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British royal line of succession: Who will take the throne after Queen Elizabeth?

Changes to succession rules and the birth of new family members have made it hard to keep track of who is next in line. 
(L-R) Countess of Wessex, Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Duchess of Sussex, Duke of Sussex, Duke of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cambridge.
(L-R) Countess of Wessex, Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Duchess of Sussex, Duke of Sussex, Duke of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cambridge.Paul Grover / PA via AP

The succession to the British throne is an ever-shifting situation. Since the 17th century, the rules of order have been determined by both descent and Parliamentary statues, according to the royal family’s website.

But to keep up with changing times, the rules around succession have also altered.

In 2013, the Perth Agreement passed and went into full effect in 2015, equalizing the rights of sons and daughters in the British royal line of succession. The new law made it so male heirs are no longer entitled to leapfrog the daughters in line to the throne. 

While it’s widely known that Queen Elizabeth II’s firstborn, Prince Charles, will ascend to the monarchy when she dies, changes to succession rules combined with the birth of new family members have made it hard to keep track of who is next in line. 

Here’s a look at the royals and their current place in line to the throne.

Charles, Prince of Wales— heir apparent to the British throne 

Britain's Prince Charles views two alternative fuel green trains during visit to Glasgow Central Station
Prince Charles is the first in line to the throne. Jane Barlow / Pool via Reuters

As Queen Elizabeth's oldest child, Charles has been at the very front of the line of succession since his birth in 1948. Since being named heir apparent in 1952 following his mother becoming queen, Charles has obtained many titles. In addition to being the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Duke of Rothesay, on April 9, 2021, he became the Duke of Edinburgh after the death of his father, Prince Philip.

As a royal family member and son of the queen, Charles has spent a great deal of his life in the public eye. His marriage to Princess Diana — whom he married on July 29, 1981 — garnered international attention and then ire when his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles came to light.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall— pending Queen Consort

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla visit Jordan
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall married Prince William in 2005.Peter Nicholls / Reuters

It took time for the public to warm up to Camilla for her part in the dramatic royal love triangle that dominated headlines in the '80s and '90s. Nearly three decades after their affair first began, Charles and Camilla became official when he declared that their relationship was “non-negotiable.

It took time, but after Prince Charles brought on a public relations executive to help win them acceptance, Camilla began to gain public approval. In April 2005, the two were married, and she became Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Though she is not in the line of succession, Queen Elizabeth determined in February 2022 that Camilla will become Queen Consort when Charles takes the throne.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridgesecond in line of succession

William, The Duke of Cambridge
Prince William is the second in line of succession to the throne.Tim Rooke / Pool via Reuters

Born on June 21, 1982, Prince William is Charles and Diana's firstborn child, which makes him second in line to the throne. His marriage to Kate Middleton was an all-out royal event viewed live by tens of millions around the globe. Upon their marriage, William was made Duke of Cambridge and Kate became the Duchess of Cambridge.

Today, William performs various royal duties on behalf of Queen Elizabeth.

Prince George of Cambridge— third in the line of succession

Image: England v Wales
Prince George is the oldest son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Andy Rain / EPA

Born George Alexander Louis on July 22, 2013, the young prince is the oldest child to William and the Duchess of Cambridge, making him third in line to the throne. His rank in the line of succession means that he will likely become head of the British monarchy one day.  

George has been hailed as a style icon for children. A 2017 piece by Vogue highlighted his influence on children’s clothing sales as a 4-year-old, noting how “anything Prince George wears, we will see demand for those items increase quite considerably.”

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge— fourth in line of succession

The Royal Family Attend Church On Christmas Day
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge became the first female in British royalty to not be passed over by a younger male sibling in the line of succession.Samir Hussein / Pool via WireImage

Named after her great-grandmother, the queen, as well as her late grandmother, Diana, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born on May 2, 2015. The young princess is fourth in line to the throne, and because of the Perth Agreement, she became the first female in the royal family to not be moved down the line of succession after the birth of her younger brother.  

Like her older brother, Charlotte has become known as a style icon in her own right. According to a 2021 report by Reader’s Digest, Princess Charlotte has the highest net worth out of the entire royal family. Thanks to her influence on fashion sales, her net worth is valued at $5 billion.

Prince Louis of Cambridge— fifth in line of succession

Britain's Prince Louis
Prince Louis of Cambridge, the youngest of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Aaron Chown / AFP via Getty Images

Louis Arthur Charles was born on April 23, 2018, and is the youngest child of William and the Duchess of Cambridge. As mentioned above, his rank in line of succession is a major milestone of the modern age and equality for women as he stands behind his older sister, Charlotte.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex— sixth in line of succession

Official launch of the one year countdown to the Invictus Games The Hague 2020
Prince Harry no longer lives full time in Britain.Patrick van Katwijk / Pool via Reuters

As the youngest son of Charles and Diana, Prince Harry has slowly been moved down the line of succession with the birth of each of his oldest brother’s children. As of 2022, he was the sixth in line to the throne.

In 2018, Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding was a global sensation, with nearly 30 million American viewers tuning in. Meghan became the second American to ever marry into the British royal family, and after the wedding, she became the Duchess of Sussex.

Two years later, the increasing media scrutiny of Markle and the couple's every move came to a head. In January 2020, Harry and Meghan announced that they would “step back” from their royal duties, which they officially confirmed in February 2021. Today, they live in Montecito, California.


Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex sits with Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in his lap. Next to him is Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with their daughter Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex sits with Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in his lap. Next to him is Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with their daughter Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.Alexi Lubomirski / Courtesy Archewell Foundation

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor— seventh in line of succession

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the eighth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth, was born on May 6, 2019, and is seventh in line to the throne. At birth, he was entitled to use his father’s hereditary title, but Harry and Meghan decided he would be addressed as Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor— eighth in line of succession

The eleventh great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, was born on June 4, 2021, to Harry and Meghan. Like Charlotte, Lilibet’s name is a nod to both her great-grandmother and grandmother. Instead of “Elizabeth,” however, Lilibet’s name was inspired by the queen’s childhood nickname.