Last week, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, welcomed their first child. Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is the eighth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II. The baby alters the line of succession for Britain’s throne. This is not the first time the royal lineage has been changed—nor will it be the last.
The line to the throne is like a fluid game of leap frog. New births alter positions, as did the 300-year-old rule that Queen Elizabeth II changed in 2012. Before then, a boy would always leap ahead of a girl in line. The Queen deemed there should be no gender preference with regard to succession. Prince William’s daughter Princess Charlotte exemplifies the rule change. She is the first girl in line ahead of a younger brother.
Currently, 21 people are queued up for the throne. The son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, has been the first in line of succession since he was three years old.
Next is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. He is Prince Charles’ elder child. Following Prince William is his own firstborn, Prince George of Cambridge. (Often second- and third-born children move back in the line of succession.) Prince George is followed by his sister Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. William’s third child, Prince Louis of Cambridge, is fifth in line. His birth bumped his uncle Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (Prince Charles’ second son), to the sixth position in the royal line. Position number seven belongs to Master Archie. Royal children follow their parents in succession to the throne. That is why Prince Louis leaped ahead of his uncle Prince Harry, and why Master Archie follows directly behind his father, Prince Harry.
Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II’s second oldest son, now follows Master Archie in succession. He was seventh until Archie came on the scene. So now he takes eighth place, although at birth he was second. Prince Andrew’s daughters, his brother Prince Edward, and their respective children continue the line of succession. Whew!
Twenty-first in line is the Queen’s nephew, David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley. He completes the direct descendent line to the British throne—at least for now.
The birth of the Queen’s newest great-grandchild immediately impacted the royal lineup. The fact that the baby was a boy didn’t make the difference that it would have seven years ago. Back then, Master Archie would have leaped above his cousin Princess Charlotte on the list. For now, her position is secure, and so is his.
Britain’s line of succession to the throne is ordered intricately and purposefully. So was Jesus’ lineage, outlined in the New Testament. See Matthew 1:1-17.
(Queen Elizabeth II admires her newest great-grandchild, Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, while Prince Philip, left, Prince Harry, center, and Doria Ragland—Archie’s maternal grandmother—also look on. Photo: SussexRoyal via AP)