Line of succession to the British throne

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The line of succession to the British Throne is a partial list of the people in line to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. The succession is regulated by the Act of Settlement 1701, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 and common law.[1]

The line of succession is restricted to the heirs of the Electress Sophia of Hanover, as determined by male-preference cognatic primogeniture, religion, and legitimate birth:

  • 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. Birth order and gender matter: older sons (and their lines) come before younger sons (and theirs); a person's sons (and their lines) irrespective of age, all come before his or her daughters (and their lines). (Elder daughters and their lines also take precedence over younger daughters and theirs.)[2]
  • The monarch must be a Protestant at the time of accession, and enter into communion with the Church of England after accession.[2]
  • Anyone who is Roman Catholic, becomes Roman Catholic, or marries a Roman Catholic is permanently excluded from the succession.[2]
  • A person born to parents who are not married to each other at the time of birth (a bastard) is not included in the line of succession. The subsequent marriage of the parents does not alter this.[3] Under British law, a child born to a married woman is assumed to be the child of her husband.

Apart from identifying the next monarch, 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.[4]

The first seven positions in the line of succession have remained unchanged since the birth of Princess Eugenie in March 1990.

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

Format of the list

This list is sectioned roughly every other generation with some exceptions. Boldfaced explanations show how the people in the following block descend from the Electress Sophia of Hanover.

Superscript letters are placed after a name to indicate the source of the name:

Names with superscript letterB are listed at The Official Web Site of the British Monarchy, "Succession".
Names with superscript letterH are listed by Robert Hardman, Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work (Druck: Ebury Press, 2007)
Names with superscript letterR are listed by William Addams Reitwiesner, "Persons Eligible to Succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2001".
Names with superscript letterW are listed by Dan Willis, The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2002).

The names of individuals who are descended from the Electress Sophia, but are excluded from the line of succession for any of various reasons, are printed in italics. Superscript letters are placed after a name to indicate the reason for exclusion from the line of succession:

Names with superscript lettersXMP are excluded on account of marriage to a Roman Catholic (papist).[5]
Names with superscript lettersXP are excluded on account of being a Roman Catholic (papist).[5]
Names with superscript lettersXI are excluded in accordance with the general interpretation of English Common Law by which illegitimate children have no rights of succession to the British Crown. Illegitimate children whose parents later marry do not thereby gain any succession rights to the British Crown.[3]

Line of succession

George III (1738–1820) →

The bloodline of George IV (1762–1830) is extinct
The bloodline of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827) is extinct
The legitimate bloodline of William IV (1765–1837) is extinct

George V (1865–1936) → George VI (1895–1952)

Current monarch: HM Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926)

  • HRH The Prince of WalesB (The Prince Charles, b 1948)
  • HRH Prince William of WalesB (b 1982)
  • HRH Prince Henry of WalesB (b 1984)
  • HRH The Duke of YorkB (The Prince Andrew, b 1960)
  • HRH Princess Beatrice of YorkB (b 1988)
  • HRH Princess Eugenie of YorkB (b 1990)
  • HRH The Earl of WessexB (The Prince Edward, b 1964)
  • The Viscount SevernB (James, b 2007)
  • The Lady Louise WindsorB (b 2003)
  • HRH The Princess RoyalB (The Princess Anne, b 1950)
  • Peter PhillipsB (b 1977)
  • Savannah Phillips (b 2010)[6]
  • Zara PhillipsB (b 1981)


    HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930–2002)

  • The Viscount LinleyB (David Armstrong-Jones, b 1961)
  • The Honourable Charles Armstrong-JonesB (b 1999)
  • The Honourable Margarita Armstrong-JonesB (b 2002)
  • The Lady Sarah ChattoB (b 1964)
  • Samuel ChattoB (b 1996)
  • Arthur ChattoB (b 1999)
  • George V → Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900–1974)
  • HRH The Duke of GloucesterB (Prince Richard, b 1944)
  • The Earl of UlsterB (Alexander Windsor, b 1974)
  • Lord CullodenB (Xan Windsor, b 2007)
  • The Lady Cosima WindsorB (b 2010)
  • The Lady Davina LewisB (b 1977)
  • Senna LewisB (b 2010)[7]
  • The Lady Rose GilmanB (b 1980)
  • Lyla GilmanB (b 2010)