Will The New Royal Baby Eventually Be King?

Frank O. SalisburyWikimedia Commons

Now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s long-awaited royal baby has arrived, the question some royal family fans are asking is, “will he eventually become King?” Unfortunately, it’s extremely unlikely, almost to the point of being impossible. In fact, a lot would have to go wrong before Baby Sussex gets anywhere close to the Throne.

What’s at play here is what’s known as the line of succession — essentially a numbered list of people who have a claim to the throne, based on the strength of their claim. Different monarchies around the world have different rules for succession, and in the United Kingdom’s case, the rules, as they currently exist, are the result of centuries of tradition and acts of Parliament being cobbled together and codified into law.

Where you are on that list depends on when you were born in relation to other claimants, how directly related you are to the current monarch, and, until recently, whether you are male or female — the British Parliament recently updated the rules to make things fairer to female members of the family.

What’s more, the list is constantly changing based on births, deaths, and (in rare cases), abdication.

As of this writing, Baby Sussex is seventh in line to the Throne, and he’s likely to get further down the line as time goes on.

The first person in line to the throne is Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son, Prince Charles, who will take the throne after his mother dies — assuming he doesn’t die or abdicate before then. After Charles’ reign, his oldest son, William, will then be king — again, assuming he doesn’t die or abdicate before then. William’s reign will be followed by that of his oldest son, George, who is currently third in line to the throne.

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Fourth in line to the throne is Princess Charlotte, followed by Prince Louis at fifth, then William’s brother, Prince Harry, at sixth, and finally, Baby Sussex at seventh.

And, once George becomes an adult and starts having kids of his own, those kids will push Charlotte, Louis, Harry, and Baby Sussex even further down the list.

So, long story short, it would take an almost-inconceivable string of abdications, early deaths, and other disasters before Baby Sussex ever gets anywhere near the throne. Baby Sussex will likely have to enjoy being the great-grandson, then grandson, then nephew, then a cousin of the monarch, as he will almost certainly never be the monarch.

In case you were wondering, the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was not in a direct line to the throne when she was born third in the line of succession at the time of her birth. Her uncle, Edward VIII, assumed the throne after the death of his father (Elizabeth’s grandfather), George V. Had he produced heirs, they would have been in line to the throne before Elizabeth. However, he abdicated before that happened, and his younger brother, who took the regnal name George VI, became King, putting his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, first in line.