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. The line is identical in all other 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.
In the 2011 Perth Agreement, the heads of government of all 16 Commonwealth realms agreed to take the appropriate steps in their respective countries to adopt absolute primogeniture, end the exclusion of people married to Roman Catholics, and limit the requirement for those in line to seek the permission of the monarch to marry. The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 in Britain and equivalent Acts in many other Commonwealth realms have been passed, but these changes will not take effect in any realm until all the realms are ready to implement the change simultaneously.
In the United Kingdom, the line of succession is also used to select Counsellors of State (and a regent if the need arises) under the provisions of the Regency Act 1937.
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 the two 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.
Line of succession
The list below of persons in line of succession to the present Queen is limited to the Queen's descendants (numbered 1 to 16) and others in the nearest collateral lines, namely, the other eligible descendants of the sons of George V (numbered 17 to 51). 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 such as births and deaths.
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 9 August 2013): "The Line of Succession to the British Throne" W listed by Whitaker's Almanack 2013, London: Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-4081-7207-0, p. 21 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.
- List of heirs to the British throne
- List of heirs to the English throne
- List of heirs of Scotland
- List of monarchs in the British Isles
- British prince
- British princess
- House of Windsor
- Royal house
- Jacobite succession
- 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.