Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (and much of The Commonwealth), the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II presides over a family that can, quite charitably, be described as a mix of apparently competent individuals, complete chuckleheads, and tabloid fodder. Fortunately for all concerned it was determined whether true power should rest with the monarchy or an elected parliament in 1649 when Charles I abruptly lost about 12 inches in height. Above his shoulders. This rather emphatic statement officially authorized the trend in which the King (or Queen) gradually lost to Parliament and the head of Government, the Prime Minister, and was finally accepted as pretty much fact in 1688 when Parliament invited William III of Orange and his wife Mary to invade England and seize the throne from the rather unpopular (and Catholic, pretty much the same thing at the time) James II.
Although the monarch is now a figurehead and seen as generally useless in terms of running the country, and although there is a campaign for a republic, the abolition of the monarchy has never really entered mainstream political discourse in the UKnote and there seems to be no prospect of it happening any time soon. Many people love the pomp and ceremony, and the fact that they really can't do anything to hurt the nation (except perhaps cause embarrassing sex scandals) means there isn't a rush to get rid of them. Also, it is argued, the monarchy is such a huge employer in the UK, and draws so much tourism to the country, that its abolition would likely have a major negative impact on the UK economy (CGP Grey explains in detail) — though some people think otherwise.
Some Commonwealth countries, who don't even get a say over who their Head of State is, consider it a small price in exchange for having all the pageantry (and amusing antics) that someone else is paying for. Nevertheless, republicanism is stronger in the former colonies. Many, such as Ireland and Mauritius, have already broken away from the British-born monarchy.
- The Jamaican government has made noise about abolishing the monarchy, but there is some debate there. Not everyone is convinced that the move is necessary or feasible (for instance, changing all the references to the Queen in all the government buildings would cost a substantial proportion of the poor country's already-tight budget).
- As of 2015, the Australian federal and state governments are led by republican politicians (with PM Malcolm Turnbull being especially outspoken and making a point of abolishing knighthoods) and they even issued an open letter declaring their intent to form a republic. However, it should be noted that public opinion is mostly split evenly on the issue (the Australian constitution requires a majority of states (at least four out of six) and an overall majority of the population to vote against the monarchy) and the needle swings very much towards the crown whenever there is a royal visit.
- Canada, however, (at least outside maverick Quebec) is in no apparent hurry to lose the monarchy, which exists as the Royal Family of Canada in that nation — technically a separate monarchy to the UK despite being made up of exactly the same individuals. In fact, this is the case with all of the Commonwealth Realms, but the Canadians were the first to develop the theory and consequently have both the most traditional and most developed theory of monarchy. Canada is also the most monarchist Commonwealth Realm, partly because it is the oldest Commonwealth Realm besides the UK, and partly because it has a large, friendly-but-overbearing, culturally-similar republic right next door, making the monarchy a good way to distinguish itself from its neighbour. Canada is one of the few places where being both a leftist intellectual and a fervent monarchist is so commonplace as to be unremarkable—to many English-speaking Canadians, the monarchy is just part of being Canadian. (Doesn't mean the Governor-General is treated with any more respect, though...). It also helps that the Canadian Constitution requires unanimous consent of all the Canadian provinces to amend the Constitution to abolish the monarchy. Any debate over significantly changing the Constitution almost invariably ends up devolving into petty bickering between the provinces, so no one can be bothered to start that process.
For the UK, their net worth is only £600 Million, most of which comes from stuff like paintings, palaces, estates, and other non-liquid assets (as opposed to actual cash) that would go to the National Trust and would have no other real benefit to the public other than there being more boring museums to drag your kids to. These things are open most of the time anyway and there is more of a tourist draw with the Royals being around rather than getting rid of them. They also have developed a strong commitment to being Royals Who Actually Do Something, with the men usually joining the military (and then, usually, some sort of private-sector job, although there's a tradition of the second son becoming a career officernote ) and the women finding some sort of cause or employment.
Interestingly, if the UK were to ditch the monarchy it would (or mightnote ) also have to honour an agreement made between George III and the government of the day, in which George deeded the revenues earned by "Crown lands" to the public treasury in return for an income from the Civil List — but only for as long as his successors reigned. Those annual revenues, every penny of which would be lost if the Royals were kicked out, are currently at least twenty times the annual cost of the monarchy.note One economist believes the total tourism income directly dependent on the Royal Family is many times even that. In other words, the monarchy is generally considered a good investment. The Republican response would be that the monarchy represents unearned privilege and that there is a moral case for its abolition regardless of whether or not it makes money.
Although a large and sprawling family, the current membership of the House of Windsor is generally considered to refer mainly to:
Christened Elizabeth Alexandra Marynote , but affectionately referred to as 'Aunty Liz' and also known as The Queen. Very dignified, dedicated, hardworking and by all accounts possessing an incredibly funny sense of humour in private, Liz is pretty much the ideal of the constitutional monarch, her sense of responsibility formed by the example of her parents in World War II. Crowned in 1952 at the age of 25, she is now the longest-reigning British monarch ever, having passed Victoria's record of 63 years and 216 days as monarch in September 2015. Not all that surprising, considering that her mum lived to be over 100. As Eddie Izzard said, "I am the queeeen... I live foreveeeeer!" Despite her great longevity (she is both the oldest and the longest-reigning monarch in the world) and the increasingly popular trend among her fellow European monarchs of abdicatingnote rather than dying on the throne, it is widely believed that she will never abdicate, because she takes her coronation oath, and the declaration she made on her 21st birthday as unshakable promises personally made to God. Another reason may be due to her staunch belief that her uncle Edward VIII's decision to abdicate harmed the monarchy and his passing the throne onto her father George VI contributed to the latter's early death at the age of 56; Edward surviving him by twenty years.note Therefore, in the event she becomes incapable of discharging her duties as Sovereign, it is believed that a regency similar to the one in place during the last decade of George III's reign will be established, with Charles as Prince Regent.
Is also very much the model of a Cool Old Lady. She is apparently quite the Deadpan Snarker, and also a fan of Doctor Who.note She's also a bit of a technophile — televising her coronation was her idea. More recently, there was a serious flap when President Barack Obama gave her a iPod on her first official visit when she already had an iPodnote ; she later clarified that she specifically asked for it, as her old one was out of date. She is an accomplished equestrian, and rode sidesaddle during every Trooping the Colour ceremony until 1986, when her mare Burmese was retired. She is also the first, and so far only, female royal to hold military rank in her own right; she joined the Women's Auxiliaries during the war as a mechanic and rose to the rank of Junior Commander. However, ignoring all of the above, her Cool Old Lady status was solidified when she co-starred with James Bond (Daniel Craig) in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.
Prince Philip, Duke of EdinburghBorn: 10 June 1921 Consort: Queen Elizabeth II
Married Elizabeth in 1947note . Famously irascible and has a reputation for making extremely blunt commentsnote , to the point where he once invented a word for it ("Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years."). Depending on his mood and how much you've prepared, he can alternatively be your best friend or your worst enemy. Widely considered to be quite old-fashioned with dated views, he was, however, quite a progressive member of the royal family during the early years of the queen's reign. He instituted several reforms within Buckingham Palacenote , was the one to suggest televising the queen's coronation (contrary to popular belief), and even presented a couple of documentary programs on television. He was also an early advocate for environmentalism, long before it became vogue within the general public.
He served with distinctionnote as a naval officer in World War II on the Allied side and, despite being primarily of German descent, is a member of the former Greek royal family, which in turn is a junior branch of the Danish royal family. People say that he could have easily become an admiral on his own merits, but he had to resign his commission to serve as Queen Elizabeth's consort. He was given honorary five-star ranks in the British Army, Royal Navynote , and Royal Air Force in recognition of what he had to sacrifice, in addition to various colonel-in-chief appointments. He was called a German Nazi by Mohammed Al-Fayed in one of the stranger moments of the very strange Diana inquest. (This was apparently very hurtful to Philip, who fought in World War II and whose mother was named a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem for saving Greek Jews.) Due to being part of the Greek royal familynote is sometimes referred to as "Phil The Greek". His opinion on this nickname is not recorded, but it is known that one of his great regrets in life is that he never properly learned the Greek language (his family was kicked out of Greece when he was a child). Apparently, he is worshipped as a god by inhabitants of some Pacific islands. Despite, or possibly because of, his regular foot-in-mouth episodes (and thus his being viewed as reliable entertainment by the general public), he has a reputation for being hardworking (he created the Duke of Edinburgh award among other things) and well meaning despite being older than (and outliving!) Christopher Lee, and he is rather well liked.
Insiders say that while Prince Philip plays a subordinate role to Queen Elizabeth in regards to their public duties, behind the scenes it's Philip who is the absolute head of the household and is someone who is loving, playful, and stern in equal measure. It was Philip who convinced William to walk behind Diana's coffin and he joined the procession as a show of support for his grandsons. He could be briefly seen putting his arm around William and making sure his grandson was alright just before they walked onto Horse Guards Parade.
In May 2017, Philip announced that he would be retiring from royal duties over the next few months, and did retire in August. While he maintains his memberships in the nearly 800 organizations he's worked with, he won't be taking an active role or making public appearances for them any more.
Prince Philip is himself eligible to become King, being on the line of succession as a descendant of Princess Alice, daughter of Queen Victoria. However, his position is so low (Number 679 as of 2011, according to one (unofficial) source) that most people don't even bother keeping track of it.
Charles, Prince of WalesBorn: 14 November 1948 Consort: Lady Diana, Princess of Wales (née Spencer) (1981—1996); Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (née Shand) (2005—present)
Christened Charles Philip Arthur George. The Heir Apparent, though he was second-in-line for the throne at birth, behind his mother.note Perhaps best known as being the husband of the deceased Diana, he's also gained a reputation as an environmentalist and perhaps a bit nutty and New-Agey. The talking to plants thing doesn't help. Yet, he is also considered to be remarkably prescient and became a pioneer for organic farming and sustainable livingnote at least a decade before it even entered mainstream consciousness. Has rather large ears.
Was particularly unpopular in the wake of the breakup of his marriage to Diana, but his popularity has gradually improved, especially after his rather touching speech at the close of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert. There are occasional grumblings of somehow finding a way to skip over him and going straight to William in the order of succession, but current popular opinion of Charles is better now than it has been in the past. However, these grumblings have been sufficiently noisy to have apparently damaged Charles' relationship with William — apparently he really wants to be King, while his mother shows every sign of being immortal — and the prospect of his assuming the throne is viewed with some ambivalence - for one thing, he's shown a certain taste for political meddling in the past (nothing major, but enough to qualify as embarrassing). When The Vicar of Dibley finished up, Richard Curtis didn't want to strike the sets, saying (rather presumptuously) that "Britain might need some cheering up when Charles becomes king." Charles himself, however, is known to have quite the sense of humour and is fond of British comedy, notably being the highest ranking fan of Monty Python (as well as their foreunner The Goon Show) in the world. He and Camilla have seen their image undergo a positive change in the last few years thanks to the "Will and Kate Effect".
It is widely believed that, upon accession to the throne, he will take the regnal name George VII (as it is one of his middle names, along with Philip and Arthur) in honour of his grandfather, George VI. Reports have been contradictory (the official statement was it would be decided at the time) and he may choose to use his first name after all, which would make him Charles III; however, there is a widespread stigma attached to that name. (Charles III was also the regnal name of the Jacobite pretender also known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie"). He will be the oldest person ever to accede to the throne, beating the previous record-holder William IV, who was aged 64 at his accession.note
He was eligible to be Prince of Wales from the moment his mother became queen, but Queen Elizabeth held off on the investiture until Charles was 21 to make sure that he was fully aware of the gravity and responsibilities that came with the title.
Camilla, Duchess of CornwallBorn: 17 July 1947 Consort: Andrew Parker Bowles (1973—1995); Charles, Prince of Wales (2005—present)
Formerly Camilla Parker Bowles (née Shand), she was the first love and long-term mistress of Prince Charlie before finally marrying him. A socialite who went to finishing school in Switzerland, Camilla Rosemary Shand is the granddaughter of the 3rd Baron Ashcombe. Having married Charles, she is technically the Princess of Wales, but chose not to use the title, out of respect for Diana (and the backlash it would have caused). There is a strong feeling by many that she shouldn't become the Queen Consort; in all likelihood, she will become Queen Consort in law, but never use the title in deference to public opinion (the official word right now is that her title will be "Princess Consort".) Apparently, this is also her idea. She does her job without any fuss and never upstages Charles. Actually reported to be a very nice, down-to-earth person who doesn't deserve the vitriol spewed her way; unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding their marriage blight the public's opinion of her, although once again the Will and Kate effect, coupled with some positive press during recent 60th Jubilee celebrations, has helped improve her image somewhat. Also helping is a more widespread willingness to admit Diana's rather... ridiculous number of affairs; Camilla suffered greatly from the public's tendency to assume only men commit adultery. She is incredibly devoted to her charity work; her chief causes include animal welfare, literacy, treatment for osteoporosis, and — perhaps most notably — helping survivors of rape and sexual assault. Sometimes, rather uncharitably, compared to a horse.
Anne, Princess RoyalBorn: 15 August 1950 Consort: Mark Phillips (1973—1992); Sir Timothy Laurence (1992—present)
Christened Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise. Currently on her second marriage, Anne was the tabloid target for her antics before Diana was on the scene. Since then, "Princess Sourpuss" has mellowed considerably and has become a rather popular royal due to her constant presence waving the flag for the family. She used to be a rather good show rider and competed in the Olympics in 1976. Zara Phillips is now filling her shoes in this respect and won Olympic silver in 2012. She was almost kidnapped and killed when a man forced himself into her car and said he was going to hold her hostage (saying "I want you to come with me for a day or two, because I want two million. Will you get out of the car?"). Her response to this was to scathingly reply "Not bloody likely — and I haven't got two million." Contrary to popular opinion, she did not punch her attacker in the face, reasoning that "I nearly lost my temper with him, but I knew that if I did, I should hit him and he would shoot me."
She was born 3rd in line for the throne, behind her mother and her elder brother, and was then called Princess Anne of Edinburgh. Her mother succeeding George VI two years later saw her position rise to second, which would prove her zenith; she is presently 13th in line, behind all of her brothers and their descendants. Though she was eligible for the title of Princess Royal (customarily granted to the eldest daughter of the Sovereign) from 1965 (upon the death of her great-aunt, Princess Mary, as the title is held for life), it was not granted to her until 1987.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Christened Andrew Albert Christian Edward. A career naval officer who flew helicopters in the Royal Navy and served in combat in the Falklands War before retiring as a commandernote . Had his own share of tabloid trouble thanks to his marriage and divorce of Sarah Ferguson. Sadly for those looking for scandal, the separation and divorce was amicable, the two are apparently still friends (and actually live beside each other), and shared custody of the two daughters, Beatricenote and Eugenienote , until they came of age. The two pulled off an unbelievable transformation from tabloid fodder to Model Divorced Couple. Sarah, Duchess of York, would return to the spotlight in 2010 after being caught attempting to sell access to her ex-husband. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie win the "Craziest Headgear Award" at every royal wedding (with Beatrice definitely winning◊ at Will and Kate's). Has occasionally been caught up in some murky dealings with foreign businessmen, and while nothing has stuck, there is considered to be a general aura of shadiness about him.
Born 2nd in line for the throne (displacing his elder sister, Princess Anne, under male-preference primogeniture in place at the time), he is presently seventh, behind Prince Charles and all of his descendants. Andrew has no sons, which means that he will likely continue the peculiar trend of each Duke of York since Edward IV either dying without a male heir (as has happened four times — five if Andrew continues the pattern, which seems likely as he's already in late middle age and hasn't shown any interest in remarrying), or having their titles merged into the crown upon acceding the throne (as has happened five times — with Henry VIII, Charles I, James II, George V, and George VI) before passing them on. The title Duke of York, due to having not been inherited since 1460, is traditionally awarded to the second son of the Sovereign, but as it is a lifelong title, it is likely that Charles will predecease Andrew (who is 12 years younger) and will therefore not be able to create his second son (Prince Harry) the Duke of York (male-line descendants of living monarchs get their ducal titles upon marriagenote and get to pass them on to their eldest sons). Therefore, the person who is likeliest to hold the title next is Prince Louis of Cambridge.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Christened Edward Antony Richard Louis. Gave up a career in the Royal Marinesnote before it started and showed an interest in theatre and television production (going on to host several documentaries). His first foray into that, It's a Royal Knockout was a bit of a failure. Dogged by rumors he's gay, which were somewhat quieted when he married Sophie Rhys-Jones (who is by all accounts the Queen's favourite daughter-in-law) in 1999. Will be made Duke of Edinburgh after his father passes or when his brother becomes King (whichever comes second). He and Sophie have two children, Lady Louise Windsornote — who was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousin, Prince William — and James, Viscount Severnnote . By right (as grandchildren of the Queen in the male line) they should be called Princess Louise of Wessex and Prince James of Wessex, but like his sister Anne, Edward chose not to burden them with royal titles, instead styling them like the children of an Earl.
Born 3rd in line for the throne, he is presently 10th. His son, the Viscount Severn, is the highest-ranked person in the line of succession who is not styled Royal Highness or has princely status (though the latter is disputed).
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Christened William Arthur Philip Louis. First son of Charles, and 2nd in line for the throne, William previously had a bit of a rep as a playboy and concerns he doesn't take his responsibilities that seriously. However, he has mellowed out in the past half a dozen years or so, and his popularity is pretty high, with more than a few semi-serious suggestions that he supersede his father and become King when his grandmother dies. While no one actually expects this to happen, polls have shown that it would actually be a reasonably popular idea. He is almost as much a master of the poker face as the Queen herself. He served for five years in the British military. He initially joined the army but transferred to become a RAF search and rescue pilot because his royal position prevented him from serving on the front line and he wanted to do something that let him go out into the field.
He married his long-time girlfriend, 'commoner' Catherine "Kate" Middleton — now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — on 29 April 2011 in the biggest royal wedding since Charles and Diana, to widespread general approval. They live in Wales, as he was stationed on Anglesey, and have three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. On the morning of his marriage he was created Duke of Cambridgenote — prior to then, and from birth, he was styled Prince William of Wales, taking his surname from his father's territorial designation, as is typical of untitled royals. As he is now a Duke, continuing to call him "Prince William" is technically incorrectnote — though that hasn't stopped even the Queen from doing so, and if she still does it, there's certainly no hope for anyone else.
He is a big sportsman, playing polo and supporting Aston Villa FC; he has been President of The Football Association since 2006 and takes as active a role in that as his military, work, and royal duties will allow.
After leaving the military, he became an air ambulance pilot, becoming the first direct heir to the throne to take a job in the private sector.
Assuming he uses his first name as his regnal name upon accession to the throne, he will be known as King William V. This is especially fitting, as it is reasonably likely that he will be reigning during the millennial anniversary (in 2066) of the Norman Conquest, which established William I (the Conqueror) upon the throne of England. Considering how old he would be at that time (84), it has been suggested that he take the opportunity at that point to abdicate, following the increasingly common habit of European monarchs of retiring in their 70s or 80s (the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, and Spain seem to have adopted or plan to adopt this rule).
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Wife of Prince William and future Queen of Great Britain, she was known as Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton before her marriage (and despite it being factually incorrect, media both in the UK and abroad insist on referring to her by her maiden name, Kate Middleton). Met her future husband at the University of St Andrews, where she also earned her degree in History of Art. They dated off and on (but mostly on) for eight years before he popped the question in October 2010. As mentioned above, theirs was the biggest royal wedding in over two decades, and as such was accompanied by quite a lot of hoopla.
Since then Catherine has devoted herself to charity work and performing public duties on behalf of the royal family. And, it must be noted, she is a fashion icon around the world. She was also more or less officially deemed Team GB's lucky charm during her ubiquitous appearances at the 2012 Olympics, where the former field hockey champion served as Team GB ambassador. The teaming of William and Kate has had a restorative effect on the monarchy in not only the UK, but in Canada as well, with more than one poll showing that people are willing to put up with a period of Charles being King with the knowledge that William and Kate are waiting in the wings. News of her impending motherhood broke in late 2012, earlier than planned, when the Duchess was admitted to hospital for minor complications with her pregnancy. Her second pregnancy was also announced earlier than expected in September 2014 for the same reason, though without a hospital admission. Her third pregnancy was also announced earlier than expected in September 2017, again for the same reason.
Note that Catherine is not properly called a princess (despite the press loving to call her "Princess Kate") but a duchess. She is a Princess of the United Kingdom by marriage, and entitled to the accompanying HRH, but is addressed as the Duchess of Cambridge, not "Princess Catherine". note The expectation is that she will be given the title of Princess of Wales once her husband is formally invested as the heir apparentnote .
Prince Henry 'Harry', Duke of Sussex
Christened Henry Charles Albert David. Second son of Charles, Harry acquired a reputation as a bit of an idiot thanks to stunts like showing up at one costume party dressed in a (Nazi) Afrika Korps uniform complete with a swastika armband. After that, however, he settled down as a career soldier in the British armoured corps and was apparently a very dedicated officer and excellent small unit commander and very much a typical member of the military when it comes to beer and women — though in recent years, he's grown out of that too. He is rumoured to have threatened to make a public spectacle if he wasn't allowed to go to Afghanistan with his unit in 2007. He has since served in active duty in Afghanistan, but was brought back after certain members of the media broke silence on his being there (not cool, Aussie media). Then he took up flying helicopter gunships, which solved the problem — an AH-64 Apache being a priority target anyway, the enemy isn't going to care if the pilot is a prince.
After high-profile, tabloid fodder relationships with wealthy Zimbabwean Chelsy Davy and socialite Cressida Bonas, Harry confirmed in late 2016 that he was in a relationship with American actress Meghan Markle. This caused something of a subdued tabloid kerfuffle since Ms Markle was non-whitenote — which in turn caused a significant backlash against the tabloids that made a fuss about it in the first place. Somewhat more significantly in the context of royal history (which has within living memorynote seen two major hullabaloos about a royal marrying a divorced person), basically nobody made even a peep about the fact that Markle was divorced, except to comment on how nobody was making a peep about it.note In late November 2017 it was announced that the pair were engaged, and they married on 19 May 2018 at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castlenote .
Harry's wedding, unlike that of his older brother, mostly lacked any political or (foreign) royal guestsnote , "officially" because Harry, unlike William, was not a future monarch and thus there was no need for them to attend. However, it is widely believed that Harry wanted to invite his friend Barack Obama but could not do so without also extending an invitation to Donald Trump as wellnote , thus all politicians were uninvited from the wedding to save face. It should be noted that among those who did attend the wedding were Harry's two ex-girlfriends, Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas.
Harry has been immensely popular with the ladies, even more than his older brother, mostly due to being young, hot and a bit of a bad boy. Yet another beneficiary of the Will and Kate effect, with the three forming a popular trio at the 2012 Olympics and other events. Appeared in the tabloids in August 2012 after being photographed naked at a party in Las Vegas; the British public were mostly supportive, amused and viewed it as simply him letting off steam as any other young buck might do, especially given he was on his way to a second deployment to Afghanistan. His father and grandmother, however, were not pleased at all. Dogged by persistent low level rumours that he is a bastard, not helped by the fact that Harry tends to take more after the Spencersnote than the Windsors in appearance, although his recent Badass Beard amplifies a similarity to his great-great-grandfather King George V and paternal grandfather Prince Philip.
He left the military in 2015 to focus on his royal duties and his charity work, working with fellow royal Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help young people in Lesotho and Botswana suffering from HIV/Aids, which has raised him even further in the public estimation. He caused a minor controversy when, speaking positively of his military experience, he suggested re-instituting national service in Britain - though to be fair, considering how his military service seems to have straightened him out, one can see his reasoning. While still in the military, he visited Colorado to open the Warrior Games, a multi-sport event for disabled military members and veterans featuring participants from several countries, including the UK. The experience inspired him to create a similar event, the Invictus Games, which held its first edition in 2014.
After spending his entire life at third in the line of succession, he was displaced by the birth of his nephew on 22 July 2013, and is now sixth after the birth of his niece and another nephew. He was created Duke of Sussex (a title once held by a younger son of George III) on the morning of his marriage to Meghan; though he is the second son of a future monarch, and these have traditionally been created Dukes of York, it is unlikely that his father will outlive his uncle, Prince Andrew, who is (as mentioned) a full 12 years younger than Harry's father Charles.
Will become a father after just eleven monthsnote of marriage, unlike William who took two years and three months after his marriage to become a father.
Christened Rachel Meghan, but is known by her middle name. An American actress best known for her role as Rachel Zane in Suits, she met Harry on a blind date set up by a mutual friend, and it was love at first sight for both of them. After about a year of dating, it was announced in late November 2017 that she and Harry were engaged note . When the engagement was announced she was hailed as the "first black American princess"note . More notably she is the first divorced person to marry into the British Royal Family without much fuss at allnote . She married Harry on 19 May 2018 at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Almost immediately after the wedding the new Duchess began her royal duties, even postponing her honeymoon in order to make an appearance with her new husband; the Queen has been seen to take her new granddaughter-in-law under her wing and initial reports are that the two seem to be getting along swimmingly. She also has a warm relationship with her parents-in-law (Prince Charles walked her down the aisle at her wedding) and appears to be getting on famously with her sister-in-law Catherine — the two making a highly popular appearance at Wimbledon 2018 sans husbands and appearing to enjoy themselves immensely. It has also been reported that Meghan wants children as soon as possible, as she is in her late thirties (several months older than the Duchess of Cambridge, who already has three children). On 15 October 2018, just five months after the wedding, it was announced that she and Harry are expecting their first child in the spring of 2019.
Like her sister-in-law, she is by marriage a Princess of the United Kingdom, but is properly addressed as the Duchess of Sussex, not "Princess Meghan"note .
Also, although she married into the royal family she isn't automatically entitled to British citizenship and is currently going through the years-long application process that all aspiring British citizens must complete.
Has been hit with a lot of thinly veiled racism from the British Press, unfortunately. Matters aren't helped by her father and half sister, who willingly go to the press in an attempt to reconcile with her (With many agreeing they are going about it the wrong way). Tabloid stories include: feuding with Kate and William, arguing about her wedding tiara, being difficult with the staff and faking her pregnancy to name a few. However, it's all tabloid gossip with little to no truth. In fact, it got so bad, Kensington Palace stepped in to say it was not true. 
Only son of Anne, Princess Royal, and her first husband Mark Phillips. Like his sister, Peter has no royal title because his mother didn't want her children to grow up with any.note
You don't hear about him very much, because he keeps a low profile as a mid-to-upper level corporate executive (having worked for Jaguar, Williams F1, and the Royal Bank of Scotland). The only time he really hit the news was when he got married: his Canadian fiancee Autumn Kelly had to convert from Catholicism to Anglicanism in order to keep him and their prospective children in line for the throne, which touched off debates about the Commonwealth's succession laws. Other than that, only really notable for giving the Queen her first two great-grandchildren, Savannah Anne Kathleen and Isla Elizabeth Phillips.
Following in her mother Anne's footsteps, took up competitive eventing and reigned as Eventing World Champion from 2006-2010, but could not defend her title due to some horrifically bad luck with her horse. Made up for it and then some, though, when she won Olympic silver for GB in eventing at the 2012 Games aboard her new mount High Kingdom. As the Princess Royal was dishing out the medals, all of Britain found this a little funny, too. She also got Sports Personality of the Year in 2006. Turns up in, of all things, the comic book V for Vendetta, as Queen Zara, all those above her in the list having been killed in a nuclear war. In June 2011, she married Mike Tindall (who at the time was captain of the England national Rugby Union team, and played for Gloucester until retiring in 2014). When she was born she was 6th in line for the throne (now currently 17th), but she doesn't possess an HRH title because her mother did not want her children to grow up with any, which excludes her from automatic entitlement to royal status.
In January 2014, she gave birth to a baby girl named Mia Grace Tindall. Zara became pregnant again in late 2016 but sadly miscarried shortly thereafter. The palace announced in January 2018 she was pregnant again, and her second daughter, Lena Elizabeth, was born in June 2018. Lena Tindall is the lowest-ranked person in the line of succession who is a direct descendant of Elizabeth II, at 19th place.
Prince George of Cambridge
First son of William, and 3rd in line for the throne. Born 22 July 2013 at 4:24 pm (15:24 UTC). He was given the name George Alexander Louisnote two days later, which is historically very fast for a newly-born royal (Prince Charles went nameless for almost a month).
He is the last direct heir to the throne: nobody can ever displace him in the line of succession. His birth marks the first time since 1901 that the Sovereign and three generations of direct heirs have all been alive at the same time. As the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, he is automatically entitled to the style His Royal Highness and the title of Prince, but this would not have been the case for any of his potential future siblings had the Queen herself not issued letters patent making it so. Notable for being the first person to have an entry on The Other Wiki prior to his own birth.note
If he takes his first name as his regnal name upon eventually becoming King, he will be known as either George VII or George VIII, depending on whether his grandfather also takes the regnal name George. In the latter case, it would tie that name with Henry and Edward as the most frequent regnal names for post-Norman monarchs (Edward was also used three times before thennote ). If he uses his middle name of Alexander instead, he would be known as Alexander IV, because there have been three Scottish (though not English or British) Kings by that name.
He is also, by general accolade, the most adorable baby in the history of all adorable babies to have ever been adorable. Very solemn looking, and even at a tender age, he seems to have mastered the textbook 'royal wave', where the hand is raised and slowly waggled.
He served as a pageboy at the wedding of his uncle, Prince Harry, to Meghan Markle. The adorable levels were off the charts.
Has been described in a Winnie-The-Pooh booknote as "much younger than Christopher Robin and almost as bouncy as Tigger." We consider that appropriate for his adorableness.
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Second child and first daughter of William, and christened Charlotte Elizabeth Diananote . She is fourth in line for the throne. As a result of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, she (unlike her great-aunt, Princess Anne) wasn't displaced by her younger brother (born 2018), and can't be displaced by future younger brothers. However, it is very likely that she will be the next person to be created Princess Royal, as the eldest daughter of a future Sovereign. Born 2 May 2015 at 8:34 am (0734 UTC), less than two years after her older brother (in yet another similarity with Princess Anne, almost exactly the same age gap between her and Prince Charles). Like her older brother, she was named two days after her birth.
A strong challenger to her brother's crown for most adorable baby, yet somehow also apparently determined to prove true her distant cousin Winston Churchill'snote statement that all babies look like him.
She served as a bridesmaid at the wedding of her uncle, Prince Harry, to Meghan Markle. Even her older brother was hard-put to out-adorable her on this occasion.
Prince Louis of CambridgeBorn: 23 April 2018
Third child and second son of William, making William the most fecund of any of Elizabeth's descendants.note Named Louisnote Arthur Charlesnote 3 days after his birth. Fifth in line for the throne, behind his grandfather, father, and elder siblings. He will almost certainly be created Duke of York once he marries, assuming that his father is already Kingnote and that his great-uncle, the present title-holder, has passed away without any male heirs.note He is the first male royal heir to be affected by the above-mentioned Succession of the Crown Act, becoming fifth in line to the throne rather than displacing his older sister Charlotte as the fourth.
It won't be long before he establishes his own adorable creds.
Line of Succession
Under the Acts of Settlement 1701 and 1703, the line of succession to the British throne used to use male-preference primogeniture. In practice, this meant that any male children automatically went before the female children, even if the sister was older. Catholics and people who married Catholicsnote were also excluded. This was changed in 2011—2013 to absolute primogeniture, meaning the oldest child inherits, no matter what gender; people who married Catholics were also restored, although actual Catholics remained barred (not out of any dislike for Catholics, mind, but because having the monarch, who is Head of the Church of England and protector of the Church of Scotland, be a Catholic would simply be absurd). However, the gender aspect only applies to any children after 2011. Another change in the succession laws concerns royal approval of marriages. Before 2013, anyone in the line of succession was (technically) required to receive royal approval before any marriage in order to remain in the line. Now, only the first six individuals in the line of successionnote require such approval.
Descendants of Queen Elizabeth II (1926)
1. Charles, Prince of Wales (b 1948) first son of the Queen
7. Prince Andrew, Duke of York (b 1960) second son of the Queen
10. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (b 1964) third son of the Queen
13. Anne, Princess Royal (b 1950) only daughter of the Queen
Descendants of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930—2002)
20. David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon (b 1961) only son of Princess Margaret
23. Lady Sarah Chatto (b 1964) only daughter of Princess Margaret
Descendants of Prince Henry, (1st) Duke of Gloucester (King George VI's younger brother) (1900—1974)
Prince William of Gloucester (1941—1972) first son of Prince Henry, died unmarried and with no children before his father
26. Prince Richard, (2nd) Duke of Gloucester (b 1944) second son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Descendants of Prince George, (1st) Duke of Kent (King George VI's younger brother) (1902—1942)
36. Prince Edward, (2nd) Duke of Kent (b 1935) elder son of Prince George, Duke of Kent
47. Prince Michael of Kent (b 1942) younger son of Prince George, Duke of Kent
52. Princess Alexandra, Lady Ogilvy (b 1936) only daughter of Prince George, Duke of Kent
Descendants of Princess Mary, Princess Royal/Countess of Harewood (King George VI's younger sister) (1897—1965)
George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood (1923—2011) elder son of Princess Mary
The Hon. Gerald Lascelles (1924—1998) younger son of Princess Mary
The line continues with the descendants of King Edward VII and so on, all the way back to King George I (the Act of Settlement 1701 specifies that the descendants of Electress Sophia of Hanover are eligible for the throne; however, only two of her children (George I and Sophia Charlotte) had children, and the only son of Sophia Charlotte married Sophia Dorothea, his cousin and George I's daughter, so all those alive today are also descended from George I).
Since Queen Victoria had nine children and since most of these sons and daughters married other European monarchs, princes and nobles, it is natural that nearly all the current European monarchs are in, or could potentially be in, the line of succession. She was even nicknamed Grandmother of Europe to reflect this. For much the same reason, there are also monarchs in the list who are not her descendants, but those of (in reverse chronological order) George III; Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales (who never became king since he died before his father, George II) and George II George I's daughter Sophia Dorothea is not included, as presently there are no monarchs among her descendants (though there are some pretenders of abolished monarchies).
- King Harald V of Norway (b 1937), great-grandson of King Edward VII, second cousin of the Queen — 81 in line. Descended from:
- King Edward VII —> Queen Maud of Norway —> Olav V of Norway —> Harald V of Norway
- King Alexander II of Yugoslavia (b 1945), great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, third cousin once removed of the Queen (and first cousin twice removed of Prince Philip) — c. 100/110 in the line. Descended from:
- Queen Victoria —> Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha —> Queen Marie of Romania —> Queen Maria of Yugoslavia —> Peter II of Yugoslavia —> Alexander II of Yugoslavia
- King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (b 1946), great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, third cousin of the Queen — c. 190/200 in the line. Descended from:
- Queen Victoria —> Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn —> Princess Margaret, Crown Princess of Sweden —> Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten —> King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (b 1940), great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, third cousin of the Queen — c. 220/230 in the line. Descended from:
- Queen Victoria —> Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn —> Princess Margaret, Crown Princess of Sweden —> Queen Ingrid of Denmark —> Margrethe II of Denmark
- King Constantine II of Greece (b 1940), great-great grandson of Queen Victoria, third cousin of the Queen — c. 430/440 in the line. Descended from:
- Queen Victoria —> Empress Victoria of Germany —> Queen Sophia of Greece —> Paul of Greece —> Constantine II of Greece
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen's husband (b 1921), great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, third cousin of his wife as well as her second cousin once removed through the Danish line of Queen Alexandra and her brother King George I of Greece — c. 500s/600s in the line. Descended from:
- Queen Victoria —> Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine —> Princess Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven —> Princess Alice of Battenberg —> Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
- King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (b 1967), descendant of King George II, fifth cousin twice removed of the Queen — c. 800 in the line. Descended from:
- King George II —> Princess Anne, Princess of Orange —> William V, Prince of Orange —> William I of the Netherlands —> William II of the Netherlands —> William III of the Netherlands —> Wilhelmina of the Netherlands —> Juliana of the Netherlands —> Beatrix of the Netherlands —> Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
The Act of Settlement 1701 barred anyone who was Catholic or married to a Catholic from taking the British throne. This bar stood until 2013, when the Succession to the Throne Act 2013 deleted the bit about people married to Catholics being barred from the throne; actual Catholics remain forbidden (for the practical reason that the monarch is still Supreme Governor of the Protestant Church of England and is, while in Scotland, a member and "protector" of the even more Protestant Church of Scotland. As we mention elsewhere, the monarch does change religion every time he/she enters/exits Scotland. Yes, we know.note ) That didn't keep the later descendants of British monarchs from marrying Catholic royals (and "recusant" British Catholic nobles), and so quite a few Catholic monarchs would be in the line were they not Catholic.
- King Juan Carlos I of Spain (b 1938; abdicated 2014)note and his son King Felipe VI of Spain (b 1968) would be somewhere in the 700ish range, with Felipe immediately following his father. Juan Carlos is a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and third cousin of the Queen. Descended from:
- Queen Victoria —> Princess Beatrice —> Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain —> Infante (Prince) Juan, Count of Barcelona —> Juan Carlos I of Spain —> Felipe VI of Spain
- King Phillipe of Belgium (b 1960), who is a descendant of Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales (and a first cousin of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg) would be somewhere in the 1300/1400 range. Fun fact: the Belgian and British monarchies are even more closely related, as they are both agnatically of the House of [Wettin von] Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (name later changed on account of a nasty family squabble): the first Belgian King Leopold I was Prince Albert's paternal uncle. However, this closer relationship doesn't count, since it's not descent from Sophia. (With the accession of Prince Charles Britain will switch to being agnatic Oldenburgs.) Descended from:
- Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales —> Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel —> Princess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel —> Prince Paul of Württemberg note —> Pauline, Duchess of Nassau —> Sophia, Queen of Sweden and Norway —> Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland —> Queen Astrid of Belgium —> Albert II of Belgium —> Phillipe of Belgium
- Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (b 1955), who is a descendant of Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales (and a first cousin of Phillipe of Belgium), would also be somewhere in the 1300/1400 range. Descended from:
- Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales —> Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel —> Princess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel —> Prince Paul of Württemberg —> Pauline, Duchess of Nassau —> Sophia, Queen of Sweden and Norway —> Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland —> Queen Astrid of Belgium —> Joséphine Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg —> Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg