As it was, he did acquire a throne later on -- succeeding his uncle Ernst II as the reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Of course, this happened because his older brother (the Prince of Wales, future King Edward VII of Great Britain) conditionally renounced his rights to the German throne. That is: he allowed himself and his male-line descendants to get bypassed in the ducal succession, in favor of his younger brothers and their male-line descendants, failing which the throne would revert to his line.
I believe this sort of succession is called *reversionary*: it was what happened later on in Romania, when Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen renounced his rights to the throne in favor of his younger brother, Karl. The latter, having married Princess Elisabeth of Wied, found himself without an heir, and therefore had to designate one of his nephews in that position.
The Romanian succession would have passed to Leopold's eldest son, Wilhelm, but for his own renunciation of rights in favor of his younger brothers Ferdinand. The legitimate male-line descent of the latter, however, is not extinct, while that of the former is still alive and kicking. However, the descendants of Wilhelm have, like their ancestor, expressed virtually no interest in pursuing any claim to that throne. Say what you like about the legal aspect of the succession (the 1923 constitution instituted the Salic law in Romania); but today, King Michael's grandson Nicolae is the one actively touting himself as the rightful representative of the dynasty ...
The Coburg connection is interesting, since Wilhelm and Ferdiandn's mother (Infanta Antonia of Portugal) was a daughter of Queen Maria II and her King consort, born Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Kohary). Antonia's uncle August was the father of Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, namesake first cousin of the king of Romania.
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