With the announcement of the engagement of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, those who watch the British line of succession have had their interest piqued because a shake-up (or two) could be on its way. With Prince William and Kate Middleton expecting another baby next year, and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tying the knot soon after, the British line of succession is getting some new blood (pun intended). If Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have children, then a few royals might drop off the top twenty in the British line of succession.
Queen Elizabeth has made figuring out the British line of succession a bit easier for us commoners because it used to be a puzzle of sorts. Before 2011, men were still a priority when it came to succession, meaning that if Prince William had been female, Prince Harry would have succeeded Prince Charles in the British line of succession. But Queen Elizabeth put an end to that with the Succession to the Crown Act, which leveled the playing field in terms of gender.
“In determining the succession to the Crown, the gender of a person born after 28 October 2011 does not give that person, or that person’s descendants, precedence over any other person (whenever born).”
This means that no matter the gender of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s new baby, he or she will join the top five behind Princess Charlotte (no more line jumping for the boys) in the British line of succession.
No matter what you have heard, Prince William will not be succeeding Queen Elizabeth onto the throne in the British line of succession unless Prince Charles passes away before Queen Elizabeth. This particular royal family has a real aversion to abdication, so unless Prince Charles is deceased or in prison, he will be King Charles (or King whatever name he chooses) when Queen Elizabeth passes.
So the public is pretty clear that Prince Charles is next in line, and following Prince Charles is Prince William, then Prince George, but who rounds out the top five — for now. At this very moment, Princess Charlotte is number four, and Prince Harry is number five in the British line of succession, but the birth of the new alleged Princess of Prince William and Kate Middleton will edge Prince Harry out of the number five position.
Put here is where children of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could shake up the top ten in the British line of succession. Right now, Prince Andrew follows Prince Harry in the British line of Succession, but if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have children, they will jump the line ahead of Prince Andrew and his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, per Town & Country. So it is possible that potential children of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who would have dual American/British citizenship, would be in the top 10 of royals in line to the throne of Great Britain.
While Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, followed by his two children, and Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her children and grandchildren had no expectation of ever becoming king or queen, additional children of Prince William or Prince Harry pushes them further and further down the list.
At this time, rounding out the British line of succession are the children of Princess Margaret and their offspring. Princess Margaret’s oldest child, David Armstrong-Jones, the second Earl of Snowdon, is next, followed by his children, says PopSugar, and after that is Princess Margaret’s daughter, Sarah Chatto, and then her children.
Following the grandchildren of Princess Margaret, things get a bit remote, as the British line of succession starts dipping into the cousins of Queen Elizabeth with Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who according to odds-makers, has nearly a zero percent chance of becoming king.
So that’s your primer to the British line of succession, but things might be shaken up as new royals enter the world.