British Line Of Succession: Everything You Need To Know Following The Queen's Death

·6-min read
Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images
Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II has passed away, aged 96.

The news of Her Majesty's passing was announced on Thursday, September 8 after 6pm after members of her family joined her in Balmoral, Scotland.

Following the death of her father, King George VI, 25-year-old Elizabeth assumed the throne on February 6, 1952 and has worked with a staggering 15 prime ministers during her reign, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss.

As Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the Monarch's royal line of succession has seen numerous amendments and additions during her decades on the throne. When examining the Queen’s series of heirs, there are several determining factors at play including descent, religion and primogeniture (ie the state of being the firstborn child).

According to the official Royal Family Website:

'Succession to the throne is regulated not only through descent, but also by Parliamentary statute. The order of succession is the sequence of members of the Royal Family in the order in which they stand in line to the throne.'

Queen Elizabeth II's firstborn child, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, is expected to rule after her and is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. In recent years Prince Charles has increased his royal duties, most recently representing Her Majesty at Maudy Service over Easter.

Following the death of Her Majesty, here is everything you need to know about the royal family's line of succession:

Who will next be on the throne?

Prince Charles is next in line for the throne. Upon the Queen's ascension in 1952, Prince Charles became heir apparent at the age of three. As the Queen’s first-born child, he will become King when his mother either abdicates the throne or dies. With the help of Buckingham Palace, the Prince has already begun planning what the monarchy will look like when he becomes Head of State.

It was recently announced that the father-of-two's wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will become Queen Consort when he takes the throne. The Queen announced this news as part of her message to the nation on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Where are the Cambridges in the line of succession?

As the son of Prince Charles and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William is second in line to the throne, and thereafter his three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Aged 39, it's unknown when Prince William will be expected to ascend to the throne, especially given his father is 73 years old and may reign for several years.

Photo credit: Comic Relief - Getty Images
Photo credit: Comic Relief - Getty Images

As third in line, it is expected that if Prince George becomes King, he will be known as King George VII. He will be a King Regnant, as he has royal blood — however, the Duke and Duchess have been intentional about giving Prince George ‘a normal upbringing’. It's believed the young royal was told that he would one day be King on his seventh birthday.

As the younger sister of Prince George, Princess Charlotte would only ever become Queen if her older brother predeceased her without having living children. This rule stands after the Queen changed the laws of succession in 2013, which declared the sex of a royal baby doesn't affect their place in the line of succession. The young royal is the first royal princess born 'within the direct line of succession since the Princess Royal in 1950, and is likely to one day inherit the title'. The title of princess is usually give to the oldest daughter of the monarch.

As for Prince Louis, he is fifth in line to the throne. However, he can only become the reigning monarch if his father and siblings all abdicate or die while holding the position themselves.

Kate Middleton gained her title as the Duchess of Cambridge following her marriage to Prince William in 2011. As her husband edges closer to the throne, her title is set to change. When Prince Charles is crowned King, Prince William will take over as the Prince of Wales. The Duchess could then become the Princess of Wales — a title that Camilla declined to receive of respect for the late Princess Diana who previously held the title.

Where are the Sussexes in the line of succession?

Despite Prince Harry’s decision to step down as a senior member of the royal family, should none of the Cambridges become King or Queen, the Duke of Sussex still remains sixth in the line of succession.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Since stepping away from his royal duties, the father-of-two has made a home in the US for himself and his growing family. His first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, is currently seventh in line to the throne, which will only change if the Cambridges welcome another child.

Following the birth of Archie, the Sussexes decided not to give him a royal title despite the fact he was entitled to 'a courtesy title', such as the Earl of Dumbarton, which is one of his father's own titles.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's second child, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, is the newest addition to the sovereign family, as the Queen’s tenth great-grandchild. She is eighth in line to the throne, behind her big brother — however, Lili's life is expected to look quite different from the royal norm. She was the first royal to be born in California where her parents now live, meaning her life will be somewhat removed from the professional responsibilities of royal family members.

When Prince Charles ascends to the throne, it's believed both Archie and Lili could receive a title, as the King’s grandchildren, meaning we might one day refer to the royal siblings as His/Her Royal Highness.

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, would become Queen Consort if Prince Harry ever became King. Yet while the Duchess of Cambridge may one day take the title of ‘Princess’ in some capacity, she will most likely remain the Duchess of Sussex. Technically, she holds the title of ‘Princess Henry of Wales’, which is derived from her husband, meaning she is not a princess in her own right.

Where is Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, in the line of succession?

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, remains ninth in the royal line of succession, despite being recently stripped of his HRH title and military titles following his US civil action over sexual assault allegations - claims he has repeatedly denied.

At one point, many decades ago, Prince Andrew was second in line to the throne, behind his older brother, Prince Charles. Now, he's ninth in the order of succession, following the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s two children.

The Prince’s oldest daughter, Princess Beatrice, is tenth in line. At the time of her birth, she was fifth in the order of succession, just behind her father. The 33-year old-granddaughter of the Queen is known as a ‘blood princess’, meaning she was born royal instead of marrying into the family.

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