When Queen Elizabeth II was born, there was a chance she’d never actually get a shot at the throne.
Under the Act of Settlement of 1701, brothers were allowed to jump their sisters in the line of succession — so even if a girl was born first, her younger brother would end up ahead of her in line for the throne.
If Princess Margaret had been a boy, or if any other younger brothers had come along after her, Elizabeth wouldn’t have been first in the line of succession.
In 2013, that all changed with the Succession of the Crown Act, which ended male primogeniture. In 2015, the Act was officially put into place, just two months before Princess Charlotte’s birth.
What that means is that no matter what gender the new royal baby is, Charlotte will maintain her place in the line of succession.
Find out more about this fascinating rule below!
Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / Christopher Neve
Prior to 2015, a prince born after a princess would jump his sister’s spot in the line of succession.
As an example, we look at Queen Elizabeth II’s children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Before Andrew and Edward’s births, Anne was third in line for the throne. However, she moved to fifth after her younger brothers were born.
When Princess Charlotte was born in 2015, she became fourth in line for the throne, behind her father, grandfather, and older brother George.
This year, when the Duke and Duchess announced they were expecting their third child, people started wondering whether Charlotte would slip to fifth in line if the baby were a boy.
Until recently, a younger brother would have jumped Charlotte in line for the throne.
Because of a rule put in place just two months before Charlotte’s birth, however, her place in the line of succession is secure.
When Queen Elizabeth II, who is the longest reigning monarch in British history, passes away, the next in line for the throne will take over.
The heir apparent is Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales.
After Prince Charles, the next in line for the throne is his eldest son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
However, because Prince Charles is already 68 years old, Prince William might become king faster than expected.
After William, Prince George is next in the line of succession.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine the 4-year-old as king, but there’s a good chance he’ll be that one day.
It could be 50 years down the road, but this little munchkin could eventually be the ruler of the United Kingdom.
After her grandfather, father, and brother, Charlotte is the next royal in the line of succession — and for now, nothing can change that.
One day down the road, when George has his own children, Charlotte’s place in the succession might change, though it certainly won’t be usurped by a baby brother.
The new royal may take the title of “baby of the family” away from Charlotte, but they’ll never be able to take her place in line for the throne.
Charlotte has shown us just how feisty she is already (even though she’s only 2!), so she won’t be fading into the background as the middle child.
And do you know who comes after Charlotte in the line of succession right now?
Her uncle, Prince Harry!
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