Who Are the Most Important Members of the Royal Family?

Active members of the royal family are tasked with supporting Queen Elizabeth by fulfilling important duties in the arena of public and charitable work. Their activities, which include over 2,000 engagements over the course of a year, bolster national unity and help stabilize the monarchy. As it currently stands, the top royals in the line of succession are Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and Prince Harry. But the line of succession is not necessarily the same as the most important members of the royal family. Here we take into account both the line of succession and their popularity to determine who are the most important members of the royal family.

The Royal Family
The royal family | DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne for the past 68 years, making her the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Britain. Although she has slowed down in recent years, the 94-year-old remains the most important member of the royal family.

After all, Her Majesty is still the face of the monarchy and is one of the most beloved monarchs in the world. Queen Elizabeth will rank at the top of the royals until she either retires or passes on.

Prince William

William was only 15 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, tragically died in a car accident in Paris. He went on to graduate from St. Andrews University, where he met Kate Middleton. The pair tied the knot in 2011 and share three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

William may be second in line to the throne, but it could be argued that he is the most important member of the royal family. Not only will Prince William likely rule much longer than his father, who turns 72 years old this year, but he also represents the future of the monarchy.

Further, William consistently polls more popular than the Prince of Wales. In a poll from 2019, for example, Marie Claire reports that William received 69 percent “positive opinion,” which was just shy of his brother, who was at 78 percent, and Queen Elizabeth, who ranked at 79 percent.

Charles, on the other hand, was at the bottom of the list with only a 48 percent approval rating.  Much of Charles’s negative public image stems from his disastrous marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Prince Charles

Charles is the first in the line of succession and will be crowned the King of the United Kingdom once Queen Elizabeth is gone. At the age of 71 years old, Charles has waited longer than anyone in British history to inherit the crown.

The Prince of Wales married Diana in 1981. The couple had two boys, William and Harry, before separating in the early 1990s. They finalized their divorce in 1996, a year before Diana’s tragic accident.

Charles went on to marry Camilla in a low-key ceremony in 2005. Once Charles is on the throne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will likely take on the title of Princess Consort.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry spent 10 years in the military and rose to the rank of captain before leaving the Army in 2015. He married Meghan Markle in the spring of 2018 in a gorgeous ceremony at Windsor Castle. The couple has one child, Archie Harrison.

At the start of 2020, Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, announced that they were stepping down as active members of the royal family. Their exit became official on March 31 and the two are now living in Los Angeles.

Although Harry is out of the royal family, he is still very important to the monarchy. Harry’s popularity took a big hit after his exit, but he remains one of the most visible royals. As sixth in line to the throne, Harry will likely never inherit the crown, but his actions directly affect the monarchy, for the good and the bad.

There is also the possibility that Harry returns to the royal family at some point in the future. He may not be using his royal titles anymore, but Harry’s spot in the line of succession will never change.

Prince George

William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed George in the summer of 2013. George started his first year of primary school in the fall of 2017 and has quickly captured the heart of royal watchers around the globe.

Prince George is currently third in the line of succession, but it will likely be decades before he takes the throne. That said, it will not be long before George starts fulfilling his duties in the royal family, just like his father before him.