Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has been planning for her succession for some time. Members of the royal family, including King Charles III, who up until Thursday was the longest-serving heir in British history, have increased their responsibilities as the queen’s health declined.
Who will inherit the throne now that Queen Elizabeth has died?
Charles, as the queen’s eldest son, inherited the sovereign title and job as head of the Commonwealth, along with other assets such as land and property.
The royal line of succession to the British throne
In the past, the queen expressed desire for Charles to take over the Commonwealth. “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said in 2018 after he was unanimously voted to be the next head.
Who is Charles, Prince of Wales?
Charles, 73, has waited decades to become king and is the longest-serving heir in British history. He is the eldest of four children born to the queen and her late husband, Prince Philip. When his mother assumed the throne at age 25, he became Britain’s heir apparent at age 3. Charles’s titles include Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay and Earl of Carrick.
Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981, and the couple became known as the Prince and Princess of Wales. They had two children, Princes William and Harry. Charles and Diana separated in 1992. Following Diana’s death in 1997, Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, now known as the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.
Charles has long campaigned for a better environment, championing global sustainability in speeches over the years. His work includes expanding education and opportunities for young people in the United Kingdom.
Will he be King Charles III?
Not necessarily. His full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, so he could select any of those as his regnal title. This means that Britain’s next monarch might not go by the name of Charles, or he could decide he wants to be referred to as King Philip or King Arthur.
Does that mean Camilla will be queen?
Usually, the wife of a king assumes the title of queen, however in Camilla’s case, this hasn’t been a given.
An agreement was made in 2005, at the time of Charles and Camilla’s wedding, that she would not be known as queen but as princess consort — although now that he is king, Charles could change her title to queen if he wishes. More recently, however, in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne in February, Queen Elizabeth II said she wanted Camilla to be known as queen consort when Charles became king. Charles thanked his mother, saying he was “deeply conscious of the honour” for his “darling” wife.
As Andrew is so far down the line of succession it is unlikely he would ever be king. Further, British media has long reported that Charles is mulling the idea of a slim-downed monarchy and will likely reduce the number of family members considered senior royals — which could mean Andrew’s role is cut.
How does the order of succession change?
The line of succession is fluid, and the sequence often changes. Royals can move up or down a place whenever a member dies, abdicates or when a new baby is born.
As the eldest son of Charles and the late Princess Diana, William is now first in line to the British throne and is expected to one day become king. This will only happen when Charles dies or if he retires or abdicates and chooses to pass the crown to his son.
When the time comes for William to be crowned king, his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will become queen consort. Their firstborn child, George, will likely inherit his father’s dukedoms.
How will William’s life change once Charles is king?
William is expected to inherit the title Duke of Cornwall, which is one of many held by Charles.
On becoming the Duke of Cornwall, William will inherit the Duchy of Cornwall (an estate of 150,000 acres, with a yearly income of around 20 million pounds ($27 million).
Could a toddler become king or queen?
Half of the royals waiting in line to the throne are children. Prince George, age 9, is second in line to the throne after his father.
Regulation states that a person of any age can become monarch, but children are not permitted to carry out duties until they reach the age of 18. Therefore, if it came to it, George would serve as a “symbolic” king until he is considered an adult, with a prince or princess regent who is in line and over the age of 18 ruling in his place.