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The Order of Succession

 

The Order of Succession shows the sequence that members of the Royal Family and related families stand in line to the Throne.

 

Since the Norman Conquest in 1066 the Throne of England has followed the rule of male primogeniture, that is to say the "first born" male inherits irrespective of their being more suitable older but less senior heirs. Also, England has never applied the so-called Salic Law, which restricts inheritance to sons only, and on several occasions the English throne has passed through the female line. The Scottish throne has been inherited in the same way since the early Middle Ages.

 

It was not until the 17th century that it came to be accepted that the succession to the Throne could be regulated by Parliament. The execution of King Charles I by the Parliamentarians in 1649 was an extreme example of the supremacy of Parliament over the King, although Parliament did make partial amends by restoring King Charles II to the Throne in 1666. When King James II fled the country in 1688, Parliament held that he had "abdicated the government" and that the Throne was vacant. Parliament then offered the Throne not to James's Roman Catholic son, but to his Protestant daughter Mary and her equally Protestant husband, William of Orange, as joint rulers. The process started by the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 culminated in the Act of Settlement 1701.

 

This Act laid down that only the Protestant descendants of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, granddaughter of King James I, were eligible to succeed to the Throne after the death of Queen Anne. A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the Throne nor may the Sovereign marry a Roman Catholic. In addition the Sovereign must be in communion with the Church of England and as part of the Coronation ceremony must swear to preserve the established Churches of England and Scotland and to uphold the Protestant succession.

 

In the early 21st century the anti-Roman Catholic clauses of this Act are seen as anachronistic and intolerant, but it is unlikely in the foreseeable future that Parliament will seriously consider repealing the Act. There has been some uninformed comment that should the Act be repealed, then the Throne would pass immediately to Duke Francis of Bavaria, the heir of line of the Royal House of Stuart. This is incorrect. For many centuries it has been established not only that the Sovereign rules through Parliament, but that the succession to the Throne can be and is regulated by Parliament, and that a Sovereign can be deprived of his or her title through misgovernment. It is highly unlikely that Parliament would agree to a change in the Ruling House.

 

A small problem that has escaped many commentators is where would the Queen's Coronation oath "to uphold the Protestant succession" be left were the anti-Roman Catholic clauses in the Act of Settlement repealed?

 

The laws governing the Order of Succession changed in April 2013 with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. This Act altered the succession laws to the British Throne in accordance with the 2011 Perth Agreement. It was brought into force on 26 March 2015, at the same time as the other Commonwealth realms implemented the Perth Agreement in their own laws. This Act goes a small way to removing some of the anti-Roman Catholic clauses in the Act of Settlement.

 

The provisions of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 are:

 

The Line or Order of Succession is:

 

The Sovereign, HM Queen Elizabeth II

 

Family of HRH The Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II

 

1. HRH The Prince of Wales (b. 1948)

2. HRH The Duke of Cambridge (b. 1982), eldest son of the Prince of Wales

3. HRH Prince George of Cambridge (b. 2013), only son of the Duke of Cambridge

4. HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (b. 2015), only daughter of the Duke of Cambridge

5. HRH Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1984), younger son of the Prince of Wales

 

Family of HRH The Duke of York, second son of Queen Elizabeth II

 

6. HRH The Duke of York (b. 1960)

7. HRH Princess Beatrice of York (b. 1988), eldest daughter of the Duke of York

8. HRH Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1990), younger daughter of the Duke of York

 

Family of HRH The Earl of Wessex, third son of Queen Elizabeth II

 

9. HRH The Earl of Wessex (b. 1964)

10. HRH Prince James Alexander Philip Theo of Wessex, known as Viscount Severn (b. 2007), only son of the Earl of Wessex

11. HRH Princess Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary of Wessex, known as Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (b. 2003), only daughter of the Earl of Wessex

 

Family of HRH The Princess Royal, only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II

 

12. HRH The Princess Royal (b. 1950)

13. Mr Peter Phillips (b. 1977), only son of the Princess Royal

14. Miss Savannah Phillips (b. 2010), elder daughter of Mr Peter Phillips

15. Miss Isla Phillips (b. 2012), younger daughter of Mr Peter Phillips

16. Mrs Michael Tindall (b. 1981), only daughter of the Princess Royal

17. Miss Mia Grace Tindall (b. 2014), only daughter of Mrs Michael Tindall

 

Family of the late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, sister of Queen Elizabeth II

 

18. Viscount Linley (b. 1961), only son of the late Princess Margaret

19. Hon Charles Armstrong-Jones (b. 1999), only son of Viscount Linley

20. Hon Margarita Armstrong-Jones (b. 2002), only daughter of Viscount Linley

21. Lady Sarah Chatto (b. 1964), only daughter of the late Princess Margaret

22. Master Samuel Chatto (b. 1996), elder son of Lady Sarah Chatto

23. Master Arthur Chatto (b. 1999), younger son of Lady Sarah Chatto

 

Family of the late Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, uncle of Queen Elizabeth II

 

24. HRH The Duke of Gloucester (b. 1944)

25. Earl of Ulster (b. 1974), only son of the Duke of Gloucester

26. Lord Culloden (b. 2007), only son of Alexander, Earl of Ulster

27. Lady Cosima Windsor (b. 2010), only daughter of Alexander, Earl of Ulster

28. Lady Davina Lewis (b. 1977), elder daughter of the Duke of Gloucester

29*. Miss Senna Lewis (b. 2010), only daughter of Lady Davina Lewis

30*. Master Tane Lewis (b. 2012), only son of Lady Davina Lewis

31. Lady Rose Gilman (b. 1980), younger daughter of the Duke of Gloucester

32. Master Rufus Gilman (b. 2012), only son of Lady Rose Gilman

33. Miss Lyla Gilman (b. 2010), only daughter of Lady Rose Gilman

 

Family of the late Prince George, Duke of Kent, uncle of Queen Elizabeth II

 

34. HRH The Duke of Kent (b. 1935)

35*. Earl of St Andrews, elder son of the Duke of Kent

X. Lord Downpatrick (excluded himself from the Succession by becoming a Roman Catholic), only son of George, Earl of St Andrews

X. Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor (excluded from the Succession by becoming a Roman Catholic), elder daughter of George, Earl of St Andrews

36. Lady Amelia Windsor (b. 1995), younger daughter of George, Earl of St Andrews

X. Lord Nicholas Windsor (excluded himself from the Succession by becoming a Roman Catholic), younger son of the Duke of Kent

X. Albert Windsor (excluded from the Succession by being baptised a Roman Catholic), eldest son of Lord Nicholas Windsor

X. Leopold Windsor (excluded from the Succession by being baptised a Roman Catholic), second son of Lord Nicholas Windsor

X. Louis Windsor (excluded from the Succession by being baptised a Roman Catholic), third son of Lord Nicholas Windsor

37. Lady Helen Taylor (b. 1964), only daughter of the Duke of Kent

38. Master Columbus Taylor (b. 1994), elder son of Lady Helen Taylor

39. Master Cassius Taylor (b. 1996), younger son of Lady Helen Taylor

40. Miss Eloise Taylor (b. 2003), elder daughter of Lady Helen Taylor

41. Miss Estella Taylor (b. 2004), younger daughter of Lady Helen Taylor

42*. HRH Prince Michael of Kent, brother of the Duke of Kent

43. Lord Frederick Windsor (b. 1979), only son of Prince Michael of Kent

44. Miss Maud Windsor (b. 2013), elder daughter of Lord Frederick Windsor

45. Miss Isabella Alexandra May Windsor (b. 2016), younger daughter of Lord Frederick Windsor

46. Lady Gabriella Windsor (b. 1981), only daughter of Prince Michael of Kent

47. HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy (b. 1936), sister of the Duke of Kent

48. Mr James Ogilvy (b. 1964), only son of Princess Alexandra

49. Master Alexander Ogilvy (b. 1996), only son of James Ogilvy

50. Miss Flora Ogilvy (b. 1994), only daughter of James Ogilvy

51. Mrs Marina Mowatt (b. 1966), only daughter of Princess Alexandra

52. Master Christian Mowatt (b. 1993), only son of Mrs Marina Mowatt

53. Miss Zenouska Mowatt (b. 1990), only daughter of Mrs Marina Mowatt

 

Family of the late Princess Mary, Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood, aunt of Queen Elizabeth II

 

54. The Rt Hon the Earl of Harewood (b. 1950)

X. Hon Benjamin Lascelles, legitimated eldest son of the Earl of Harewood

55. Viscount Lascelles (b. 1980), elder legitimate son of the Earl of Harewood

56. Hon Edward Lascelles (b. 1982), younger legitimate son of the Earl of Harewood

X. Lady Emily Lascelles, legitimated daughter of the Earl of Harewood

57. Hon James Lascelles (b. 1953), uncle of the Earl of Harewood

58. Rowan Lascelles (b. 1977), elder son of Hon James Lascelles

59. Tewa Lascelles (b. 1985), younger son of Hon James Lascelles

60. Sophie Lascelles (b. 1973), elder daughter of Hon James Lascelles

X. Tanit Lascelles, legitimated younger daughter of Hon James Lascelles

61. Hon Jeremy Lascelles (b. 1955), uncle of the Earl of Harewood

62. Thomas Lascelles (b. 1982), only son of Hon Jeremy Lascelles

63. Ellen Lascelles (b. 1984), eldest daughter of Hon Jeremy Lascelles

64. Amy Lascelles (b. 1986), second daughter of Hon Jeremy Lascelles

65. Tallulah Lascelles (b. 2005), third daughter of Hon Jeremy Lascelles

X. Hon Mark Lascelles, legitimated uncle of the Earl of Harewood

66. Henry Lascelles (b. 1953), elder cousin of the Earl of Harewood

67. Maximilian Lascelles (b. 1991), only son of Henry Lascelles

X. Martin Lascelles, legitimated younger cousin of the Earl of Harewood

 

Family of the late Princess Louise, Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife, great-aunt of Queen Elizabeth II and eldest daughter of King Edward VII

 

68. His Grace the Duke of Fife (b. 1961)

69. Earl of Southesk (b. 1989), eldest son of the Duke of Fife

70. Lord George Carnegie (b. 1992), second son of the Duke of Fife

71. Lord Hugh Carnegie (b. 1993), third son of the Duke of Fife

72. Lady Alexandra Etherington (b. 1959), only sister of the Duke of Fife

73. Miss Amelia Etherington (b. 2001), only daughter of Lady Alexandra Etherington

 

The Order of Succession next moves to the family of the late Princess Maud, Queen of Norway, great-aunt of Queen Elizabeth II and third but second surviving daughter of King Edward VII. After the Royal House of Norway the Order of Succession moves to the families of the younger sons of Queen Victoria and then to the families of her daughters. At this point the Order of Succession amounts to several thousand people, all possessing a theoretical but highly unlikely right of succession to the British Throne.

 

There is an excellent article in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, showing all the descendants of the Electress Sophia who are eligible to succeed to the Throne.

 

Last updated 4 May 2015

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