By now, you may have heard that Kate Middleton is pregnant with her third child, which means the royal family will be welcoming yet another heir. The news has fans, casual and dedicated, asking a lot of questions, however — especially about the changes in the line of succession. But don't worry: regardless of baby's gender, Princess Charlotte will still be fourth in line for the throne.
Thanks to a law put in place back in 2015, even a baby boy can't usurp Charlotte's spot. Before the change, a now-defunct 1701 statute dictated that the first-born son of a monarch would inherit the crown, and only if a monarch had no male heirs — as was the case for Queen Elizabeth II's father, George VI — could the throne be passed to a daughter. It also meant that gender took precedence over age, so, if Charlotte got a younger brother, he would have preceded her in the royal line of succession.
But shortly after Prince William and Middleton married in 2011, a new law was introduced that gives any daughter of a future U.K. monarch equal right to the throne. According to Fortune, it was approved by the U.K. Parliament and all 16 Commonwealth countries where Queen Elizabeth is head of state, and took effect four years later.
"The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man... is at odds with the modern countries that we have become," then-U.K. prime minster David Cameron said at the time of the law's passage, per BBC News.
Now, though, Charlotte's spot in line is safe and secure, as are those of the women that follow her. It's long overdue, but that's a change worth celebrating.