Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained

And yes—Harry and Archie are still in the line of succession.

Royal Family on Buckingham Palace balcony
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With the devastating passing of Queen Elizabeth II , the United Kingdom will now have a new monarch. And while the line of succession starts off straightforwardly enough—Elizabeth's firstborn, Charles, will now be crowned king—things get confusing fast. Rather than simply moving through each generation in order of birth, the line of succession is interspersed with the children of each firstborn heir, then their children, too. That means, for example, that Prince William's youngest child Prince Louis could be king before either his uncle or great-uncle. All's fair in love and monarchy, we suppose.

To help you navigate the archaic tradition that has governed the succession of the British royal family for centuries (with only a few minor updates in recent years), here's an outline of the next 20 royals in line to be king or queen.

1. King Charles

King Charles

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First, of course, is Charles, who immediately began serving as king when Queen Elizabeth II passed away. As the first child of the reigning monarch, Charles was born into the role of king-to-be.

2. Prince William, Prince of Wales

Prince William, Prince of Wales

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As the firstborn child of the to-be-king, Prince William is next in line for the throne, followed by his kids with Kate Middleton. The family is so much more popular than Charles that it's been suggested that the crown could leapfrog right over William's dad to William and Kate, though this is extremely unlikely. Now that Queen Elizabeth has passed away, the prince has inherited his father's former title of Prince of Wales, but will only officially take it on once his father formally gives it to him.

3. Prince George of Wales

Prince George of Wales

(Image credit: RICHARD POHLE)

This 7-year-old's got a lot to look forward to: He could one day follow in his grandfather and father's footsteps to become king of the Commonwealth. If and when Prince George has children of his own, they'll jump in line right behind him.

4. Princess Charlotte of Wales

Princess Charlotte of Wales

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert)

Thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, which mandated that the line of succession be governed by absolute rather than male-preference primogeniture, Princess Charlotte is the first female member of her family not to have her younger brother leapfrog over her in the line of succession. Though our chances of seeing a Queen Charlotte take the throne are slim—especially since she will be leapfrogged over by George's kids—it could still happen for this sassy 5-year-old!

5. Prince Louis of Wales

Prince Louis of Wales

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

Rounding out the Wales' path to the throne is 2-year-old Prince Louis. As Prince William's third child, Louis was born into the primo position of being able to capitalize on all the perks of being a royal, but with an extremely tiny chance of ever having to take on the responsibility of becoming king, since he'll be superseded by both of his older siblings' kids.

6. Prince Harry

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

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The "spare" in the notorious term "a heir and a spare," Harry is William's younger brother and Prince Charles's youngest son. Though relatively high up in the line of succession, he's very unlikely to ever take the throne, considering both his decision to step away from his royal duties as well as the fact that all of William's children precede him in line.

7. Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

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The current youngest member of the line of succession is 21-month-old Archie. If by some unfathomable turn of events he ever actually becomes king, he would be the first British monarch born to an American parent—let alone a half-Black American parent—which also makes him the first royal who's eligible to run for president of the U.S. Where's our zany comedy movie about this?!

8. Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor

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Following Archie is his little sister, Lilibet ("Lili") Diana, named for both her grandmother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and her great-grandmother, the Queen.

9. Andrew, Duke of York

Andrew, Duke of York

(Image credit: Samir Hussein)

Finally, with all the firstborns out of the way, we return to Queen Elizabeth's children. Because they were born before the Succession to the Crown Act was implemented, Andrew jumps ahead of his older sister, Princess Anne. Still, it's incredibly unlikely that he'll ever become king, and even less so now that his public duties have been suspended amid investigations into his ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

10. Princess Beatrice of York

Princess Beatrice of York

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert)

The elder daughter of Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Beatrice is currently tenth in line for the throne, down from the comfortable fifth place she was born into in 1988. Any children she has with her new husband Edoardo Mozzi will immediately follow her in the line of succession.

11. Princess Eugenie of York

Princess Eugenie of York

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Unfortunately for Princess Eugenie and her newborn son, the 30-year-old's days among the first 10 members of the royal line of succession were numbered. Though she was born sixth in line, she was pushed 11th with the arrival of Harry and Meghan's second child—then even further should her older sister have any children. Primogeniture strikes again!

12. August Brooksbank

August Brooksbank

(Image credit: Instagram)

A new arrival to the line of succession: August Brooksbank, son of Princess Eugenie, who was born on February 9, 2021, pushing Prince Edward and his family down a notch in the royal line of succession. Pretty impressive for a newborn, right?

13. Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex

Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex

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Next up is Prince Edward, the youngest child of Prince Philip and the Queen. He's thought to be the closest to Prince Philip of any of the four direct descendants of the Queen.

14. James, Viscount Severn

James, Viscount Severn

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Directly following his dad, Prince Edward, is James, Viscount Severn, who is 13 years old. When he was born, he was in eighth place, but when Meghan gave birth to her second child with Harry, he dropped to number 14.

15. The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor 

The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor

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Next up is Lady Louise, James' older sister. You might remember her for being one of Kate Middleton's bridesmaids at her wedding to Prince William. She's 17 now!

16. Anne, Princess Royal

Anne, Princess Royal

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Princess Anne, known as the royal family's "trustiest anchor," is next, having carried out over 20,000 engagements. She's the only daughter of the Queen and Prince Philip.

17. Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips

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You might not have heard of him, but Peter Phillips is Anne, Princess Royal's oldest son. He was also the Queen and Prince Philip's first-ever grandchild.

18. Savannah Phillips

Savannah Phillips

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This absolute cutie is Savannah Phillips, born in 2010 as the first great-grandchild of Philip and the Queen. She's about to turn 11.

19. Isla Phillips

Isla Phillips

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert/Getty Images)

Also extremely adorable: Isla, Savannah's little sister. She's two years younger than Savannah.

20. Zara Tindall

Zara Tindall

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Coming in at number 20 is someone you might have heard of: Zara Tindall, the only daughter of Anne, Princess Royal and Mark Phillips. A famed equestrian, Zara married rugby player Mike Tindall in 2011.

Andrea Park

Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.