King Charles: What will happen to the royal family’s line of succession?

On Thursday 8 September, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had passed away aged 96, after 70 years on the throne.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

As Charles becomes King, his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall is expected to be named Queen Consort.

Prince Charles’ first-born child, the Duke of Cambridge is now heir apparent followed by his son, Prince George.

Prince William’s other children, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are now third and fourth in the line of succession, while Prince Harry and his children, Archie and Lilibet, are fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

However, Prince Andrew comes next in line even though he is the Queen’s third child – and the reason for this can be traced back to an out-dated rule.

How have the laws of succession changed in recent years?

Although Anne, Princess Royal, is the Queen’s second-eldest child, she is sixteenth in line for the throne.

This is because, up until 2013, royal custom dictated that the birth of a royal male baby would displace his female sibling in the line of succession, even if she was older than him.

Therefore, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, and their subsequent children are before the Princess Royal in line to the throne.

In 2013, the Succession to the Crown Act was passed into law by parliament. The law was put in place before the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first child, who would be heir to the throne after William.

This altered the tradition regarding the line of succession, ruling that the birth of a boy could no longer displace his female sibling in the line to the throne.

The previous rule of male primogeniture does not applies to royal babies born after 28 October 2011. This means that Princess Charlotte will remain above Prince Louis in line to the throne.

As Princess Anne was born in 1950, the change does not affect her position.

The British Royal Family line of succession

Does the Queen’s death change where other members of the royal family fall? Here is the line of succession as it now stands.

1. Prince William

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

As the first-born son of Prince Charles, William is the heir apparent to the throne.

2. Prince George

(PA/Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)

Though only nine years old, as the eldest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the young royal is now second in line to the throne.

3. Princess Charlotte


George’s little sister, seven-year-old Princess Charlotte is now third in line to the throne. However, if George has children of his own, they will overtake his sister in the line of succession.

4. Prince Louis

(Duchess of Cambridge/PA)

Four-year-old Prince Louis, the Cambridge’s youngest child, is fourth in line to the throne.

5. Prince Harry

(Getty Images for Global Citizen )

As Harry is Charles’ youngest son, he falls after Prince William and William’s children in the line of succession.

6. Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

(Getty Images)

As the first-born child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, baby Archie is now sixth in line for the throne.

7. Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor


Archie is closely followed by his baby sister Lilibet, who Harry and Meghan welcomed in June 2021.

8. Prince Andrew

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Prince Andrew, the Queen’s third child and second son, is eighth in line to the throne.

9. Princess Beatrice

(Royal Family)

As royal tradition dictates, Prince Andrew’s eldest child, Princess Beatrice is next in line after her father.

10. Sienna Mapelli Mozzi

Beatrice’s daughter, Sienna is tenth in line to the throne.

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