How the new prince changed the royal line of succession — and why it made history

By Sophie Dodd
April 24, 2018 03:14 PM
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Prince William and Princess Kate’s third child made history the moment he was born. The new prince, whose name has not yet been revealed, is now fifth in line to the throne, and is the first newborn of the immediate royal family to be affected by new rules determining the line of succession. So what does that mean for the rest of the royal family?

For the first time, a female royal won’t lose her place in line to the throne due to the birth of a younger brother. Princess Charlotte remains fourth in line thanks to the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act, which made birth order, not gender, the determining factor for the next heir to the throne. Previously, princes took precedence over their older sisters, and the only way a royal daughter could inherit the crown was if there were no living sons.

Before the act was passed, the arrival of a younger brother bumped older sisters down a spot in line. This happened twice to Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter, Princess Anne, whose brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were born more than a decade after her, and who now sit respectively at seventh and tenth in line, while she is now 13th.

The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Depart The Lindo Wing With Their New Son
Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage
Royal Baby
Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

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Princess Anne’s older brother, Prince Charles, remains the heir to the throne. Prince William is second in line, and his children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the new royal baby now hold the third, fourth, and fifth positions, according to their respective birth orders.

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Catherine Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to her third child, Lindo Wing, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK - 23 Apr 2018
Prince Harry Launches 'Walk Of America' Expedition
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

While the royal baby’s arrival had no effect on his grandfather, father or older siblings’ positions, he did bump his uncle, Prince Harry, down to sixth in line. Following Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie also each move down one spot in the line of succession.