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Britain's line of succession: Where does the new royal baby fall in line to the throne?

Meghan Markle gives birth to baby boy
It's a boy! Meghan Markle gives birth to royal baby 05:26

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have welcomed their new baby boy, who was born early Monday morning. He comes into the royal family seventh in line for the throne. The baby, whose name has not yet been announced, is Queen Elizabeth's eighth great-grandchild, but he bumps some older cousins — as well as great-uncles and aunts — in the line of succession to the throne.

It's a familiar tale for second- and third-born children as they move further and further back in the line of succession — something new dad Harry has experienced himself.

Here's a breakdown of how Britain's line of succession works:

Who is ahead of the new prince?

The line of succession in Britain is a direct line. First in line for the throne is Queen Elizabeth's eldest son, Prince Charles; second in line is Charles's oldest son, Prince William; and third in line is William's oldest son, Prince George. Since George is not yet 6 years old and has no children, his sister Princess Charlotte, 4, follows at fourth in line, and youngest sibling Prince Louis, 1, is fifth.

Louis' birth in 2017 put Harry at sixth in line for the throne, and Harry and Meghan's new baby is now seventh.

Queen Elizabeth changed the 300-year-old rules in 2012, ahead of Prince George's birth, so there is no longer a preference for boys over girls, which is why Charlotte is now ahead of her younger brother. It was different a generation ago for the Queen's own children — her second-born, Anne, and Anne's children and grandchildren, follow Anne's younger brothers and their families.

Who now follows a newborn in the line of succession?

The baby has pushed back Prince Andrew, the queen's second-oldest son, who will now be eighth in line for the throne. When he was born, he was second in line. During his time as a tabloid favorite in the 1980s during his marriage to Sarah Ferguson, or Fergie, he was fourth in line for the throne.

Following Andrew are his and Sarah's daughters: Princess Beatrice is now ninth and the recently-married Princess Eugenie is tenth.

Next in line is Queen Elizabeth's youngest child, Prince Edward. Since his two children were born before Queen Elizabeth changed the rules to equalize boys and girls, his 11-year-old son James, Viscount Severn, is 12th in line for the throne and his 16-year-old daughter, Lady Louise, is 13th.

The last of Elizabeth's children in the line of succession is her second-born, Anne, Princess Royal, who is now 14th in line for the throne. Anne's son, Peter Phillips, is 15th in line. Following Peter are his two young daughters, 8-year-old Savannah is 16th and 7-year-old Isla is 17th in line for the throne.

Peter's sister, Zara Tindall, is 18th and her daughters —5-year-old Mia, and Lena, who will turn 1 in June — are 19th and 20th.

Those are all of the direct descendants of Queen Elizabeth. Twenty-first in line for the throne is Elizabeth's nephew, David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley — the son of the queen's late sister, Princess Margaret.

Why do some of the Queen's children and grandchildren have titles while others don't?

In some instances, it comes down to personal preference. Anne, Princess Royal, and her now ex-husband, Captain Mark Phillips, chose not to take titles when they married or for their children. Peter and Zara's children then do not have titles.

As for whether the new royal baby will have a title, all signs point to yes. Harry and Meghan took titles when they got married — they are now officially the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But the baby may need a special decree from Queen Elizabeth to be styled as a prince or princess. According to BBC News, the rules previously stated the title prince or princess only extended down to the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (currently Prince George). Queen Elizabeth changed the rules in 2012 ahead of George's birth so that all of his children would be princes or princesses.

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