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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Where Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet are in the line of succession

There have been a number of updates and changes to the official line of succession since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022. This is the order in which members of the royal family inherit the throne.

The place of members of the royal family in the line of succession is determined by their closeness in blood to the monarch, currently King Charles III. When Elizabeth died, everyone in the line of succession moved one place closer to the throne, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children.

In March it was announced that Harry and Meghan’s children, Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor, would henceforth be known in official communications by their ‘birthright’ titles Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet of Sussex.

They could use these titles automatically when they became grandsons of the reigning monarch, which has been the case since September.

The announcement came with the information that Princess Lilibet had been christened in California, home of the Sussex family since Harry and Meghan’s split from the monarchy in 2020. Shortly after, the royal family’s website updated their titles on the official line of succession.

Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet are sixth and seventh in the line of succession to the British throne.

As grandsons of King Charles, the two are closely related by blood to the sovereign. This places them prominently in the order. The five royals ahead of Archie and Lilibet are: Prince Harry in fifth place; Prince Louis in fourth place; Princess Charlotte third; Prince George in second place; and Prince William first as heir to the throne.

Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and other royal spouses are not in line of succession because they are not blood relatives of the monarch.

Archie and Lilibet are so-called “heir presumptive” to the crown. This means that their positions in the line of succession may change as more members of the royal family are born. For example, if Prince George, Princess Charlotte or Prince Louis have children of their own, Prince Harry, Archie and Lilibet will move further away from the crown. It will make them less likely to ever become king or queen.

An heir apparent is a member of the royal family whose place in the line of succession cannot be replaced by royal birth. Prince William is the current heir to the throne. The only factor that could change his place in the line of succession would be his own death or the death of King Charles, in which case he would automatically be king himself.

Archie and Lilibet’s titles have changed in many ways since they were born.

At birth, the children were neither prince nor princess. They were great-grandchildren of the then monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1917, King George V established a new protocol governing who could be a prince or princess of the United Kingdom. He said that only the monarch’s children and grandchildren (born to male heirs) could be entitled to prince or princess titles of His Royal Highness (His/Her Royal Highness). This included the eldest son of the Prince of Wales’s eldest son.

In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II amended the protocol to include all children of the Prince of Wales’ eldest son. This was to create sibling equality (this is how Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have their titles in addition to their older brother Prince George).

As Archie and Lilibet were not the children of the Prince of Wales’ eldest son (Prince Harry was the second son of Charles and Princess Diana), they were not entitled to prince/princess titles.

This meant they were legally named a duke’s son and daughter, with Prince Harry receiving the duchy of Sussex and the county of Dumbarton upon his marriage in 2018.

As such, Archie was entitled to use the title Earl of Dumbarton and Lilibet was entitled to be known as Lady Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor. When Archie was born, however, it was announced that a decision had been made not to use a courtesy title. For all formal correspondence, Archie was known as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

The same form was retained when Lilibet was born and was officially known as Miss Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

When Elizabeth died, Archie and Lilibet became the grandchildren of the monarch Charles. As such, under the George V Protocols, they were entitled to their HRH Prince/Princess titles.

These were updated on the official line of succession as of March 9, 2023.

James Crawford-Smith is latestpagenews’s royal reporter in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and keep reading his stories news week‘s Facebook page of the royals.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their family that you would like our experienced Royal Correspondents to answer? Email royals@latestpagenews.com. We’d love to hear from you.

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