in part explain why matronyms are more common in England than in other parts of Europe.[8]

In Ancient Rome, posthumous children of noble birth were often given the cognomen (or third name) 'Postumus.' One example is Agrippa Postumus.

In Yoruba culture, posthumous children are given names that referred to the circumstances concerning the birth. Examples of this include Bàbárímisá, meaning that the Father saw (the child) and ran, Yeyérínsá, meaning that the Mother saw (the child) and ran, Ikúdáyísí (or any name with the root dáyísí, which means that death spared the child), and Ẹnúyàmí, meaning that "I was surprised," referring to the fact that the tragic death of the father, mother, or both was sudden and surprising for the family.

Notable people born posthumouslyEdit


Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Cause of parent's death
Mauryan Emperor
320 BCE Durdhara
Mauryan Empress
320 BCE Same Day Poisoning. He was delivered through caesarean section.[9]
Alexander IV
King of Macedon
August 323 BCE Alexander the Great
King of Macedon
11 June 323 BCE 2 months Disease.
Cornelia Postuma 77 BCE Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix
Roman dictator
78 BCE Disease, possibly related to chronic alcoholic abuse.
Agrippa Postumus
Grandson of Augustus Caesar
12 BCE Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Roman general and statesman
12 BCE A few weeks Disease
Shapur II
Sasanian Emperor
309 AD Hormizd II
Sasanian Emperor
309 AD Forty days Assassination. Shapur is said to be the only monarch in history who was crowned in utero.
Flavia Maxima Constantia
Roman Empress
1 January 362 Constantius II
Roman Emperor
3 November 361 1 month, 29 days Fever.

Middle AgesEdit

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Cause of parent's death
Prophet of Islam
570 Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib
Arab trader
569 <6 months Disease while returning from a trade mission in Medina.
Byzantine prince
1 January 798 Constantine VI
Byzantine Emperor
19 April 797 8 months, 13 days Died of wounds after being blinded by Irene, who proclaimed herself Empress.
Robert I
King of France
15 August 866 Robert the Strong
Count of Anjou
2 July 866 1 month, 13 days Killed at the Battle of Brissarthe.
Charles the Simple
King of France
17 September 879 Louis the Stammerer
King of France
10 April 879 5 months, 7 days Disease contracted during a campaign against the Vikings.
Lothair III
Holy Roman Emperor
1075 Gebhard of Supplinburg
Saxon count
9 June 1075 Killed at the Battle of Langensalza.
Valdemar I
King of Denmark
14 January 1131 Canute Lavard
Duke of Schleswig
7 January 1131 7 days Murdered by Magnus the Strong.
Constance I
Queen of Sicily
2 November 1154 Roger II
King of Sicily and Africa
26 February 1154 8 months, 5 days
Baldwin V
King of Jerusalem
August 1177 William of Montferrat
Count of Jaffa and Ascalon
June 1177 2 months Possibly malaria.
Arthur I
Duke of Brittany
29 March 1187 Geoffrey II
Duke of Brittany
19 August 1186 7 months, 10 days Disputed. One source claims he was trampled to death in a joust, other that he died of a sudden chest affliction.
Maria of Montferrat
Queen of Jerusalem
Summer 1192 Conrad of Montferrat
King of Jerusalem
28 April 1192 A few months Assassination.
Theobald I
King of Navarre
30 May 1201 Theobald III
Count of Champagne
24 May 1201 6 days
Raymond Nonnatus
Catholic Saint
1204 His mother 1204 Same Day Childbirth. He was retrieved through caesarean section afterward.[2]
Walter IV
Count of Brienne
1205 Walter III
Count of Brienne
14 June 1205 Killed in battle.
Charles I
King of Sicily
early 1227 Louis VIII
King of France
8 November 1226 ?? Dysentery.
Stephen the Posthumous
Hungarian prince
1236 Andrew II
King of Hungary and Croatia
21 September 1235 at least 2 months
Przemysł II
King of Poland
14 October 1257 Przemysł I
Duke of Greater Poland
4 June 1257 4 months, 10 days
John I
King of France and Navarre
15 November 1316 Louis X
King of France and Navarre
5 June 1316 5 months, 10 days Pneumonia or pleurisy from drinking excess cooled wine after a real tennis match.
Isabel de Verdun
Baroness Ferrers de Groby
21 March 1317 Theobald de Verdun
Justiciar of Ireland
27 July 1316 7 months, 22 days Typhoid.
John, 3rd Earl of Kent 7 April 1330 Edmund of Woodstock
English prince
19 March 1330 19 days Executed for treason against his nephew, Edward III of England.
William of Bavaria-Munich 1435 William III
Duke of Bavaria
12 September 1435 up to 3 months
Joan of Portugal
Consort queen of Castile
31 March 1439 Edward, King of Portugal 9 September 1438 6 months, 22 days Plague.
Ladislaus VI
King of Hungary, Bohemia and Archduke of Austria
22 February 1440 Albert II
King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary
27 October 1439 3 months, 23 days
Henry VII
King of England
28 January 1457 Edmund Tudor
Earl of Richmond
1 or 3 November 1456 2 months, 25 days Bubonic plague.
John Louis
Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken
19 October 1472 John II
Duke of Nassau-Saarbrücken
15 July 1472 3 months, 4 days
Mencía Pacheco[10]
Castilian noblewoman
1474–1475 Juan Pacheco
Marquis of Villena
1 October 1474 Throat ailment.
Clement VII
Pope of the Catholic Church
26 May 1478 Giuliano de' Medici
Ruler of the Florentine Republic
26 April 1478 1 month Assassination in the Pazzi Conspiracy.

Modern AgeEdit

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Cause of parent's death
Catherine of Austria
Consort queen of Portugal
14 January 1507 Philip I
King of Castile and Duke of Burgundy
25 September 1506 3 months, 18 days Typhoid or poison.
Alexander Stewart
Duke of Ross
30 April 1514 James IV
King of Scotland
9 September 1513 7 months, 21 days Killed at the Battle of Flodden.
Françoise d'Orléans-Longueville
Wife of Louis I of Bourbon
5 April 1549 François d'Orléans
French nobleman
25 October 1548 5 months, 8 days
King of Portugal
20 January 1554 João Manuel
Prince of Portugal
2 January 1554 18 days Tuberculosis or diabetes.
Ben Jonson
Elizabethan playwright
c. 11 June 1572 His father April 1572 1-2 months
Henry II
Prince of Condé
1 September 1588 Henry I
Prince of Condé
5 Mar 1588 5 months, 23 days Disease.
Sveinn "Skotti" Björnsson
Icelandic criminal
1596–1597 Björn Pétursson
Only Icelandic serial killer
1596 Executed for murder.
Thomas Herbert
Welsh seaman and author
15 May 1597 Richard Herbert
Justice of the Peace and Member of Parliament
15 October 1596 (buried) 7 months
Friedrich Wilhelm II
Duke of Saxe-Altenburg
12 February 1603 Friedrich Wilhelm I
Duke of Saxe-Weimar
7 July 1602 7 months, 5 days
Joseph of Cupertino
Catholic saint
17 June 1603 Felice Desa
Apulian carpenter[11]
Abraham Cowley
English poet
1618 His father
Elizabeth Gyllenhielm
Swedish noblewoman
1622 Charles Philip
Duke of Södermanland
25 January 1622 Disease during the 1622 siege of Narva.
François-Henri de Montmorency
Duke of Luxembourg
8 January 1628 François de Montmorency-Bouteville
Duke of Luxembourg
22 June 1627 6 months, 15 days Executed for dueling.
Isaac Newton
English scientist
4 January 1643 Isaac Newton, Sr.
English farmer
October 1642 3 months
William III
Stadholder of the Dutch Republic, King of England and Scotland
14 November 1650 William II
Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic
6 November 1650 8 days Smallpox.
Robert Molesworth
Irish politician and writer
7 September 1656 Robert Molesworth, Sr. 3 September 1656 4 days
Adolphus Frederick II
Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
19 October 1658 Adolf Frederick I
Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
27 February 1658 7 months, 21 days
Jonathan Swift
Author of Gulliver's Travels
30 November 1667 Jonathan Swift, Sr.
English lawyer in Ireland
c. April 1667 7 months Syphilis.
William August
Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
30 November 1668 Adolf William, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
21 November 1668 9 days
Thomas Greenhill
English surgeon
1669? William Greenhill
Godscall Paleologue
Last known member of the Paleologus dynasty
12 January 1694 Theodorious Paleologus
Barbadian privateer
August-December 1693 Up to 5 months
Edward Ward, 9th Baron Dudley
British peer
16 June 1704 Edward Ward, 8th Baron Dudley 28 March 1704[12] 2 months, 15 days Smallpox.
Georg Wilhelm Richmann
Livonian physicist
22 July 1711 His father Plague.
William IV
Stadholder of the Dutch Republic
1 September 1711 John William Friso
Prince of Orange
14 July 1711 1 month, 15 days Drowning in a ferryboat accident.
Robert Petre, 8th Baron Petre
British peer and horticulturist
3 June 1713 Robert Petre, 7th Baron Petre 22 March 1713 2 months, 7 days Smallpox.
Edmund Pendleton
American politician
9 September 1721 Henry Pendleton 1721 4 months
John Morton
American politician
1725 John Morton, Sr. 1724
Sir Brook Bridges, 3rd Baronet
British politician
17 September 1733 Sir Brook Bridges, 2nd Baronet 23 May 1733[13] 3 months, 22 days
Barbara Herbert
Countess of Powis
24 June 1735 Edward Herbert
British aristocrat
c. March 1735 3 months
Caroline Matilda
Consort queen of Denmark and Norway
11 July 1751 Frederick, Prince of Wales 20 March 1751 3 months, 17 days Pulmonary embolism.
Thomas Chatterton
English poet and forger
20 November 1752 Thomas Chatterton Sr.
English poet and musician
7 August 1752[14] 3 months, 13 days
John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn
Irish peer and politician
July 1756 John Hamilton, Sr.
Royal Navy officer
December 1755 7 months Accidental drowning while on duty.
Elizabeth Simcoe
British Canadian artist
22 September 1762 Thomas Gwillim
Military officer
29 January 1762 7 months, 22 days Killed or died otherwise in the Seven Years' War.[15]
Benedict Joseph Flaget
French American bishop
7 November 1763 His father[16]
Andrew Jackson
7th President of the United States
15 March 1767 Andrew Jackson, Sr.
Irish American colonist
c. 23 February 1767 Around 21 days Logging accident.
Sawai Madhavrao
12th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire
18 April 1774 Narayan Rao
10th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire
30 August, 1773 7 months Murder.
Shawnee prophet and leader
January 1775 Puckenshinwa
Leader of the Kispokotha division of the Shawnee tribe
October 10, 1774 3-4 months Killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant.

19th centuryEdit

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Cause of parent's death
Lord George Hill
British poltician
9 December 1801 Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire 7 September 1801 3 months, 2 days Suicide
Sir George Grey
British soldier, explorer, governor
14 April 1812 Lt-Col George Grey Early April 1812 a few days Killed at the Battle of Badajoz
Arthur MacArthur Sr.
Governor of Wisconsin and grandfather of Douglas MacArthur
26 January 1815 His father 19 January 1815 7 days
Charles de La Roche 30 March 1820 Charles Ferdinand
Duke of Berry
14 February 1820 1 month, 16 days Assassination by a Bonapartist. Each child was born to a different mother.
Alix Mélanie Cosnefroy de Saint-Ange 16 September 1820 7 months, 2 days
Henri, Count of Chambord
Legitimist pretender to the French throne
29 September 1820 7 months, 15 days
Ferdinand Oreille de Carrière 10 October 1820 7 months, 25 days
Rutherford B. Hayes
19th President of the United States
4 October 1822 Rutherford Hayes, Jr.
American storekeeper
20 July 1822 1 month, 22 days
Jemima Blackburn
Scottish painter
1 May 1823 James Wedderburn
Solicitor General for Scotland
7 November 1822 5 months, 23 days
Anna Leonowens
British teacher co-subject of The King and I
5 November 1831 Thomas Edwards
East India Company officer
c. August 1831 3 months
David Hyrum Smith
Leader of the RLDS Church
7 November 1844 Joseph Smith
Founder of the Latter Day Saint movement
27 June 1844 4 months, 9 days Lynching while awaiting trial in jail.
Princess Kazu
Wife of Tokugawa Iemochi
1 August 1846 Ninkō
Emperor of Japan
21 February 1846 5 months, 9 days
Horace Tabberer Brown
British chemist
20 July 1848 His father
Katherine Harley
British suffragist
3 May 1855 John Tracy William French
Royal Navy officer
Samuel Alexander
British philosopher
6 January 1859 Samuel Alexander, Sr.
Australian saddler
Motilal Nehru
36th and 47th President of the Indian National Congress
6 May 1861 Gangadhar Nehru
Last Kotwal of Delhi
4 February 1861 3 months, 2 days
Florence Maybrick
British-American convicted murderess
3 September 1862 William George Chandler
Banker and Mayor of Mobile
Breaker Morant
Australian soldier and folk hero
9 December 1864 Edwin Murrant
English workhouse master
August 1864 4 months
Frank Anstey
Australian politician
18 August 1865 Samuel Anstey
English iron miner
c. March 1865 5 months
Rua Kenana Hepetipa
Maori prophet, faith healer, and activist
1869 Kenana Tumoana November 1868 Killed in Te Kooti's War.
George Washington Lambert
Australian artist
13 September 1873 George Washington Lambert, Sr. 25 July 1873 1 month, 16 days
Rudolf Besier
Dutch/English dramatist
2 July 1878 Rudolf Besier, Sr. c. January 1878 c. 6 months
Carl Schuricht
German conductor
3 July 1880 Carl Conrad Schuricht June 1880 c. 21 days Drowned in the Baltic Sea while trying to save a friend.
Charles Edward
Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
19 July 1884 Leopold, Duke of Albany
British prince
28 March 1884 3 months, 18 days Haemophilia-related intracerebral hemorrhage after a fall.
Chester W. Nimitz
American fleet admiral
24 February 1885 Chester Bernard Nimitz 14 August 1884 6 months, 10 days
Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi
Sudanese Imam of the Ansar, first Chief Minister of Sudan
15 July 1885 Muhammad Ahmad
Sudanese self-proclaimed Mahdi
22 June 1885 23 days Typhus.
Clara Sipprell
Canadian-American photographer
31 October 1885 Francis Sipprell
Alfonso XIII
King of Spain
17 May 1886 Alfonso XII
King of Spain
25 November 1885 5 months, 21 days Dysentery worsened by tuberculosis.
Li Dazhao
Co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party
29 October 1889 His father A few months
Thomas Iorwerth Ellis
Welsh classicist
19 December 1899 Thomas Edward Ellis
Welsh politician
5 April 1899 8 months, 14 days
Mabel Mercer
British-American jazz singer
3 February 1900 Her father

20th centuryEdit

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Cause of parent's death
Stanley Kunitz
American poet
29 July 1905 Solomon Z. Kunitz
Immigrant Russian Jewish dressmaker
June 1905 6 weeks Suicide by drinking carbolic acid after going bankrupt.
Johan Kjær Hansen
Danish Resistance fighter
7 April 1907 Hans Christian Johan Andreas Hansen
Bicycle manufacturer
13 December 1906 3 months, 22 days
Xiao Qian
Chinese essayist and translator
27 January 1910 His father
John Jacob Astor VI
American shipping businessman
14 August 1912 John Jacob Astor IV
American businessman
15 April 1912 3 months, 28 days Sinking of the RMS Titanic.
Raoul Wallenberg
Swedish diplomat and humanitarian
14 August 1912 Raoul Oscar Wallenberg
Swedish Navy officer
May 1912 3 months Cancer.
Red Skelton
American comedian
18 July 1913 Joseph Elmer Skelton
Grocer and former circus clown
May 1913 2 months
Cäzilia Gabriel
Hinterkaifeck victim
January 1915 Karl Gabriel
German soldier
December 1914 1 month Killed in World War I.
Georg Quistgaard
Danish Resistance fighter
19 February 1915 Georg Brockhoff Quistgaard
Danish secretary
18 December 1914 2 months, 1 day
Alfred Shaughnessy
English screenwriter and producer
19 May 1916 Alfred Shaughnessy, Sr.
Canadian soldier
2 months Killed in World War I.
Edward Bell, Jr.
Squadron Leader of the Royal Air Force
October 1918 Edward Bell, Sr.
Commander of the Football Battalion
24 March 1918 6 months Killed in World War I.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Russian novelist
11 December 1918 Isaakiy Semyonovich Solzhenitsyn
Imperial Russian Army officer
15 June 1918 5 months, 25 days Hunting accident.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
American poet
24 March 1919 Carlo Ferlinghetti
Italian immigrant
Heart attack.
John Mitchum
American actor
6 September 1919 James Thomas Mitchum February 1919 7 months Railyard accident.
Kung Te-cheng
Last Duke Yansheng
23 February 1920 Kong Lingyi
Duke Yansheng
8 November 1919 3 months, 15 days
Last queen consort of Yugoslavia
25 March 1921 Alexander
King of Greece
25 October 1920 5 months Sepsis from a captive Barbary macaque's bite.
Jules Olitski
Ukrainian-American painter, sculptor
27 March 1922 Jevel Demikovsky[17]
Soviet Commissar
A few months Execution.
Elisabeth of Austria
Member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
31 May 1922 Charles I
Last Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary
1 April 1922 1 month, 30 days Pneumonia.
Stephen Wurm
Hungarian-Australian linguist
19 August 1922 Adolphe Wurm
Mary Warnock
English philosopher
14 April 1924 Archibald Edward Wilson
Teacher at Winchester College
Anthony Earnshaw
English anarchist
9 October 1924 His father
Felipe Rodríguez
Puerto Rican singer
8 May 1926 His father
Earl Holliman
American actor
11 September 1928 William A. Frost
American farmer
7 months
Bertram Wainer
Australian doctor and activist
30 December 1928 His father
Itamar Franco
33rd President of Brazil
28 June 1930 Augusto César Stiebler Franco April 1930 2 months Malaria.[18]
Thomas Sowell
American economist
30 June 1930 His father
Brian Sewell
British art critic
15 July 1931 Peter Warlock
British composer and music critic
(claimed by Sewell)
17 December 1930 6 months, 26 days Coal gas poisoning.
Don Durant
American actor
20 November 1932 His father September-October 1932 2 months Truck accident.
Margaret O'Brien
American actress
15 January 1937 Lawrence O'Brien
Circus performer
Saddam Hussein
Iraqi dictator
28 April 1937 His father Cancer.
Ian Brady
British serial killer
2 January 1938 His father
(according to his mother)
3 months Unknown. Brady's father was never identified, casting doubt on his mother's claims.
Lee Harvey Oswald
Assassin of John F. Kennedy
18 October 1939 Robert Edward Lee Oswald
United States Marine
19 August 1939 1 month, 28 days Heart attack.
Jacques Mairesse
French economist
16 August 1940 Jacques Mairesse, Sr.
French footballer
13 June 1940 2 months, 3 days Killed while trying to escape a prisoner-of-war camp during the Battle of France.
Edwin Wilson
Australian poet
27 October 1942 His father
Henry and David Cecil
British twin racehorse trainers
11 January 1943 Henry Kerr Auchmuty Cecil
Parachute Regiment officer
30 November – 2 December 1942[19] 1 month, 1-2 days Killed in the North African campaign of World War II.[20]
Sylvester McCoy
British actor and comedian
20 August 1943 Percy Kent-Smith 18 July 1943 1 month, 2 days Killed in World War II.
Ranulph Fiennes
British explorer and writer
7 March 1944 Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes
Royal Scots Greys commander
24 November 1943 3 months, 12 days Killed by landmine in Italy while serving in World War II.[21]
John Pelham
Earl of Chichester
14 April 1944 John Pelham, Sr.
British diplomat and Captain of the Scots Guards
21 February 1944 1 month, 22 days Killed in a road accident while serving in World War II.
Maria João Pires
Portuguese-Swiss classical pianist
23 July 1944 João Baptista Pires
Bernard Collaery
Australian lawyer and politician
12 October 1944 Edward Francis Collaery
RAAF flying officer
29 June 1944 3 months 13 days Killed in World War II.
Frederica von Stade
American opera singer
1 June 1945 Charles S. von Stade
South African-American polo champion
10 April 1945 1 month, 20 days Killed in World War II.
Bill Clinton
42nd President of the United States
19 August 1946 William Jefferson Blythe Jr.
American traveling salesman
17 May 1946 3 months, 2 days Automobile accident.
Peter Kocan
Australian author and attempted assassin of Arthur Calwell
4 May 1947 His father 3 months Automobile accident.
Pedro López
Colombian serial killer
8 October 1948 Midardo Reyes 4 April 1948 6 months, 4 days Murdered in La Violencia.[22]
Jett Williams
American singer
6 January 1953 Hank Williams
American singer
1 January 1953 5 days Possibly drug-induced cardiac arrest.
Wally Carr
Aboriginal Australian boxer
11 August 1954 His father 2 months Suicide by gunshot.
Janet Lynn Skinner
American Gospel musician
5 July 1955 Billie Haille Spinal meningitis.
Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and founder of The Emirates Group
1 December 1958 Saeed bin Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum
Emir of Dubai
9 September 1958 2 months, 21 days
Tyrone Power Jr.
American actor
22 January 1959 Tyrone Power
American actor
15 November 1958 2 months, 7 days Fulminant angina pectoris while filming an action scene.
Antwone Fisher
American author and film director
3 August 1959 Eddie Elkins 2 months Murdered (shot) by a jealous girlfriend.
John Clark Gable
American actor
20 March 1961 Clark Gable
American actor
16 November 1960 4 months, 4 days Heart attack induced by an arterial blood clot.
Yves Amu Klein
French artist
6 August 1962 Yves Klein
French Nouveau réalisme artist
6 June 1962 2 months Three heart attacks, the first while watching the exploitation film Mondo Cane.
Sławomir Makaruk
Polish traveler and photographer
4 October 1963 Sławomir Makaruk
Polish aviator
20 April 1963 5 months, 13 days Accident aboard an experimental SZD-21 Kobuz glider.
Tariq Al-Ali
Kuwaiti actor and comedian
18 January 1966 His father
Rory Kennedy
American documentary filmmaker
12 December 1968 Robert F. Kennedy
U.S. Senator from New York and younger brother of John F. Kennedy
6 June 1968 6 months, 6 days Assassination while campaigning for the 1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries.
Brandon Teena
American victim of transphobic hate murder
12 December 1972 Patrick Brandon 7 April 1972 8 months, 5 days Automobile accident.
Philippe Cousteau Jr.
Franco-American oceanographer and environmental activist
20 January 1980 Philippe Cousteau
French cinematographer
28 June 1979 6 months, 21 days Aviation accident.
Diana Yukawa
Japanese-British violinist and composer
16 September 1985 Akihisa Yukawa
Japanese banker
12 August 1985 1 month, 4 days Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash.
Natasha Ignatenko
Chernobyl disaster victim
1986 Vasily Ignatenko
Soviet firefighter
13 May 1986 Acute Radiation Syndrome contracted while extinguishing fires above the exploded Reactor Nº4.
Gia Coppola
American filmmaker
1 January 1987 Gian-Carlo Coppola
American film producer
26 May 1986 7 months, 3 days Speedboating accident.

Mythological characters born posthumouslyEdit

The Bible's Old Testament mentions two named cases of posthumous children:

  • Ashhur, youngest son of Hezron, born when his father had died when aged past 60 years. (1 Chronicles 2;21,24)
  • Ichabod, who was born when his mother, who subsequently died, heard news that his father Phinehas had been killed at the Battle of Aphek and paternal grandfather Eli accidentally killed afterwards. (1 Samuel 4:19-22)

Fictional characters born posthumouslyEdit

  • Macduff, a character in Shakespeare's Macbeth, revealed that he was not literally born, but removed from his [dead] mother, completing a plot twist.
  • The Irish Republican song "The Broad Black Brimmer" was about a boy whose father died before he was born.
  • The Charles Dickens character David Copperfield was a posthumous child, whose father had died six months before he was born.[23] Another Dickens character, Oliver Twist, was posthumous as his mother died while giving birth.
  • On A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, baby Jacob was born after his father Dan was killed by Freddy.
  • In The Hunger Games series, Gale Hawthorne's sister Posy is born shortly after their father dies in a mine explosion, and Finnick Odair's son is born months after his death in battle.
  • John Connor, a principal character in the Terminator franchise, and son of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese (a time traveler from the future), was conceived shortly before his father was killed. As an adult, John was in fact responsible for selecting Reese (who was unaware of their relation) to go back in time.
  • The Noughts and Crosses series character Callie-Rose Hadley is born after the execution of her father, Callum McGregor.
  • In the British television soap opera Coronation Street, Liam Connor Jr. was born in July 2009; his father and namesake Liam Connor, was ordered murdered by Tony Gordon just a short time after Liam Jr.'s conception in October 2008.
  • The Stephen King novel Carrie tells briefly of the parents of the titular character, Margaret and Ralph White. Ralph, a construction worker, had impregnated Margaret, only to be killed in a construction accident shortly before the birth of their daughter.
  • In Berserk, the main character Guts is found after having been birthed by a hanging corpse.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Derek Shepherd dies in a car accident in Season 11, nine months before the birth of his daughter.
  • Bahubali series: Mahendra Bahubali is born shortly after his father Amarendra Bahubali is killed.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Kanan Jarrus dies sacrificing himself while rescuing his lover Hera Syndulla who is pregnant with their son, Jacen Syndulla.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Princess Daenerys Targaryen is born months after the death of her father, King Aerys II Targaryen.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Posthumous Child Law and Legal Definition". USLegal.
  2. ^ a b c Christine Quigley, The Corpse: A History, McFarland, 1996, ISBN 0-7864-0170-2, pages 180 to 181.
  3. ^ a b c Renee H. Sekino, Posthumous Conception: The Birth of a New Class Archived 15 July 2004 at the Wayback Machine, Boston University Journal of Sci. and Tech. Law, 2001.
  4. ^ "Frozen in Time: Planning for the Posthumously Conceived Child". The National Law Review. Fairfield and Woods P.C. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  5. ^ "U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 8, 8 FAM 304.4 Posthumous Children". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Report 49 (1986) — Artificial Conception: Human Artificial Insemination, 12. AIH and Posthumous Use of Semen". Law Reform Commission, New South Wales.
  7. ^ a b "Posthumous fathers to be recognised". BBC News. 25 August 2000.
  8. ^ Bowman, William Dodgson. The Story of Surnames. London, George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1932. No ISBN.
  9. ^ Lurie S (2005). "The changing motives of cesarean section: from the ancient world to the twenty-first century". Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 271 (4): 281–285. doi:10.1007/s00404-005-0724-4. PMID 15856269.
  10. ^ Franco Silva, A. (2009) "Las mujeres de Juan Pacheco y su parentela." Historia, Instituciones, Documentos. Vol. 36, pgs. 161-182
  11. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  12. ^ The Peerage. Retrieved 14 March 2014
  13. ^ leighrayment, The Baronetage. Retrieved 14 March 2014
  14. ^ Wikisource. Retrieved 14 March 2014
  15. ^ Beacock Fryer, Mary (1989). Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe 1762-1850. A Biography. Toronto, London: Dundurn. p. 10–12.
  16. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  17. ^ New York Magazine (1 Oct 1973), Vol. 6, Nº 40, pg. 76
  18. ^ Corpo de Itamar Franco chega a Juiz de Fora (MG), onde será velado UOL (In Portuguese), 3 July 2011, accessed in 29 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Lt. Hon. Henry Kerr Auchmuty Cecil". Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  20. ^ Wilson, Julian (11 June 2013). "Sir Henry Cecil obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  21. ^ Jinman, Richard (19 February 2019). "Sir Ranulph Fiennes on rivalry, pain and the storage of amputated fingers". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  22. ^ Cowton, Michael (2020) Murders that shocked the world - 70s. Banovallum, 200 pages.
  23. ^ "David Copperfield". Blundeston. Retrieved 5 July 2015.

External linksEdit