Personally, I feel the RSE could have a male Praetor or eight even if Empress Ael remained in power. Then again, I wouldn't bet fortunes on anybody staying in power in the RSE for long.
If you include Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire as more-or-less direct successor states, Rome never managed to develop a stable system of dynastic succession in two millennia. Ael's problem may have been that she tried to shift a political culture based on ruthless charisma to something more rational and bureaucratic using ruthless charisma. Apparently even the shock of the Second Romulan War/Romulan Civil War wasn't enough to change the Empire's politics.
Then again, Ael's family remained powerful to the end of the novelistic continuity. Charvanek, Ael's niece, not only returned to Romulan society but stayed there and became a very powerful figure by the time of the TNG movies, while elsewhere the emperor killed off in Shwartz and Sherman's contribution to a Dominion War anthology is established as being her uncle. (In between Ael and said uncle, christie Golden's Dark Matters
books establishes as empress an annoying young woman so taken by an affair with a mysterious alien that she's willing to commit the Empire to a sneak attack on the Federation, likely explaining why she didn't last too long afterwards.)
If the office of empress/emperor remained after Ael and in the hands of Ael's family, this could suggest that there has in fact been a certain continuity, the initial revolutionary movement becoming more pragmatic reforms. They may be working. In the Rihannsu
novels, the most powerful people in the Empire's government were quite willing to invest time to make Sol pull a Kappa Ceti. In Nemesis
, the Empire only moved reluctantly to flash-vapourize every living thing on Earth after a faction of the military decapitated the Romulan government, and the post-Nemesis
novels establish that there is a reunification movement of note as per Ael's hopes.