Posthumous Birth
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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 after the death of the mother, usually by caesarean section.[2]

Legal implications

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 monarchies

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,[] but must yield place to the unborn child, or ascends and reigns until the child is born.[] 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 complications

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. However, it is likely that the term simply meant "the last child" or youngest born, and did not always indicate posthumous birth.

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 ?núyàmí, 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 posthumously

This list also includes people who were posthumous children of notables but did not become notable themselves.


Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Comments
Alexander IV
King of Macedon
August 323 BCE Alexander the Great 11 June 323 BCE 2 months
Mauryan Emperor
320 BCE His mother 320 BCE Same Day Delivered through caesarean section after his mother was poisoned.[9]
Cornelia Postuma
Daughter of Roman dictator Sulla
78 BCE Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix 77 BCE A few months
Agrippa Postumus
Grandson of Augustus Caesar
12 BCE Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa 12 BCE A few weeks
Shapur II
Sassanid Emperor
309 AD Hormizd II 309 AD Forty days Shapur is believed to be the only monarch in history who was crowned in utero

Wife of Gratian
361-362 AD Constantius II 3 November 361 Father died of fever.

Middle Ages

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Comments
Prophet of Islam
c. 570 Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib c. 569 <6 months Father died of illness while returning from a foreign trade mission.
Robert I
King of France
15 August 866 Robert the Strong 2 July 866 6 weeks Robert the Strong died at the Battle of Brissarthe
Charles III "The Simple"
King of France
17 September 879 Louis the Stammerer 10 April 879 5 months
Lothair III
Holy Roman Emperor
1075 Gebhard of Supplinburg 9 June 1075 ?
Valdemar I the Great
King of Denmark
14 January 1131 Canute Lavard 7 January 1131 7 days
Constance I
Queen of Sicily
2 November 1154 Roger II of Sicily 26 February 1154 8 months
Baldwin V
King of Jerusalem
August 1177 William of Montferrat, Count of Jaffa and Ascalon June 1177 2 months
Arthur I
Duke of Brittany
29 March 1187 Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany 19 August 1186 7 months
Maria of Montferrat
Queen of Jerusalem
Summer 1192 Conrad of Montferrat 28 April 1192 A few months Father assassinated.
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 Retrieved through caesarean section after his mother died in childbirth.[2]
Walter IV, Count of Brienne
Count of Brienne
1205 Walter III, Count of Brienne 14 June 1205
Stephen the Posthumous
Hungarian prince
1236 Andrew II of Hungary 21 September 1235 at least 2 months
Przemys? II
King of Poland
14 October 1257 Przemys? I of Greater Poland 4 June 1257 4 months
John I
King of France
15 November 1316 Louis X of France 5 June 1316 5 months He lived for only six days, but was a king for his entire short life.
Isabel de Verdun, Baroness Ferrers of Groby
English aristocrat
21 March 1317 Theobald de Verdun, 2nd Lord Verdun, Justiciar of Ireland 27 July 1316 8 months Theobald died of typhoid
John, 3rd Earl of Kent 7 April 1330 Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent 19 March 1330 19 days Edmund was executed
William of Bavaria-Munich 1435 William III, Duke of Bavaria 12 September 1435 up to 3 months He also died in 1435
Ladislaus the Posthumous
King of Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia, Duke of Austria
22 February 1440 King Albert II of Germany 27 October 1439 4 months
Henry VII
King of England
28 January 1457 Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond 1 or 3 November 1456 3 months Father died of bubonic plague
John Louis
Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken
19 October 1472 Johann II of Nassau-Saarbrücken 15 July 1472 3 months
Mencía Pacheco[10]
Castilian noblewoman
1474-1475 Juan Pacheco 1 October 1474 Father died of a throat ailment.
Pope Clement VII 26 May 1478 Giuliano de' Medici 26 April 1478 1 month Giuliano was assassinated in the Pazzi Conspiracy

Modern Age

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Comments
Catherine of Austria
Queen of Portugal
14 January 1507 Philip I of Castile 25 September 1506 3 months Father died of typhoid or was poisoned.
Alexander Stewart
Duke of Ross
30 April 1514 James IV of Scotland 9 September 1513 7 months James IV died at the Battle of Flodden; Alexander died at the age of only 20 months, but during his short life he was heir presumptive to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland
Françoise d'Orléans-Longueville
Wife of Louis I of Bourbon
5 April 1549 François d'Orléans, Marquis of Rothelin, Prince of Chalet-Aillon, Viscount of Melun 25 October 1548 5 months
King of Portugal
20 January 1554 João Manuel, Prince of Portugal 2 January 1554 18 days Upon his birth, Sebastian immediately became Crown Prince
Ben Jonson
Elizabethan playwright
c. 11 June 1572 His father April 1572 2 months
Henri II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé
French aristocrat
1 September 1588 Henri, Prince of Condé 5 Mar 1588 6 months
Sveinn "Skotti" Björnsson
Icelandic criminal
1596-1597 Björn Pétursson 1596 ? His father was the only serial killer in the history of Iceland and was executed before his birth.
Thomas Herbert
Welsh Royal Navy officer and writer
15 May 1597 Richard Herbert 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
Joseph of Cupertino
Catholic saint
17 June 1603 Felice Desa ? ?
Elizabeth Gyllenhielm
Swedish noble
1622 Charles Philip, Duke of Södermanland 25 January 1622 Charles died in battle at Narva
François-Henri de Montmorency
Duke of Luxembourg
8 January 1628 François de Montmorency-Bouteville 22 June 1627 6 months His father was executed for dueling
Isaac Newton
English scientist
4 January 1643 Isaac Newton, Sr. September-October 1642 3 months
William III
King of England and Scotland
14 November 1650 William II, Prince of Orange 6 November 1650 8 days Father died of smallpox. He was born Prince of Orange.
Adolphus Frederick II
Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
19 October 1658 Adolf Frederick I, Duke of Mecklenburg 27 February 1658 7 months
Jonathan Swift
Irish writer (Gulliver's Travels)
30 November 1667 Jonathan Swift, Sr. c. April 1667 7 months
William August
Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
30 November 1668 Adolf William, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach 21 November 1668 9 days
Godscall Paleologue 12 January 1694 Theodorious Paleologus post-1 August 1693 (date will made) Up to 5 months Last recorded living member of the Paleologus dynasty.
Edward Ward, 9th Baron Dudley
British peer
16 June 1704 Edward Ward, 8th Baron Dudley 28 March 1704[11] 10 weeks Father died of smallpox.

Livonian physicist
22 July 1711 His father His father died of plague.
William IV
Prince of Orange
1 September 1711 John William Friso, Prince of Orange 14 July 1711 6 weeks His father drowned in ferryboat sinking.
Robert Petre, 8th Baron Petre
British peer and horticulturist
3 June 1713 Robert Petre, 7th Baron Petre 22 March 1713 10 weeks His father died of smallpox.
John Morton
American politician
1725 John Morton, Sr. 1724
Sir Brook Bridges, 3rd Baronet
British politician
17 September 1733 Sir Brook Bridges, 2nd Bt 23 May 1733[12] 4 months
Barbara Herbert, Countess of Powis
British aristocrat
24 June 1735 Lord Edward Herbert c. March 1735 3 months
Caroline Matilda
Queen of Denmark
11 July 1751 Frederick, Prince of Wales 20 March 1751 4 months
Thomas Chatterton
English poet and forger
20 November 1752 Thomas Chatterton Sr. 7 August 1752[13] 15 weeks
John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn
Irish peer and politician
July 1756 The Honourable John Hamilton December 1755 7 months Father accidentally drowned on naval service.
Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe
British artist in colonial Canada
bap. 22 September 1762 Thomas Gwillim 29 January 1762 8 months Father died of unknown causes while with his regiment in Germany during the Seven Years' War. Her mother died shortly after giving birth to Elizabeth Posthuma, their only child, leaving her a full orphan at a mere few hours old.[14]
Benedict Joseph Flaget
American bishop
7 November 1763 [1]
Andrew Jackson
President of the United States
15 March 1767 Andrew Jackson, Sr. February 1767 3 weeks His father was killed in a lumber accident
Shawnee prophet and leader
1775 Pukeesheno ? ?

19th century

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Comments
Arthur MacArthur Sr.
Governor of Wisconsin
26 January 1815 His father 19 January 1815 7 days Paternal grandfather of General Douglas MacArthur
Henri, Count of Chambord
Pretender to the French throne
29 September 1820 Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry 14 February 1820 7 months Father, who was assassinated, also had three posthumously born bastard children by different women.
Rutherford B. Hayes
President of the United States
4 October 1822 Rutherford Hayes Jr 20 July 1822 10 weeks
Jemima Blackburn
Scottish painter
1 May 1823 James Wedderburn 7 November 1822 6 months
Anna Leonowens
British teacher, co-subject of The King and I
5 November 1831 Thomas Edwards c.August 1831 3 months
David Hyrum Smith
Leader of the RLDS Church
7 November 1844 Joseph Smith 27 June 1844 5 months His father was murdered.
Princess Kazu
Wife of Tokugawa Iemochi
1 August 1846 Emperor Nink? 21 February 1846 5 months
Horace Tabberer Brown
British chemist
20 July 1848 His father
Samuel Alexander
British philosopher
6 January 1859 Samuel Alexander, Sr.
Motilal Nehru
Indian political activist
6 May 1861 Gangadhar Nehru February 1861 3 months
Florence Maybrick
US-British accused murderess
3 September 1862 William Chandler ? ? [15]
George Washington Carver
American agricultural scientist
c. 1864 His father Father was murdered.
Breaker Morant
Australian soldier and folk hero
9 December 1864 Edwin Murrant August 1864 4 months
Frank Anstey
Australian politician
18 August 1865 Samuel Anstey c.March 1865 5 months
Rua Kenana Hepetipa
Maori faith healer
1869 Kenana Tumoana November 1868 3 months Tumoana was killed at Makaretu while fighting for Te Kooti
George Washington Lambert
Australian artist
13 September 1873 George Washington Lambert 25 July 1873 7 weeks
Carl Schuricht
German conductor
3 July 1880 Carl Conrad Schuricht June 1880 3 weeks His father drowned in the Baltic Sea while trying to save a friend
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 19 July 1884 Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany 28 March 1884 4 months His father, a haemophiliac, died after head injury in a fall.
Chester W. Nimitz
American fleet admiral
24 February 1885 Chester Bernard Nimitz 14 August 1884 6 months
Clara Sipprell
Canadian photographer
31 October 1885 Francis Sipprell
Alfonso XIII
King of Spain
17 May 1886 King Alfonso XII 25 November 1885 6 months His father died of dysentery from 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 5 April 1899 8 months
Mabel Mercer
British-American jazz singer
3 February 1900 Her father ? ? [16]

20th century

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Comments
Stanley Kunitz
American poet
29 July 1905 Solomon Z. Kunitz June 1905 6 weeks Father committed suicide.
Johan Kjær Hansen
Member of the Danish Resistance
7 April 1907 Hans Christian Johan Andreas Hansen 13 December 1906 4 months
Xiao Qian
Chinese essayist and translator
27 January 1910 His father
John Jacob Astor VI 14 August 1912 John Jacob Astor IV 15 April 1912 4 months Father drowned in the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which his mother survived
Raoul Wallenberg
Swedish diplomat and humanitarian
14 August 1912 Raoul Oscar Wallenberg May 1912 3 months Father died of cancer.
Red Skelton
American comedian
18 July 1913 Joseph Elmer Skelton May 1913 2 months
Cäzilia Gabriel
Hinterkaifeck victim
January 1915 Karl Gabriel December 1914 1 month Father killed in action during World War I.
Georg Quistgaard
Member of the Danish Resistance
19 February 1915 Georg Brockhoff Quistgaard, Sr. 18 December 1914 2 months
Alfred Shaughnessy
English screenwriter and producer
19 May 1916 Alfred Shaughnessy, Sr. 2 months Father killed in World War I.
Edward Bell, Jr October 1918 Edward Bell (footballer) 24 March 1918 6 months Father killed in action during World War I.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Russian novelist
11 December 1918 Isaakiy Semyonovich Solzhenitsyn 15 June 1918 6 months Father killed in a hunting accident.
John Mitchum
American actor
6 September 1919 James Mitchum February 1919 7 months Father killed in a railyard accident.
Kong Decheng
Duke of Yansheng
23 February 1920 Kong Lingyi 8 November 1919 3 months
Alexandra of Yugoslavia
Wife of Peter II of Yugoslavia
25 March 1921 Alexander of Greece 25 October 1920 5 months Father died from sepsis after being bitten by a captive monkey.
Jules Olitski
Ukrainian-American painter, sculptor
27 March 1922 His father A few months Father executed by the Soviet government.
Elisabeth of Austria
Austrian aristocrat
31 May 1922 Charles I of Austria 1 April 1922 2 months Father died of pneumonia.
Stephen Wurm
Hungarian-Australian linguist
19 August 1922 Adolphe Wurm
Mary Warnock
English philosopher
14 April 1924 Archibald Wilson 1923
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 6 months Holliman and all his biological siblings were put up for adoption as a result of economic hardships derived from his father's death.
Bertram Wainer
Australian doctor and activist
30 December 1928 His father [17]
Itamar Franco
President of Brazil
28 June 1930 Augusto César Stiebler Franco April 1930 2 months Father died of malaria.[18]
Thomas Sowell
American economist
30 June 1930 His father
Brian Sewell
British art critic
15 July 1931 Peter Warlock
(claimed by Sewell)
17 December 1930 7 months Warlock died of coal gas poisoning.
Don Durant
American actor
20 November 1932 His father 2 months Father killed in a truck accident.
Margaret O'Brien
American actress
15 January 1937 Lawrence O'Brien
Saddam Hussein
President of Iraq
28 April 1937 His father Father died of cancer.
Ian Brady
British serial killer
2 January 1938 His father
(according to his mother)
3 months 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 19 August 1939 2 months Father died of a heart attack.
Jacques Mairesse
French economist
16 August 1940 Jacques Mairesse 13 June 1940 2 months Father was killed during Battle of France in World War II.
Marie Heydrich 23 July 1942 Reinhard Heydrich 4 June 1942 7 weeks Father was assassinated.
Edwin Wilson
Australian poet
27 October 1942 His father
Henry Cecil
British racehorse trainer
11 January 1943 Henry Kerr Auchmuty Cecil 30 November - 2 December 1942[19] 6 weeks[19] or 2 weeks[20] Father killed in action in the North African campaign of World War II.[20]
Sylvester McCoy
British actor
20 August 1943 Percy Kent-Smith 18 July 1943 1 month Father killed in action in World War II.
Ranulph Fiennes
British explorer and writer
7 March 1944 Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes 24 November 1943 3 months Father killed in action at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
John Pelham, 9th Earl of Chichester
English nobleman
14 April 1944 John Pelham, 8th Earl of Chichester 21 February 1944 2 months Father killed in 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 Collaery 4 months Father killed in action in World War II.
Frederica von Stade
American opera singer
1 June 1945 Charles S. von Stade 10 April 1945 2 months Father killed in action in World War II.
Bill Clinton
President of the United States
19 August 1946 William Jefferson Blythe Jr. 17 May 1946 3 months Father died in an automobile accident.
Peter Kocan
Attempted assassin of Arthur Calwell
4 May 1947 His father 3 months Father died in an automobile accident.
Pedro López
Colombian serial killer
8 October 1948 Midardo Reyes 4 April 1948 7 months Father shot when his store was attacked during La Violencia.
Jett Williams
American singer
6 January 1953 Hank Williams 1 January 1953 5 days Father died of drug-induced cardiac arrest.
Wally Carr
Australian boxer
11 August 1954 His father 2 months Father shot himself in the head[21]
Janet Lynn Skinner
American singer
5 July 1955 Billie Haille July 1955 A few days Father died of spinal meningitis.
Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority
1 December 1958 Saeed bin Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum 9 September 1958 3 months His father was 80 years old at the time of his death.
Tyrone Power Jr.
American actor
22 January 1959 Tyrone Power 15 November 1958 2 months Father died of angina pectoris while filming an action scene.
Antwone Fisher
American author and film director
3 August 1959 Eddie Elkins 2 months Father shot by a jealous lover.
John Clark Gable
American actor
20 March 1961 Clark Gable 16 November 1960 4 months Father died of cardiac arrest.
Yves Amu Klein
French artist
6 August 1962 Yves Klein 6 June 1962 2 months Father died of cardiac arrest.
S?awomir Makaruk
Polish traveler
4 October 1963 S?awomir Makaruk
Polish aviator
20 April 1963 5 months Father died in an aviation accident.
Tariq Al-Ali
Kuwaiti actor
18 January 1966 His father
Rory Kennedy
American documentary film maker
12 December 1968 Robert F. Kennedy 6 June 1968 6 months Father assassinated while campaigning for election.
Brandon Teena
Hate crime murder victim
12 December 1972 Patrick Brandon 7 April 1972 8 months Father died in an automobile accident.
Philippe Cousteau Jr.
Environmental advocate
20 January 1980 Philippe Cousteau 28 June 1979 6 months Father died in an aviation accident.
Makeda Crichton 30 May 1981 Bob Marley 11 May 1981 19 days Father (not married to mother) died of cancer.[22]
Diana Yukawa
Japanese-British violinist and composer
16 September 1985 Akihisa Yukawa 12 August 1985 1 month Father died in the Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash.
Natashenka Ignatenko
Chernobyl disaster victim
1986 Vasily Ignatenko 13 May 1986 A few months Father died of acute radiation syndrome contracted while putting out the fire in the fourth reactor. Natashenka lived for four hours before dying of radiation-induced congenital heart disease and cirrhosis.[23]
Gia Coppola
American film director and actress
1 January 1987 Gian-Carlo Coppola 26 May 1986 7 months Father died in a speedboat accident.
Didier Pironi
Gilles Pironi
Formula One engineer
1987-1988 Didier Pironi
Formula One racing driver
23 August 1987 Father killed in a powerboat racing accident.
Ane Muguruza
Basque nationalist politician
1989-1990 Josu Muguruza 20 November 1989 Father assassinated by Bases Autónomas.
Tuki Brando
Fashion model
26 June 1990 Dag Drollet 16 May 1990 1 month Father shot by his uncle, Christian Brando.
Daijah Nakia Eazy-E 26 March 1995 6 months Father died from HIV/AIDS complications.
[24] 22 October 2000[25] Manuel Indiano Azaustre 29 August 2000 2 months Father assassinated by ETA.

21st century

Name Born Late parent Parent died Gap Comments
Adam Pearl[26] 2002 Daniel Pearl 1 February 2002 2 months Father abducted by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan and beheaded.
Aitor Antonio Puerta 22 October 2007 Antonio Puerta 28 August 2007 2 months Father died of cardiac arrest during a professional association football match, due to an undiagnosed congenital condition.
Iryana Leila
Member of the Pahlavi Dynasty
26 July 2011 Ali-Reza Pahlavi 4 January 2011 6 months Father committed suicide.
Tiago Alves Vieira 19 July 2017 Tiago da Rocha Vieira 28 November 2016 8 months Father died in the LaMia Flight 2933 crash.
Gekyume Onfroy XXXTentacion 18 June 2018 7 months Shot in a robbery.
Chintu Sarja 22 October 2020 Chiranjeevi Sarja 7 June 2020 4 months Father died of cardiac arrest

Mythological characters born posthumously

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 posthumously

  • 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.[27] 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 also


  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 2012.
  5. ^ "U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 8, 8 FAM 304.4 Posthumous Children". Retrieved 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. ^ The Peerage. Retrieved 14 March 2014
  12. ^ leighrayment, The Baronetage. Retrieved 14 March 2014
  13. ^ Wikisource. Retrieved 14 March 2014
  14. ^ Beacock Fryer, Mary (1989). Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe 1762-1850. A Biography. Toronto, London: Dundurn. p. 10-12.
  15. ^ Bruce Robinson, They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper, 2015, p. 487
  16. ^ John S. Wilson (21 April 1984). "Mabel Mercer, Phraser of Songs, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 29 October 2017
  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. ^ a b "Lt. Hon. Henry Kerr Auchmuty Cecil". Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ a b Wilson, Julian (11 June 2013). "Sir Henry Cecil obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Wally Carr & Gaele Sobott, My Longest Round
  22. ^ Dixon, Meredith. "Lovers and Children of the Natural Mystic: The Story of Bob Marley, Women and their Children". The Dread Library. Retrieved 2007.The child is not acknowledged by the official Bob Marley website.
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  27. ^ "David Copperfield". Blundeston. Retrieved 2015.

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