Royal Secondborns Anna England & Charlotte Wales: Different Fates


Princess Anne: Seventeenth in Line of Succession

She has just turned 73, she is the member of the British royal family who works the most and is the closest person to King Charles III, but “only” seventeenth in line of succession to the throne, despite being the second-born of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip: Princess Anne has never taken this slipping into the background for granted, which has become increasingly insurmountable with the growth of the family. Blame, so to speak, the Act of Settlement, the 1701 law by which the British crown was passed down through male primogeniture; if King George VI and wife Elizabeth had had a third son, for example, Elizabeth II would never have ascended to the throne.

The Succession to the Crown Act

Anna, class 1950, was overtaken by her younger brothers Andrew and Edward, born respectively in 1960 and 1964, remaining for a long time fourth, but things changed quickly with the arrival of their children and then grandchildren, transforming her into the British royal who has moved the most along the line of succession in the course of her life. A fate that does not touch, on the other hand, Charlotte of Wales, second-born of Kate and William and third in line of succession after her father and older brother George, she who one day will probably receive the title of Royal Princess, the same one that today is held by Anna (it is usually assigned to the eldest female daughter of a sovereign). In 2013, the year of George’s birth, in fact, the British Parliament approved the Succession to The Crown Act, which regulates succession only according to the order of birth and not to sex and which is applied to all those born after October 28, 2011; Charlotte was the first British princess to benefit from the new rule, so when her younger brother Louis was born she remained in her place.

A Title is Not Everything in Life

Among the novelties, also the fact that the eventual marriage with a Catholic would not determine the loss of positions, only bound to the right of birth. In front of Princess Anne, today, there are the Windsor of the new generation: not only the three children of William’s nephew, but also Archie and Lilibet, children of Harry and Meghan Markle, Sienna, daughter of Beatrice of York and Edward Mapelli Mozzi, and the two children of sister Eugenie, August and Ernest. For the princess it is not such a fundamental thing, after all she did not want titles even for her children, Peter and Zara: “I think it was the right thing to do,” she told Vogue in 2020, “I think it was easier for them.” A title, after all, is not everything in life, nor a throne in destiny. It has not touched her, and she has been equally happy.


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