When the former Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, became the new sovereign of England, King Charles III, in 2022, the line of succession to the British throne was affected, and it had to be updated in respect of the new monarch and what these changes meant for all the subsequent heirs to the throne. 

Prince George & The Line Of Succession

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her son Charles ascended to the throne, and his son William became the new Prince of Wales and the new heir to the throne. 

As a result of these changes, Prince William’s eldest son, Prince George, took on a new position in the line of succession and a new role as the son of the heir to the British crown – a role that ultimately positions him as a future king. 

Prince George meeting Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at Kensington Palace in 2016
Prince George meeting Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at Kensington Palace in 2016 – Pete Souza, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The current top ten positions in the line of succession, with King Charles III on the throne, is as follows: 

  • 1st in line to the throne: Prince William, Prince of Wales
  • 2nd in line: Prince George of Wales, 
  • 3rd in line: Princess Charlotte of Wales
  • 4th in line: Prince Louis of Wales
  • 5th in line: The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry) 
  • 6th in line: Prince Archie of Sussex (Prince Harry’s son) 
  • 7th in line: Princess Lilibet of Sussex (Prince Harry’s daughter) 
  • 8th in line: The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) 
  • 9th in line: Princess Beatrice (Prince Andrew’s daughter) 
  • 10th in line: Miss Sienna Mapelli Mozilla (Princess Beatrice’s daughter)

With this line of succession to the crown, Prince George is second only to his father. This makes it very likely that he will one day be king. 

Who Will Rule After Prince George? 

While there are no guarantees that the line of succession will play out as expected, assuming it does, and Prince George inherits the crown from his father William, who will be next in line for the throne?

As things stand, Princess Charlotte is the next in line. And if her older brother dies (or is otherwise unable to rule) without heirs, she will become Queen Charlotte. 

This is a historic turn of events in terms of the British monarchy because in past generations, the throne would have gone not to Princess Charlotte, but instead to her younger brother Prince Louis. 

This was because the royal tradition has long been for male heirs to take precedence in the order of succession. 

However, this ancient law was changed in 2013, when the current Princess of Wales was expecting her first baby. If that baby had been a girl, she would have made history by being the first female heir to the throne to be affected by the new ruling. As it was a boy, there was no effect – until Princess Charlotte was born. 

Even though Princess Charlotte has already made history by not losing her place in the line of succession to a younger brother, it’s still possible that she may not be queen. In fact, it is more than likely that she will never be queen.

This is because the line of succession will change if Prince George has children of his own. Given that he is likely to become king, and given that the royal tradition is to produce children as heirs to the throne, it’s highly likely that Prince George will marry one day and have his own family. 

If and when he does, those children will become the new heirs to the throne, taking precedence over their aunt, Princess Charlotte. 

This is a similar scenario to the position of Princess Anne in the line of succession. 

Princess Anne is the sister of the king, yet has no strong claim to the throne or likelihood of ruling, partly because she has younger brothers (and was born before the Succession to the Crown Act was made law), but also because her brother the king has two sons, the eldest of which has three children. 

These children have, one by one, reduced her chances of ever becoming queen. 

For every member of the royal family who features in the line of succession, their place and position drop down the order with the arrival of new children to heirs and to their consecutive heirs.  

Why Might Prince George Not Be King? 

Though it seems highly likely that Prince George would be king one day, there are a number of scenarios that might mean he doesn’t inherit the crown. 

One scenario is if he does not survive his father. 

As tragic as it may be, some royal children and heirs do not live to inherit the crown that was destined to be their birthright. 

For reasons such as ill-health, tragic accidents or suicide, heirs to the throne are no more guaranteed to live long and healthy lives as any other human. 

Of course, life within royal protection, the grooming to be king, and the precautions taken in view of his role mean that he perhaps has a greater chance than many of outliving his father. 

But if he did not, this would be one reason why he never became king – assuming Williman becomes king and remains on the throne up to his death. 

Another potential scenario would be if Prince George was deemed to be ‘unfit to rule’. 

In the past, there have been numerous royal heirs that have not had the mental or physical capacity to take on the role of king or queen. 

In such cases, the crown has often passed to stronger or more capable siblings. 

Again, this scenario is unlikely as Prince George is already shaping up to be a fine example of a high-ranking royal, and there’s no reason to suspect he may not be suitable for the role of king that’s intended for him. 

Finally, it’s possible (though again, unlikely) that Prince George may refuse the crown. He may follow in the footsteps of his uncle, Prince Harry, and step away from royal duties, or his great-great-great-uncle, King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, who abdicated the throne in order to marry the woman he loved. 

Only time will tell which of the above scenarios will play out in reality. Yet, in all likelihood, the world can confidently expect to see Prince George ascend to the British throne, and there’s every reason to believe he will make an excellent King of England.