Succession to the British throne

law governing who can become British monarch

The line of succession to the British throne is the order in which members of the royal family would come to the throne if the reigning king or queen died.

At present the first in line is William, Prince of Wales, and then Prince William's eldest child, Prince George of Wales.

Traditionally, males came before females in the line of succession. However, the law changed on 26 March 2015, so at present, for people born after 28 October 2011 the succession is decided only by age: older children come before younger children. This system of inheritance is called absolute primogeniture, as opposed to male-preference primogeniture. When someone who is in line to the throne has a child, that child comes after them and their older children, but before anyone else in the line of succession.

Excluded from the line of succession are Catholics and illegitimate children.

Line of succession


No official, complete version of the line of succession is maintained. The exact number, in more remote collateral lines, of the people who would be eligible is uncertain. In 2001, American genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner compiled a list of 4,973 living descendants of the Electress Sophia in order of succession without omitting Roman Catholics.[1] When updated in January 2011, the list included 5,753.[2]

The annotated list below covers the first part of this line of succession, being limited to descendants of the sons of King George V, King Charles III's great-grandfather. The order of the first twenty-three numbered in the list, all descendants of Queen Elizabeth II, is given on the official website of the British monarchy;[3] other list numbers and exclusions are explained by annotations and footnotes below. People named in italics are unnumbered either because they are deceased or because sources report them to be excluded from the succession.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Albert and Leopold Windsor were listed on the official website of the British monarchy until 2015 and in the 2013 edition of Whitaker's Almanack as following Estella Taylor (b 2004) and eligible to succeed; MSN News, Debrett's and Whitaker's Almanack 2015 and 2021 list them after Lady Amelia Windsor and before Lady Helen Taylor. They were baptised as Catholics, and are not listed in line in editions of Whitaker's earlier than 2012.


  1. Reitwiesner, W. A. "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2001". Archived from the original on 9 June 2005.
  2. Lewis, David. "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2011". Archived from the original on 17 May 2011.
  3. Cite error: The named reference BM was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).

Other websites