The Royal Family Line Of Succession, Explained

Here’s what King Charles’ coronation means for the future of the British monarchy.

by Sophie McEvoy
Originally Published: 
King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William, and Kate Middleton at a royal event.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images News/Getty Images

On Sept. 8, 2022, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II had died. As the Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles was the heir to the throne and became King. At the time, Buckingham Palace released a statement “from His Majesty The King” that read: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and members of my family.” With the coronation of King Charles III upon us, royal spectators might be wondering what the British monarchy will look like without their long-reigning Queen, and what Charles’ ascension to the throne means for the royal family’s line of succession.

Now that his father is King, Prince William is the heir to the throne. The line of succession continues with William’s first-born child, Prince George of Cambridge, who is second in line. After that comes Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, followed by Prince Louis of Cambridge. Prince Harry is fifth in line, and Harry’s children, Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, are sixth and seventh in line, respectively.

To ensure a seamless transition from monarch to monarch, a detailed step-by-step plan is in place, codenamed “Operation London Bridge.” Politico published a story about this plan prior to the Queen’s passing, reporting that Charles would ascend to the throne as King Charles III as soon as Queen Elizabeth II’s death was confirmed, and that the Ascension Council's proclamation would confirm succession on the following day. On Sept. 10, 2022, Charles was formally proclaimed king during a ceremony at St. James’ Palace.

When Will King Charles III Be Crowned?

King Charles was crowned in a formal coronation at Westminster Abbey alongside his wife, Camilla, Queen Consort, on Saturday, May 6, 2023. “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,” a statement from Buckingham Palace reads.

The landmark royal ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by an esteemed lineup of guests, including senior members of the royal family such as the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Sussex, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward. In April 2023, it was confirmed that Meghan Markle “will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet” on the day of the ceremony.

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