Line of succession to the British throne

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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 § Succession. For more on royal succession in Canada, see Monarchy of Canada § Succession and regency.

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 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 changes came into effect on 26 March 2015.[5][6][7] The earliest people in the line of succession to be affected by the changes on that date were the children of Lady Davina Lewis, her son Tāne (born 2012) and her daughter Senna (born 2010), who were reversed in the order of succession, becoming 29th and 28th in line respectively.[8][9]

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.[10]


The right of succession is regulated by common law, the Act of Settlement 1701, and by legislation subsequent to the Perth Agreement. The succession is ordered by male-preference cognatic primogeniture for people born before 28 October 2011 and absolute primogeniture for those born after 28 October 2011. An individual is in the line of succession if the two following requirements are met:

Line of succession

The annotated list below of persons in line of succession to the present Queen is limited to the Queen's descendants (numbered 1 to 17) and others in the nearest collateral lines, namely, the other eligible descendants of the sons of George V (numbered 18 to 55). 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 2 May 2015, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a daughter,[12][13] who became fourth in the line of succession, after her elder brother Prince George of Cambridge.

Tree list

Notes and sources:

XC Excluded as Roman Catholics. This exclusion is not affected by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.
MC These people were excluded through marriage to a Roman Catholic. This exclusion was repealed under s. 2(2) of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, restoring them to the line of succession once it came into effect on 26 March 2015.
B listed by the official website of the British Monarchy, "Succession", retrieved 24 March 2015
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[18]

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][11]

See also


  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. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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. ^ Cosgrove, Peter (24 March 2015), Succession to the Crown Commencement Proclamation 2015, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, retrieved 26 March 2015 
  6. ^ Governor General of New Zealand=in-Council (25 March 2015), Royal Succession Act Commencement Order 2015, Wellington: Queen's Printer, retrieved 26 March 2015 
  7. ^ Clegg, Nick (26 March 2015), Commencement of Succession to the Crown Act 2013 :Written statement - HCWS490, London: Queen's Printer, retrieved 26 March 2015 
  8. ^ "What do the new royal succession changes mean?" at Royal Central website, 26 March 2015 (retrieved 30 March 2015).
  9. ^ For the line of succession immediately before the changes of 26 March 2015 click here.
  10. ^ The Official Website of the British Monarchy, "Counsellors of State"
  11. ^ a b William Addams Reitwiesner, "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2001"
  12. ^ "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child" (Press release). Clarence House. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Duchess of Cambridge pregnant with second child". BBC. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Announcement of the birth of Mr and Mrs Tindall's first baby, 17 January 2014
  15. ^ "Zara and Mike Tindall's baby named on Twitter". 
  16. ^ SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Cheer up, Cressy, it's a drama not a crisis – Miracle birth for Windsors
  17. ^ Prince and Princess Michael of Kent welcome first grandchild
  18. ^ "Line of succession to the throne". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 February 1952. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 

External links