Line of succession to the British throne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the main article and remoter lines of succession, see Succession to the British throne. For more on royal succession in Australia, see Monarchy of Australia. For more on royal succession in Canada, see Monarchy of Canada.

The line of succession to the British throne is the ordered sequence of all those people eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom. The line is identical in all other Commonwealth realms.[n 1] The Act of Settlement 1701 bestowed succession on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her descendants while excluding Roman Catholics.[1][2] The British government does not publish an official list of all those in line to succeed, but the work of genealogical authors and amateur researchers suggests that there are several thousand people potentially in line.[3]

In the 2011 Perth Agreement, the heads of government of all 16 Commonwealth realms agreed to take the appropriate steps in their respective countries to adopt absolute primogeniture, end the exclusion of people married to Roman Catholics, and limit the requirement for those in line to seek the permission of the monarch to marry.[4] The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 in Britain and equivalent Acts in many other Commonwealth realms have been passed, but these changes will not take effect in any realm until all the realms are ready to implement the change simultaneously.

In the United Kingdom, the line of succession is also used to select Counsellors of State (and a regent if the need arises) under the provisions of the Regency Act 1937.[5]


The right of succession is regulated by the Act of Settlement 1701, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 and common law.[6] The succession is ordered by male-preference cognatic primogeniture. An individual is in the line of succession if the two following requirements are met:

Line of succession[edit]

The annotated list below of persons in line of succession to the present Queen is limited to the Queen's descendants (numbered 1 to 16) and others in the nearest collateral lines, namely, the other eligible descendants of the sons of George V (numbered 17 to 52). Persons shown who are not in line to the throne are in italics.

No official, complete version of the line of succession is currently maintained. Any person's actual position in the line of succession may change as a result of events such as births and deaths.

On 8 September 2014, it was announced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting a second child,[8][9] who it is assumed, upon birth will be fourth in the line of succession, after elder brother Prince George of Cambridge.

Notes and sources:

XC Excluded as Roman Catholics. This exclusion will not be affected by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.
MC These people were excluded through marriage to a Roman Catholic. This exclusion is repealed under s. 2(2) of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, restoring them to the line of succession once it comes into effect.
B listed by the official website of the British Monarchy, "Succession"
D listed on Debrett's website (as of 9 August 2013): "The Line of Succession to the British Throne"
W listed by Whitaker's Almanack 2013, London: Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-4081-7207-0, p. 21
1952 Succession as published on the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952[14]

The line of succession continues with the eligible descendants of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, only daughter of George V, followed by the other eligible descendants of Edward VII and earlier British monarchs, back to George I (the line is limited to Sophia of Hanover's descendants, of whom all alive today are also George I's descendants). The last person in line (which runs into thousands) was reported in 2011 to be Karin Vogel (born 1973) from Rostock, Germany.[3][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Governments of the Commonwealth realms have acknowledged that a change in the line of succession in respect of any one of the realms is made in accordance with the constitutional law of that realm.
  2. ^ The Legitimacy Act 1926, 10 (1) says, "Nothing in this Act shall affect the Succession to any dignity or title of honour or render any person capable of succeeding to or transmitting a right to succeed to any such dignity or title." The Legitimacy Act 1959, 6 (4) says, "It is hereby declared that nothing in this Act affects the Succession to the Throne."
  3. ^ a b c d The governments of the Commonwealth realms have agreed to changes to the line of succession that would see Tane Lewis and Rufus Gilman switch places with their elder sisters Senna and Lyla respectively. Since Tane and Rufus were born after 28 October 2011 (the date of the agreement), they would lose their male preference under the changes.
  4. ^ Albert and Leopold Windsor are listed on The Official Website of the British Monarchy and in the 2013 edition of Whitaker's Almanack as following Estella Taylor (b 2004), not following Lady Amelia Windsor. As they were baptised as Catholics, they are not listed in Debrett's or editions of Whitaker's earlier than 2012.
  5. ^ Lady Helen Taylor is listed on The Official Website of the British Monarchy, Debrett's and Whitaker's as following Lady Amelia Windsor, not following Leopold Windsor.


  1. ^ van Caenegem, R.C. An historical introduction to western constitutional law. Cambridge University Press, 1995 ISBN 0-521-47693-3 p. 117
  2. ^ "Act Of Settlement British Monarchy Site". Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Sonne, Paul (27 April 2011). "Last in the Line of Succession, Ms. Vogel is Glad She Isn't Queen", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved 14 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Girls equal in British throne succession", BBC, 28 October 2011.
  5. ^ The Official Web Site of the British Monarchy, "Counsellors of State"
  6. ^ Bogdanor, Vernon (1995). The Monarchy and the Constitution. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-829334-8 p. 42
  7. ^ a b c William Addams Reitwiesner, "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2001"
  8. ^ "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child" (Press release). Clarence House. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Duchess of Cambridge pregnant with second child". BBC. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Announcement of the birth of Mr and Mrs Tindall's first baby, 17 January 2014
  11. ^ "Zara and Mike Tindall's baby named on Twitter". 
  12. ^ SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Cheer up, Cressy, it's a drama not a crisis -- Miracle birth for Windsors
  13. ^ Prince and Princess Michael of Kent welcome first grandchild
  14. ^ "Line of succession to the throne". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 February 1952. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 

External links[edit]