For the main explanatory article, and members of European dynasties in remoter lines of succession, see Succession to the British throne.

The line of succession to the British throne is the ordered sequence of all those people eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other 15 Commonwealth realms. The Act of Settlement 1701 bestowed succession on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her descendants while excluding Roman Catholics. The British government does not publish an official list of all those in line to succeed, but the work of genealogical authors and amateur researchers suggests that there are several thousand people potentially in line. At a summit in Perth, Western Australia in 2011, the heads of government of all 16 Commonwealth realms agreed to take steps to adopt absolute primogeniture, end the exclusion of people married to Roman Catholics, and make other changes in the succession rules.

The line of succession is also used to select the Counsellors of State (and a regent if the need arises) under the provisions of the Regency Act 1937.

For earlier versions of the line of succession, see History of the British line of succession.


The right of succession is regulated by the Act of Settlement 1701, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 and common law. The succession is ordered by male-preference cognatic primogeniture. An individual is in the line of succession if all of the following requirements are met:

  • He or she is a legitimate descendant of legitimate line from the Electress Sophia of Hanover. Legitimised children remain ineligible.
  • He or she has never been a Roman Catholic and has never married a Roman Catholic.

At the time of accession to the throne, any heir must enter into communion with the Church of England.

Line of succession

The list below is limited to the present Queen's direct descendants (numbered 1 to 14) and others in the nearest collateral lines, namely, the other eligible descendants of the sons of George V (numbered 15 to 48). Persons shown who are not in line to the throne are in italics.

No official, complete, version of the line of succession is currently maintained. Any person's actual position in the line of succession may change as a result of events including births, deaths or marriages of others. For example, any child born in wedlock to the Duke of Cambridge (listed as second in line) would precede all those now listed after the Duke.

Notes and sources:

XC Excluded as Roman Catholics. This exclusion will not be affected by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. MC These people were excluded through marriage to a Roman Catholic. This exclusion is repealed under s. 2(2) of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, restoring them to the line of succession once it comes into effect. B listed by the official website of the British Monarchy, "Succession" D listed on Debrett's website (as of 27 September 2012): "The Line of Succession to the British Throne" W listed by Whitaker's Almanack 2011, London: A. C. Black, ISBN 978-1-4081-2848-0, p. 25 D88 Listed by Debretts (1988). 1952 Succession as published on the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952

The line of succession continues with the eligible descendants of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, only daughter of George V, followed by the other eligible descendants of Edward VII and earlier British monarchs, back to George I (the line is limited to Sophia of Hanover's descendants, of whom all alive today are also George I's descendants). The last person in line (which runs into thousands) was reported in 2011 to be Karin Vogel (born 1973) from Rostock, Germany.

See also

  • List of heirs to the British throne
  • List of heirs to the English throne
  • List of heirs to the Scottish throne
  • List of monarchs in the British Isles
  • British prince
  • British princess
  • British Overseas Territories
  • Crown dependencies
  • House of Windsor
  • Royal house (dynasty)
  • David Lewis, "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2011". A list of 5753 descendants of Princess Sophia in order of succession, but disregarding Roman Catholic status.
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