This Loophole Could Have Led to Princess Anne Being Queen

It’s pretty safe to say that Queen Elizabeth II is beloved around the world. She has become a beacon of style and grace that people have been able to look up to for generations. But, unfortunately, even the Queen can’t retain her position forever. Eventually, someone will have to ascend and take her place.

Princess Anne
Princess Anne, Princess Royal | Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Right now, first in line for the crown is her oldest son, Prince Charles. But the rest of the order is where things get blurry. There is one person in the Queen’s family who’s position in the order of succession hasn’t always been clear and that’s Princess Anne.

The Queen’s children

Though Prince Charles is in the news most often as he is the one closest in line for the crown, the Queen actually has three other children. She and Prince Philip had Charles in 1948. Almost two years after Charles was born, the Queen gave birth to her first and only daughter, Princess Anne in 1950. Ten years later, the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew was born, and then in 1964, the monarch’s youngest child, Prince Edward was born.

The old order of succession

For centuries, males took precedence when it came to the order of succession. So though Princess Anne was second in line for the throne when she was born, as soon as her brother Andrew came into the world, he bumped her down to the third position, and then when Edward was born, she lost her position once again. This rule effectively meant that in most cases where a woman had a brother, she would likely never become the ruler.

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The Princess Royal carried out two days of engagements earlier this week in Essex and West Yorkshire. Her Royal Highness began her visit to Essex at the Munnings Museum. The Museum is the former home to the artist Sir Alfred Munnings. A collection of his memorabilia is currently on display. The Princess Royal then visited Geoffrey Parker, a luxury games maker. Her Royal Highness opened a new workshop, to mark the company’s 60th anniversary. Her Royal Highness finished the day with a visit to The WISE organisation. The Princess Royal is Patron of the organisation; which encourages gender balance in the science, technology and engineering sectors. The Princess Royal then visited West Yorkshire on the second day of engagements. She made visits to Leeds Playhouse; The Sound Leisure Classic Jukebox Company and The Growing Zone. The Leeds Play House has recently been renovated to improve its facilities. Her Royal Highness was invited to see the improvements to the main performance space, including better accessibility. The Sound Leisure Classic Jukebox Company invited The Princess Royal to join them in celebrating their 40th Anniversary! Her Royal Highness was escorted around the museum and visited a number of workshops. These included the metalwork; spray shop; fitting shop; cutting room; production and the main factory floor. The Princess Royal’s final stop was a visit to The Growing Zone. Her Royal Highness was escorted around the allotment areas to see the different garden projects for adults and children with disabilities and learning difficulties.

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The rule that changed it all

In 2013, everything changed for royal women in line for the crown. The Succession to the Throne Act 2013 changed a few things about the monarchy but one of the biggest amendments was that males would no longer take precedence over female heirs. This meant that Princess Anne could ascend to her rightful place behind her brother Charles in the line of succession.

Unfortunately for Anne, the line of succession continues down the bloodline of the firstborn before going to the second born child. And by that time, her brother Charles had already had Prince William and Prince Harry. And Prince William had Prince George that same year. So even with the change in the rule, Anne remained relatively far away from the crown.

Had this rule changed earlier, Anne might have had a better chance.

What does this rule mean now?

Though this change in rules didn’t do all that much for the Princess Royal, it definitely is beneficial to all the female royals born after 2013. For instance, Prince William’s second-born child, Princess Charlotte, retained her place as fourth in line for the crown, even when her younger brother, Prince George, was born last year.

The likelihood of Charlotte becoming the monarch is still quite slim though. Something traumatic would have to happen to make her bypass the three people in front of her to take the crown. But it’s still nice to know that the women in the royal family have now been given the proper respect that they deserve.