Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained

And yes—Harry and Archie are still in it.

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With nearly 70 years as queen under her belt and seemingly no plans to retire or slow down any time soon, it'll likely be a while before we see Queen Elizabeth II replaced with a new monarch. Still, all reigning eras must come to an end, so there will eventually come a day when a new queen or, more likely, king takes the throne. And while the line of succession starts off straightforwardly enough—Elizabeth's firstborn, Prince Charles, is next up to rule the Commonwealth—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 2-year-old son Prince Louis could be king before either his uncle or great-uncle—the latter of whom will soon be pushed to the ninth slot in line after the upcoming arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's second child. All's fair in love and monarchy!

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 10 royals in line to be king or queen.

london, england   october 22 prince charles, prince of wales seen during his meeting with iraqi prime minister mustafa al kadhimi at clarence house on october 22, 2020 in london, england photo by victoria jones   wpa poolgetty images
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Charles, Prince of Wales

Since finding himself first in line for the throne shortly after his third birthday, 72-year-old Prince Charles has become the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history—a record he set a decade ago and will probably keep stretching for quite some time, judging by his mother's continued good health and high spirits.

belfast, northern ireland   september 09  prince william, duke of cambridge during a visit to the crs at cave hill country park as part of his tour of belfast on september 9, 2020 in belfast, northern ireland photo by brian lawless   wpa poolgetty images
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William, Duke of Cambridge

Next up is Charles and Princess Diana's firstborn, Prince William. The 38-year-old has been second in line since birth. If William ends up becoming king, his wife will technically be titled queen consort, but you can still call her Queen Kate.

topshot   britains prince george c accompanied by britains prince william l, duke of cambridge arrives for his first day of school at thomass school where he is met by helen haslem r head of the lower school in southwest london on september 7, 2017 photo by richard pohle  pool  afp photo by richard pohlepoolafp via getty images
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Prince George of Cambridge

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.

kings lynn, england   december 25  princess charlotte of cambridge attempts a curtsey to the queen at the christmas day church service at church of st mary magdalene on the sandringham estate on december 25, 2019 in kings lynn, united kingdom photo by mark cuthbertuk press via getty images
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Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

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!

london, united kingdom   june 08 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 24 hours after create date and time catherine, duchess of cambridge and prince louis of cambridge watch a flypast from the balcony of buckingham palace during trooping the colour, the queens annual birthday parade, on june 8, 2019 in london, england the annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of king charles ii the parade marks the official birthday of the sovereign, although the queens actual birthday is on april 21st photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
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Prince Louis of Cambridge

Rounding out the Cambridges' 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.

london, england   february 28 prince harry, duke of sussex speaks with members of the invictus games choir at abbey road studios, where a single has been recorded for the invictus games foundation on february 28, 2020 in london, england  photo by hannah mckay   wpa pool  gettyimages
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Harry, Duke of Sussex

After working through each firstborn royal's family, we go back a step and work through their younger siblings. That brings us to Prince Harry, who was born third in line to the throne but has been steadily displaced by his nephews and niece, and whose decision to step back as a working royal has not impacted his position as an heir to the throne.

cape town, south africa   september 25 prince harry, duke of sussex, meghan, duchess of sussex and their baby son archie mountbatten windsor meet archbishop desmond tutu and his daughter thandeka tutu gxashe at the desmond  leah tutu legacy foundation during their royal tour of south africa on september 25, 2019 in cape town, south africa photo by poolsamir husseinwireimage
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Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

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?!

london, england   june 04  prince andrew, duke of york attends the founders day parade at royal hospital chelsea on june 4, 2015 in london, england at royal hospital chelsea on june 4, 2015 in london, england  photo by samir husseinwireimage
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Andrew, Duke of York

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.

london, england   june 08 princess beatrice during trooping the colour, the queens annual birthday parade, on june 8, 2019 in london, england photo by mark cuthbertuk press via getty images
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Princess Beatrice of York

The elder daughter of Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Beatrice is currently ninth 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.

ascot, united kingdom   june 20 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 24 hours after create date and time princess eugenie attends day three, ladies day, of royal ascot at ascot racecourse on june 20, 2019 in ascot, england photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
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Princess Eugenie of York

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 are numbered. Though she was born sixth in line, she'll soon be pushed to 11th with the upcoming arrival of Harry and Meghan's second child—then even further should her older sister have any children. Primogeniture strikes again!

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August Brooksbank

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?

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The Earl of Wessex

Just out of the top 10—and soon to fall further—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.

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James, Viscount Severn

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 gives birth to her second child with Harry, he'll drop to number 14.

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The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor

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!

portsmouth, england   december 07  her royal highness the princess royal attends the commissioning ceremony of hms queen elizabeth at hm naval base on december 7, 2017 in portsmouth, england  photo by chris jacksongetty images
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Anne, Princess Royal

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.

london, england   january 14  peter phillips poses for a photo on the mall where 10,000 guests will attend the patron's lunch to be held on june 12, 2016, which will celebrate his grandmother, her majesty queen elizabeth ii's patronage of more than 600 charities and organisation, on the occasion of her 90th birthday on january 14, 2016 in london, england  photo by john nguyen   wpa poolgetty images
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Peter Phillips

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.

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Savannah Phillips

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.

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Isla Phillips

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

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Zara Tindall

Coming in at number 19 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.

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