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Today will begin a new series on how the line of succession has changed over the years. I will pick random and important dates and will examine who was in line for the throne at that time. Although my main focus will be the British line of succession I will also include other monarchies from time to time. Although this is a new series I won’t be doing it week-to-week, it will reoccur randomly.

At first there was just four. It was mid 1977 when I began to research the royal family and the Kings and Queens of Britain. At that time there were just four descendants of HM. The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. These four were also the top four in line to the succession to the throne:

1. HRH The Prince of Wales
2. HRH The Prince Andrew
3. HRH The Prince Edward
4. HRH The Princess Anne

Except for the Prince Charles, none of the Queen’s children had any titles yet. Princess Anne would not be given her title, The Princess Royal, until ten years later in 1987. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward would not be given their titles until they married. In 1977 the Queen had been on the throne 25 years and it was also the year of her Silver Jubilee. Her Majesty was 51 years old (the same age as I am now) and would be a first time grandmother that November when Princess Anne would give birth to her first child Peter Philips.

Flash forward 38 years and a lot has changed! Her Majesty is now 89 and has celebrated her Golden Jubilee celebrating 50 years on the throne in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 celebrating 60 years on the throne. This September The Queen will be on the throne one day longer than Queen Victoria and will be come Britain’s longest reigning monarch at 63 years, 217 days. Instead of her descendents occupying the first four places in the succession they now occupy the first 17 places in line for the succession! Here they are in order.

1. HRH The Prince of Wales
2. HRH The Duke of Cambridge
3. HRH Prince George of Cambridge
4. HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
5. HRH Prince Henry of Wales
6. HRH The Duke of York
7. HRH Princess Beatrice of York
8. HRH Princess Eugenie of York
9. HRH The Earl of Wessex
10. Lord Severn
11. Lady Louise Windsor
12. HRH The Princess Royal
13. Peter Philips
14. Savannah Phillips
15. Isla Phillips
16. Zara Tindall
17. Mia Tindall

It is very interesting to see how the line of succession changes over the years. It is fascinating to compare today’s line of succession to February, 1952 just prior to the death of HM King George VI.

1. HRH The Prince Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh
2. HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh
3. HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh
4. HRH The Princess Margaret
5. HRH The Duke of Gloucester (Prince Henry)
6. HRH Prince William of Gloucester
7. HRH Prince Richard of Gloucester
8. HRH The Duke of Kent (Prince Edward)
9. HRH Prince Michael of Kent
10. HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent
11. The Princess Royal, Mary, Countess of Harewood
12. The Rt Hon The Earl of Harewood
13. David Viscount Lascelles
14. Gerald Lascelles
15. HH Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
16. James Carnegie, 3rd Duke of Fife
17. HM King Olav V of Norway

Today, 63 years later only the top two remain in the top twenty inline for the throne. The Prince of Wales (HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh at the time) moved up one place and has remained. His sister, The Princess Royal (HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh at the time) has gone from 3 (she was actually at number 2 until the birth of the Duke of York in 1960) to number 12. The next living member on the list is number 7, HRH Prince Richard of Gloucester, the current HRH The Duke of Gloucester who moved to his current 24th inline to the throne. Incidentally, the Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He is the first inline to the throne who is not descended from King George VI. He is also the senior male line descendant of Queen Victoria.