Next in Line: British Royal Family Order of Succession in Pictures

Zara Tindall, Anne, Princess Royal, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Charles, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II Prince Philip, Duke of EdinburghGetty Images
Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle when she marries Prince Harry on Saturday. There had been much speculation over who would perform the role after her father, Thomas Markle, pulled out due to poor health.Getty Images

The order of succession to the British throne is the sequence in which members of the Royal Family would come to the throne if the reigning monarch died or abdicated. In other words, if and when Queen Elizabeth dies, it's already established who becomes the next sovereign. And when that happens, each person in the line of succession moves up a spot.  

Traditionally, males came before females in the line of succession. A boy would always leapfrog an older sister. Before the current queen came to the throne in 1952 she was the “heir presumptive”: had her mother died and her father King George VI remarried and had a son, that boy would have taken Elizabeth's place in the line of succession. Until the day King George died, Princess Elizabeth was “presumed” to be the heir—but could have been pushed aside by a brother. Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Charles, by contrast, is the “heir apparent”: no one could squeeze between him and the throne.

However, the Succession to the Crown Act came into force in March 2015. It ended the system of male-preference primogeniture and moved to absolute primogeniture, so that for children born after October 28, 2011, the succession is determined only by age, not gender. This change came too late for Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, the daughter of Prince Edward who remains one place behind her younger brother. But the new law did take effect in time to keep Princess Charlotte, the 3-year-old daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton—the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—ahead of her new little brother Prince Louis Arthur Charles in the line of succession. If William and Kate have more children, each will fall behind Louis. But all of William's children take precedence over Prince Harry.

When Harry was born he was third in line to the throne behind his older brother Prince William and his father, Prince Charles. Now William's three children have pushed Harry back to sixth. Where will any children of Harry and Meghan Markle fall in the line of succession? They will come immediately behind Harry in the order of their birth—regardless of gender. And Prince Harry's children, in turn, push back Prince Andrew and his two daughters, Prince Edward and his son and daughter, and Princess Anne and her two children (and their children).

Here are the 25 people in line of succession to the throne:

  • Prince Charles, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II
  • Prince William, eldest son of Prince Charles
  • Prince George, eldest child of Prince William
  • Princess Charlotte, second child of Prince William
  • Prince Louis, third child of Prince William
  • Prince Harry, younger son of Prince Charles
  • Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth
  • Princess Beatrice, eldest child of Prince Andrew
  • Princess Eugenie, younger child of Prince Andrew
  • Prince Edward, third son of Queen Elizabeth
  • James, Viscount Severn, Prince Edward's son
  • Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince Edward's daughter
  • Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth's daughter (older than Andrew and Edward, but superceded by them)
  • Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne
  • Savannah Phillips, older daughter of Peter Phillips
  • Isla Phillips, younger daughter of Peter Phillips
  • Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne
  • Mia Tindall, daughter of Zara Tindall
  • (Zara Tindall is expecting a second child; regardless of gender, that child will rank behind older sister Mia in the line of succession)
  • David Armstrong Jones, Earl of Snowden, son of Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth
  • Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, the Earl of Snowden's son
  • Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, daughter of the Earl of Snowden
  • Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret
  • Samuel Chatto, older son of Lady Sarah
  • Arthur Chatto, younger son of Lady Sarah
Second in line to the throne: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (William Arthur Philip Louis, born June 21, 1982). First son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
Third in line to the throne: Prince George of Cambridge (George Alexander Louis, born July 22, 2013). Son of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
Fourth in line to the throne: Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, born May 2, 2015). Daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Great-granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
Fifth in line for the throne: Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge, third child of Prince William and Kate (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge); great-grandson of Queen ElizabethChris Jackson/Getty Images
Sixth in line to the throne: Prince Harry of Wales (Henry Charles Albert David, born September 15, 1984). Second son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.Getty Images
Seventh in line to the throne: Prince Andrew, Duke of York (Andrew Albert Christian Edward, born February 19, 1960). Second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.Reuters
Eighth in line to the throne: Princess Beatrice of York (Beatrice Elizabeth Mary, born August 8, 1988). First daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
Ninth in line to the throne: Princess Eugenie of York (Eugenie Victoria Helena, born March 23, 1990). Second daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
Tenth in line to the throne: Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (Edward Antony Richard Louis, born March 10, 1964). Third son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.Getty Images
Eleventh in line to the throne: James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn (James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor, born December 17, 2007). Son of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Youngest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
12th in line to the throne: Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor, born November 8, 2003). Daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. She ranks below her younger brother in the order of succession. Getty Images
13th in line to the throne: Princess Anne, Princess Royal (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, born August 15, 1950). Daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.Getty Images

The order of succession to the British throne is the sequence in which members of the Royal Family would come to the throne if the reigning monarch died or abdicated. In other words, if and when Queen Elizabeth dies, it's already established who becomes the next sovereign. And when that happens, each person in the line of succession moves up a spot.  

Traditionally, males came before females in the line of succession. A boy would always leapfrog an older sister. Before the current queen came to the throne in 1952 she was the “heir presumptive”: had her mother died and her father King George VI remarried and had a son, that boy would have taken Elizabeth's place in the line of succession. Until the day King George died, Princess Elizabeth was “presumed” to be the heir—but could have been pushed aside by a brother. Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Charles, by contrast, is the “heir apparent”: no one could squeeze between him and the throne.

However, the Succession to the Crown Act came into force in March 2015. It ended the system of male-preference primogeniture and moved to absolute primogeniture, so that for children born after October 28, 2011, the succession is determined only by age, not gender. This change came too late for Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, the daughter of Prince Edward who remains one place behind her younger brother. But the new law did take effect in time to keep Princess Charlotte, the 3-year-old daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton—the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—ahead of her new little brother Prince Louis Arthur Charles in the line of succession. If William and Kate have more children, each will fall behind Louis. But all of William's children take precedence over Prince Harry.

When Harry was born he was third in line to the throne behind his older brother Prince William and his father, Prince Charles. Now William's three children have pushed Harry back to sixth. Where will any children of Harry and Meghan Markle fall in the line of succession? They will come immediately behind Harry in the order of their birth—regardless of gender. And Prince Harry's children, in turn, push back Prince Andrew and his two daughters, Prince Edward and his son and daughter, and Princess Anne and her two children (and their children).

Here are the 25 people in line of succession to the throne:

  • Prince Charles, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II
  • Prince William, eldest son of Prince Charles
  • Prince George, eldest child of Prince William
  • Princess Charlotte, second child of Prince William
  • Prince Louis, third child of Prince William
  • Prince Harry, younger son of Prince Charles
  • Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth
  • Princess Beatrice, eldest child of Prince Andrew
  • Princess Eugenie, younger child of Prince Andrew
  • Prince Edward, third son of Queen Elizabeth
  • James, Viscount Severn, Prince Edward's son
  • Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince Edward's daughter
  • Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth's daughter (older than Andrew and Edward, but superceded by them)
  • Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne
  • Savannah Phillips, older daughter of Peter Phillips
  • Isla Phillips, younger daughter of Peter Phillips
  • Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne
  • Mia Tindall, daughter of Zara Tindall
  • (Zara Tindall is expecting a second child; regardless of gender, that child will rank behind older sister Mia in the line of succession)
  • David Armstrong Jones, Earl of Snowden, son of Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth
  • Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, the Earl of Snowden's son
  • Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, daughter of the Earl of Snowden
  • Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret
  • Samuel Chatto, older son of Lady Sarah
  • Arthur Chatto, younger son of Lady Sarah