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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s shocking exit from the royal family has left fans wondering who is considered senior members of the monarchy. It is widely speculated that senior royals are those in direct line to the throne — but does that include Prince William’s oldest, son, Prince George? Here’s a look at what Harry and Meghan’s exit means for the royal line of succession.

Prince George
Prince George of Cambridge | Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shock the world

Harry and Meghan upended the royal family when they announced their decision to step down on Instagram. The couple explained how they want to become financially independent from the royal family and set up a second base in North America.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” they shared.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex added that they will continue to support the monarchy. They also plan to keep up their charitable endeavors, mainly through their new organization, Sussex Royal.

It is unclear how the pair will finance everything, as most of their work has been paid for via Harry’s family. It will also be interesting to see how closely Harry and Meghan work with William and Kate Middleton, especially in light of their abrupt exit.

The couple’s note on social media was long, but it did not explain what will happen to the line of succession now that Harry is bowing out. It also raised questions about who is considered to be senior members of the royal family.

A look at the royal line of succession

As the oldest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Prince Charles is the first in line to the throne. Charles recently turned 71 years old and has waited longer than anyone to inherit the crown.

While Charles continues to wait for his turn at the head of the monarchy, Prince William is second in the royal line of succession. Once Charles takes the throne, William will likely be named the Prince of Wales and will take over his father’s duties at the Duchy of Cornwall.

Prince George, meanwhile, is third in line to the throne and will someday become the King of the United Kingdom (assuming everything goes as planned). Because George is in the direct line of succession, he is considered to be a part of the inner circle of royals.

But because Prince George is only six years old, it will be a long time before he starts taking on royal duties. Although Harry, who is sixth in line, is stepping down from his royal duties, he does not lose his place in the line of succession.

According to Oprah Magazine, it will take an act of Parliament to kick Prince Harry off the line of succession. While Harry will no longer be in the royal spotlight, he will remain sixth in line to the throne.

Inside Prince George’s historic portrait

As a senior member of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth included George in a historic portrait for the start of the new year.

The image, which was shared on social media, features Her Majesty posing alongside Charles, William, and George.

The photo was snapped by photographer Ranald Mackechnie inside the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth shared a similar photo in 2016, which also marked her 90th birthday.

What’s the fallout from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision?

Apart from Harry keeping his place in line to the throne, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not expected to lose any of their titles. In their statement, Harry and Meghan assured everyone that they will continue some of their duties to the crown, which should keep their titles intact.

As far as their house is concerned, Harry and Meghan plan on living inside Frogmore Cottage for the foreseeable future. On their official website, the couple says that they will remain in Windsor for as long as Queen Elizabeth gives them permission.

The pair added that all of the renovations to Frogmore Cottage were in the works long before they decided to move in. They also said that it would have cost the royal family more money to renovate Kensington Palace.

Prince Harry and Meghan have not revealed how they plan on funding their move to North America, though her connections in Hollywood will likely play a part in them gaining financial freedom.