Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained

And yes—Harry and Archie are still in it.

royal family line of succession prince harry
Anwar HusseinGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1 Charles, Prince of Wales
london, november 13   prince charles, prince of wales poses for an official portrait to mark his 60th birthday, photo taken on november 13, 2008 in london, england photo by hugo burnand poolgetty images
PoolGetty Images

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
2 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
birmingham, england   december 07  prince william, the duke of cambridge attends the unveiling of the victoria cross commemorative paving stones representing each of birminghams 1st world war recepients at the hall of memory, centenary square on december 7, 2015 in birmingham, england ten stones were unveiled after a short service of memorial by the bishop of birmingham the rtrev david urquhart with speeches by the lord mayor of birmingham, councillor raymond hassall and brigadier anderton brown photo by richard stonehousegetty images
Richard StonehouseGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
3 Prince George of Cambridge
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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
4 Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
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!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
5 Prince Louis of Cambridge
Max Mumby/Indigo

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
6 Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
dublin, ireland   july 11  prince harry, duke of sussex visits croke park, home of irelands largest sporting organisation, the gaelic athletic association on july 11, 2018 in dublin, ireland  photo by samir husseinsamir husseinwireimage
Samir HusseinGetty Images

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, since all William's kids are ahead of him.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
7 Archie Mountbatten-Windsor
Pool/Samir Hussein

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?!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
8 Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor
london, england   october 15 prince harry, duke of sussex and meghan, duchess of sussex view a gift for their son archie as they attend the wellchild awards at royal lancaster hotel on october 15, 2019 in london, england photo by toby melville   wpa poolgetty images
WPA PoolGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
9 Andrew, Duke of York
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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
10 Princess Beatrice of York
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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
11 Princess Eugenie of York
Max Mumby/IndigoGetty Images

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!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
12 August Brooksbank
line of succession
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?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
13 Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex
earl of wessex
Dan MullanGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
14 James, Viscount Severn
line of succession
Pool/Samir HusseinGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
15 The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
the lady louise mountbattenwindsor
Pool/Samir HusseinGetty Images

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!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
16 Anne, Princess Royal
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
Chris JacksonGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
17 Peter Phillips
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
WPA PoolGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
18 Savannah Phillips
savannah phillips
Max Mumby/IndigoGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
19 Isla Phillips
isla phillips
Mark CuthbertGetty Images

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
20 Zara Tindall
zara tindall
Max Mumby/IndigoGetty Images

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below