Line of succession to the British throne

The line of succession to the British throne is the ordered sequence of those people eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other 15 Commonwealth realms. By the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, the succession is limited to the descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover. The British government does not publish an official list of those in line to succeed, but the work of genealogical authors and amateur researchers suggests that there are several thousand people potentially in line.[1] This article does not attempt to present an exhaustive list, but limits itself to the descendants of the sons of George V. At a summit in Perth, Western Australia in 2011, the heads of government of all the 16 Commonwealth realms agreed to take steps to end male preference primogeniture and the ban on the monarch's marriage to Catholics, and to other changes in the succession rules.[2]

The line of succession is also used to select the Counsellors of State (and a regent if the need arises) under the provisions of the Regency Act 1937.[3]

For past versions of the line of succession, see History of the British line of succession.


The right of succession is regulated by the Act of Settlement 1701, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 and common law,[4] and is limited to the legitimate descendants of legitimate line from the Electress Sophia of Hanover. A person born to parents who are not married to each other at the time of birth is not included in the line of succession and passes no rights to their descendants. The subsequent marriage of the parents does not alter this.[n 1][5]

  • The succession is ordered by male-preference (cognatic) primogeniture. A person is always immediately followed in the succession by his or her own legitimate descendants (his or her line) except for any legitimate descendants who already appear higher in the line of succession. A person's sons and their lines all come before a person's daughters and their lines. Older sons and their lines come before younger sons and their lines. Older daughters and their lines come before younger daughters and their lines.[6]
  • At the time of accession, the heir to the throne must be a Protestant and enter into communion with the Church of England.[5]
  • Anyone who is Roman Catholic, becomes Roman Catholic, or marries a Roman Catholic is excluded from the line of succession.[5]

Rule changes

At the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, the leaders of the Commonwealth realms agreed to introduce legislation to end male primogeniture of descendants of Charles, Prince of Wales, and to allow heirs to the throne to marry Roman Catholics.[7]

Format of the list

Children are shown after their parents and slightly indented. The names of individuals who are excluded because they are Roman Catholic are in italics followed by the superscript letters XC. Individuals currently excluded through marriage to a Roman Catholic are printed in italics followed by the superscript letters XM.


Superscript letters are placed after a name to indicate the source of the name, title, place in succession, and reason for exclusion:

B listed by The Official Web Site of the British Monarchy, "Succession"
D listed by Debrett's, "The Line of Succession to the British Throne"
W listed by Whitaker's Almanack 2011, London: A. C. Black, ISBN 978-1-4081-2848-0, p. 25

Line of succession

  1. Reigning monarch: HM Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926)
  2.  HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles; b 1948) B D W
  3.  HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William; b 1982) B D W
  4.  HRH Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales (b 1984) B D W
  5.  HRH The Duke of York (Prince Andrew; b 1960) B D W
  6.  HRH Princess Beatrice of York (b 1988) B D W
  7.  HRH Princess Eugenie of York (b 1990) B D W
  8.  HRH The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward; b 1964) B D W
  9.  Viscount Severn (James Windsor; b 2007) B D W
  10.  The Lady Louise Windsor (b 2003) B D W
  11.  HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne; b 1950) B D W
  12.  Peter Phillips (b 1977) B D W
  13.  Savannah Phillips (b 2010) B D W
  14.  Zara Tindall, MBE (b 1981) B D W
  15.  Viscount Linley (David Armstrong-Jones; b 1961) B D W
  16.  The Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones (b 1999) B D W
  17.  The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones (b 2002) B D W
  18.  The Lady Sarah Chatto (b 1964) B D W
  19.  Samuel Chatto (b 1996) B D W
  20.  Arthur Chatto (b 1999) B D W
  21. HRH The Duke of Gloucester (Prince Richard; b 1944) B D W
  22.  Earl of Ulster (Alexander Windsor; b 1974) B D W
  23.  Lord Culloden (Xan Windsor; b 2007) B D W
  24.  The Lady Cosima Windsor (b 2010) B D W
  25.  The Lady Davina Lewis (b 1977) B D W
  26.  Senna Lewis (b 2010) B W
  27.  The Lady Rose Gilman (b 1980) B D W
  28.  Lyla Gilman (b 2010) B
  29. HRH The Duke of Kent (Prince Edward; b 1935) B D
     Earl of St Andrews (George Windsor; b 1962) XM / D W
     Lord Downpatrick (Edward Windsor; b 1988) XC / D W
     The Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor (b 1992) XC / W
  30.  The Lady Amelia Windsor (b 1995) B D
     The Lord Nicholas Windsor (b 1970) XC / D W
  31.  Albert Windsor (b 2007) [n 2]
  32.  Leopold Windsor (b 2009)
  33.  The Lady Helen Taylor (b 1964) D [n 3]
  34.  Columbus Taylor (b 1994) D
  35.  Cassius Taylor (b 1996) D
  36.  Eloise Taylor (b 2003) D
  37.  Estella Taylor (b 2004) D
    HRH Prince Michael of Kent (b 1942) XM / D W
  38.  The Lord Frederick Windsor (b 1979) B D
  39.  The Lady Gabriella Windsor (b 1981) B
  40. HRH Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy (b 1936) B
  41.  James Ogilvy (b 1964) W
  42.  Alexander Ogilvy (b 1996) W
  43.  Flora Ogilvy (b 1994) W
  44.  Marina Ogilvy (b 1966) W
  45.  Christian Mowatt (b 1993) W
  46.  Zenouska Mowatt (b 1990) W

The line continues with the descendants of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, the only daughter of George V, followed by the other descendants of Edward VII and earlier British monarchs (as well as Frederick, Prince of Wales) back to George I, as the list is not infinite and is limited to Sophia of Hanover's descendants (of whom all presently living are also George I's descendants).

The last person in the line of succession is believed to be Miss Karin Vogel from Rostock, Germany.[1]

See also


  1. ^ 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."
  2. ^ Albert and Leopold Windsor are listed on The Official Website of the British Monarchy as following Estella Taylor (b 2004), not following Lady Amelia Windsor. They are not listed in either Debrett's or Whitaker's.
  3. ^ 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. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Girls equal in British throne succession", BBC, 28 October 2011.
  3. ^ The Official Web Site of the British Monarchy, "Counsellors of State"
  4. ^ Bogdanor, Vernon (1995). The Monarchy and the Constitution. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0198293348 p. 42
  5. ^ a b c William Addams Reitwiesner, "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2001"
  6. ^ The Official Web Site of the British Monarchy, "Succession"
  7. ^ "UK royal succession laws changed". BBC News. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 

External links

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