I'm a 28yo king of Eire with an old wife who can no longer bear children. (Don't ask me how I got here, things happen in Crusader Kings 2.)

I've tried to get rid of my wife, but the Pope won't give me a divorce. Neither can I find backers to kill her (I suppose the fact that she is a duchess somewhere in central France adds to that).

One option is just to let her die of natural causes (she's 20 years older than me), since I could remarry after and have a new young wife bear children. This will likely incur some period of regency, but oh well.

The other one is to get some lovers, sire bastard sons, and legitimize them. Worse than natural heirs, but not a game over. In this case, how do I increase likelihood of getting lovers?

When I die, the game is over and I don't want that to happen. Hence, my question is, how do I get an heir from here? Which of above options should I follow and is there a better way?

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    My search history now contains the contextless gem "can anti-popes grant divorces?" Coming up with some answers though. Apr 9, 2016 at 10:23
  • Which DLCs do you have? I'm going to answer assuming none but they would make this easier (especially Way of Life). Apr 9, 2016 at 10:44
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    @Studoku, how would Way of Life help here? (I have all of the DLCs, if that matters) Apr 9, 2016 at 20:59
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    Seduction focus makes it much easier to sire bastards. Apr 9, 2016 at 21:03
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    Never played CK before, but this question made me want to.
    – pushasha
    Apr 10, 2016 at 4:09

2 Answers 2


Divorcing her

So, the pope won't let you divorce her? Start your own papacy!

Set your investiture to free investiture and find a suitable bishop. Preferably one that likes you. Give him gifts, honorary titles and make him Court Chaplain if necessary- you want a content yes-man here. Make him anti-pope.

As an anti-pope, he will be able to grant you the divorce you want.

Killing her

Having her assassinated is apparently not an option. Fortunately, you don't need to.

Arrest her. Execute her.

I recommend this only as a last resort. You'll earn yourself a whopping -50 malus from all your vassals for tyrannically arresting and executing someone for no reason.

Also, this might not be possible, if she's a duchess outside your realm and not actually your vassal.

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    Anti pope is an interesting idea. Now I need to get rid of my 'Slow' firstborn legitimized bastard heir that my 'Quick' lover produced. I lovehate this game. Apr 9, 2016 at 20:58
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    Often times, you get a little warning before you yourself kick the bucket. When you get a serious illness (or a regular 'Ill' trait over the age of 45) or become infirm or incapable, it may be too late to get an heir born, but that's the point I consider it 'worth it' to go arresting and executing. Also, you can choose the intrigue focus to spy on your wife and often find a just cause (or fabricate one) for arresting and executing her. Whatever you do, don't exile her: you won't divorce and it becomes much harder to kill her.
    – Dacio
    Apr 19, 2016 at 16:28
  • Can you elaborate on the drawbacks of 'divorcing her' option (using your own papacy)? Apr 19, 2016 at 16:40
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    Another option to getting a divorce without the pope's approval is the Henry VIII maneuver: Start a heresy which allows you to get divorces without a pope.
    – Philipp
    May 21, 2016 at 11:46
  • @SergiiZaskaleta The only side-effects of divorcing are a cost of 50 piety and that it gives you an opinion penalty with your ex-wife. But unless she is somehow relevant to you in other regards this is usually not much of a concern. And you will of course also lose any pacts or alliances you have through that marriage.
    – Philipp
    May 21, 2016 at 11:51

In addition to what other people have already said about ways of getting children, there is also another option. If you have relatives of your own blood you can try to institute elective monarchy (arguably the best succession system anyway) and put your chosen relative successor in charge of a duchy (it's also worth checking out their children/grandchildren especially if you're doing this at the age of 28).

Also, the legitimized bastard trait is not so bad.

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    Should've mentioned that i'm too early in the game with techs behind and altering succession law is not available Apr 12, 2016 at 7:36

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