Royal baby arrives: What does birth mean for the line to the British throne?

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How will two weddings and two royal babies affect the line to the throne? (Frank Augstein, pool/AP Photo|Matt Dunham/AP Photo)

Now that Princess Kate has given birth to her third child, many are wondering where the baby will fall in the line to the throne.

The baby boy is fifth in line, behind older siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

And the baby won't be the only big royal family news this year. The extended family is expecting another baby, as well as two weddings, in 2018. Read on to see how all these events affect the line of succession.


Now that the baby is born, here are the first 10:
1. Charles, Prince of Wales - The queen's firstborn
2. William, Duke of Cambridge - Prince Charles' firstborn and the queen's grandchild
3. Prince George of Cambridge - Prince William's firstborn and the queen's great-grandchild
4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - Prince William's second child and the queen's great-grandchild
5. Royal baby (name yet to be announced) - Prince William's third child and the queen's great-grandchild
6. Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales - Prince Charles' second child and the queen's grandchild
7. Andrew, Duke of York - the queen's third child and second eldest son
8. Princess Beatrice of York - Prince Andrew's firstborn
9. Princess Eugenie of York - Prince Andrew's second child

10. Edward, Earl of Wessex - the queen's youngest child and third eldest son


The line of succession is determined by descent and also by Parliamentary statute, according to the royal family's website. This was decided by the Act of Settlement of 1701, which states that those in line to the throne must be protestant descendants of Princess Sophia. It was decided in the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act that those who marry Roman Catholics are no longer disqualified from the line.

The eldest son of the queen, followed by all his descendants, are in line for the throne ahead of all others. They are followed by her second eldest son and all his descendants, and so on.


Though Anne, The Princess Royal, is Queen Elizabeth II's second-eldest child, she is 12th in line to the throne, behind her brothers and all their descendants. This is because the Act of Settlement of 1701 included a system of male primogeniture, which meant that younger brothers would jump in front of their older sisters in line.

This rule does not apply to the newest generation, however, thanks to the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act. It states that, for any royals born after Oct. 28, 2011, the succession will be decided by birth order, regardless of gender. Since Charlotte was born after this date, she will stay fourth in line even though she now has a younger brother.


As you probably noticed, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge is not in line for the throne, even though her husband Prince William is second in line. Royal weddings do not immediately affect the line of succession because spouses are not descendants of Princess Sophia.

This means that neither Meghan Markle (who is marrying Prince Harry in May) nor Jack Brooksbank (who is marrying Princess Eugenie in fall 2018) will be in the line. But what does that mean for any future children?

Meghan and Harry: Any children will be right after Harry in the line, in the order of their births. They will all be ahead of Prince Andrew.

Eugenie and Jack: Any children will be right after Eugenie in line, in the order of their births. They will be ahead of Prince Edward.


In addition to Kate's new little one, Zara Tindall, who is 16th in line to the throne, is expecting a child. Both of these children will have a place in line.

William and Kate's child: The baby is in line behind Prince George and Princess Charlotte, making him fifth. This has bumped everyone down one spot, making Prince Harry sixth.

Zara Tindall's child: Zara, a grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, is the second child of Princess Anne. Zara and her husband have one child, Mia Grace, who is 17th in line behind her mom. After Kate's youngest bumps everyone down the line, Zara's youngest will be 19th.
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