Here’s What Will Happen To Princess Charlotte When William Is King

Princess Charlotte, the second child and only daughter of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, just celebrated her sixth birthday. By all accounts, she’s a happy and outgoing girl who doesn’t fully realize that her father will one day become King of England. She also doesn’t realize that among her royal privileges is the right to be called by certain titles, both now and after her grandfather and father become king.

When it comes to the royal line of succession, it pays to be first. Until very recently, the first son of a king or queen was designated as the heir to the throne, even if the firstborn child was a daughter. If a monarch had only daughters, the older one would inherit the crown – as was the case when Queen Elizabeth II ascended following the death of her father, George VI. The laws of succession were changed in 2013; now any firstborn child of the reigning monarch is eligible to take the throne, regardless of gender (via Insider).

By those laws, Prince Charles will take the throne after the queen dies. Following him will be his first son, Prince William. From there, the crown will pass to his first child, Prince George. Princess Charlotte is currently fourth in line to the throne, but that will change if George has children of his own. George’s firstborn would be the next monarch, dropping Charlotte into fifth place; any subsequent children will put her still farther down.

Charlotte could become a duchess, but probably not queen

Is it possible we might see this little girl grow to become Queen Charlotte? Yes – though it’s highly improbable. In order to move into the top spot, her big brother George would have to abdicate the throne and let his sister take over. It’s not an unprecedented move; Queen Elizabeth is the current monarch because her uncle, King Edward VIII, passed the honor over to her father, George VI.  But it’s more likely that Charlotte will acquire a batch of new titles when the family line undergoes its next shifts.

As The Things Celebrity explains on its YouTube channel, Charlotte is currently known as Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. (Try writing that on a school paper!) When her grandfather Charles becomes king, she will become Princess Charlotte of Cornwall and Cambridge, and then when William is elevated to Prince of Wales, she’ll become Charlotte of Wales. Her brothers will become George and Louis of Wales. After William ascends to the throne, big brother George will become Prince of Wales, but Charlotte and George won’t change titles unless their father decides otherwise.

As William’s firstborn daughter (there’s that “first” again!), Charlotte might be designated Princess Royal once William is king, if her great-aunt Princess Anne has died by then. (Princess Anne currently holds that title, which is given for the duration of her life.) But William may decide to hold off on a new title until Charlotte gets married, and give her a duchess title instead, as his grandmother did when he married Kate Middleton (via Celebrity Cheat Sheet).

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