Queen Elizabeth II was the firstborn daughter of Queen Elizabeth the First, also known as the Queen Mother. Still, due to archaic royal rules, there was a chance that she wouldn’t inherit the throne at all.
Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / Christopher Neve
As was stated in the Act of Settlement of 1701, younger male heirs were to succeed the throne, even if there were female children born before them. So even if Queen Elizabeth had been born first, if her mother had given birth to a brother, he would automatically be the heir to the throne.
That means if Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, had been a prince, we wouldn’t have a Queen Elizabeth today at all.
Knowing this, the Queen overwrote the provisions of the Act of Settlement and replaced it with the Succession of the Crown Act, which brought an end to male primogeniture. First written in 2013, it was officially instated in 2015, merely two months before the royal family was blessed with Princess Charlotte’s.
Now, even if Charlotte becomes a big sister to a little prince in the future, she will still be the fourth in line to succeed the British throne.
Take Queen Elizabeth II’s children, for example Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Before Andrew and Edward were born, Anne was third in the line of succession, after her mother and Prince Charles. However, due to the Act of Settlement, she ended up fifth in line after her brothers were born.
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, and in the event of her passing, she is to be succeeded by her son, Prince Charles. Seeing as Prince Charles is already 68 years old, his son Prince William might soon succeed him.
Princess Charlotte’s position as the fourth in line doesn’t mean that she’ll automatically be Queen if the three before her cannot ascend the throne for some reason; they might still produce heirs in the future. However, she at least won’t have to worry about her place on the line of succession being usurped by an upstart baby brother.