The late Queen was known for wanting to modernise the monarchy in any way she could during her 70-year reign – and one of things she changed was the way in which her great-grandchildren were positioned in the line of succession.
Princess Charlotte made royal history when her younger brother, Prince Louis, was born in April 2018. At the time of her own birth in 2015, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was placed fourth in the royal line of succession. Her position followed her grandfather, father and elder brother, but upon the birth of Louis, the young royal’s place didn’t seem to change. Despite a past royal rule that would previously have led this to happen, Charlotte’s position remained the same – regardless of her younger sibling’s gender.
Royals such as Princess Anne and Lady Louise Windsor didn’t benefit from this role after it only came into place in 2013. Charlotte was the first female in the Royal Family to be affected by this significant alteration made by the late Queen. This rule has meant that Louis has not overtaken his elder sister in the royal line of succession – although this is only until Prince George has children of his own.
Prior to the change in the rule, Princess Anne was overtaken by her two younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. As of 2023, Anne sits at 17th in line to the throne. Andrew sits eighth in line – followed by his two daughters and three grandchildren – and Edward at 14th – followed by his two children. The historic rule, which was known as primogeniture, previously meant that any female heir would be overtaken by a younger brother. The new rule, which came into play five years prior to Louis’s birth, is explained on the Royal Family’s official website:”The Succession to the Crown Act (2013) amended the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement to end the system of male primogeniture, under which a younger son can displace an elder daughter in the line of succession.”
It added that this only applied to “those born after October 28, 2011”, meaning that Charlotte and Louis fall into this category. Because of the date that this rule came into play, it would have also affected if the Prince and Princess of Wales’s first child was female.
A younger brother wouldn’t have overruled them, and the child would have been second in line – regardless of gender – just like Prince George is. Following their grandfather ascending the throne last year, Charlotte is now in third place – meaning Prince Louis is fourth-in-line to the throne.