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Can Prince Charles be skipped in the line of succession?

Recent polls have shown that support for the Prince of Wales becoming king is constantly on the increase and at the moment is riding higher than support for the Duke of Cambridge succeeding after Her Majesty. It is an interesting point of discussion for constitutionalists, royalists and many others alike as to whether ‘skipping’ Prince Charles would be conceivable or indeed possible.

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To start with it’s worth noting that Monarchy isn’t a popularity contest. The fact that there is a fixed line of succession is what makes it a Monarchy and to deviate from that, regardless of intention, would undoubtably cause questioning over the succession altogether. Why have a Monarchy if you’re going to choose the heir?

Next we have the problem of whether it can actually be done. The answer to this is in fact a surprising yes. It is a well established fact that Parliament controls the succession to the crown and that Parliament can legislate for anything under a doctrine known as Parliamentary supremacy. It is, therefore, not The Queen who determines who succeeds her but Parliament.

However, it is not just constitutional points which would create problems in a move to pass over the Prince of Wales. There is also the issue of whether Prince William is ready to succeed to the throne. The general consensus is that William, and his wife, needs more time. Currently, they don’t have any experience of being a full time working royal and limited experience of state affairs, which his eventual time as heir to the throne will give him the chance to learn about. The Prince of Wales, on the other hand, has been training for the role for over 60 years and has a deep understanding of the affairs of state.

Being king is a no mean feat, despite what republicans would say of the role of the Monarch. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will surely be thankful for the extra time they’ll have together before taking the reigns eventually.

If Prince William succeeded The Queen we’d also then have the problem of an infant heir. That is to say, if anything did happen to the Duke, it would be Prince George who succeeded and an infant King is never good for any Monarchy as history shows and doubtless, even less good in Monarchy in the 21st century.

Whilst opinion on Prince Charles can often vary year on year there is no doubt about his commitment. Despite what people say, he genuinely cares about the country he lives in (and will one day reign over) – he doesn’t just sit idly back whilst the world moves around him, he involves himself heavily in charity work and his passion for the environment and other important causes mean he’s using his position for good – there are many of his predecessors of whom that could not be said.

In conclusion, it’s fair to say whilst popularity may swing in favour of Prince William becoming king, the number of problems likely to be encountered in such a move outweigh possible benefits for Monarchy by a long shot.

photo credit (composite): chego-chego and Jason Simpson via photopin cc

  • Amanda

    I’m not a fan of some of things he has done, but I actually think he’ll make an excellent King. After all, he has had one of the best teachers you could ask for in HM. He may not be someone I’d ever be friends with (under different circumstances), but I have complete faith in his abilities to be a good and effective Sovereign.

    • denise maguire

      It has to be utterly disheartening to know that people dislike you so much. He has been preparing for this his whole life and to know that some of his subjects have so little faith in him has to be awful.

  • Truth

    He cares for nobody but himself, just like the rest of the so called nobility.

    • robert

      Royalty are not nobility. They are very different.

      • sixpack

        If you say so.

  • Debra Blondeel

    I think charles would make a good king, will and kate on the otherhand useless and self-centered not what the monarchy needs

    • The truth of it is: If he wanted to marry Camilla, he should have done so in the first place. Clearly HM didn’t feel as if she was appropriate material for the monarchy then, why would she feel as if CPB is appropriate material now. I don’t believe she wants to pass the crown to Charles, and I’m certain she’s mulling over all of her options before abdicating the throne. HM approved of William’s marriage to Kate, unlike Charles’ second marriage…If you feel Charles isn’t self-centered, you should watch the documentary about his misdeeds during his marriage to Diana. He is a hot mess…and ill-suited for rule.

    • StarLightRose

      DEBRA BLONDEEL…Just out of curiosity, what makes you say that William and Kate are useless and self-centered? :o/

  • While I understand the potential drawback to having an “infant king” if something (heaven forbid) should happen to William, the odds of that are astronomically low. Prince George wouldn’t be a active ruling king until age of maturity, as he would likely have a regent appointed to temporarily handle state matters until he is ready to handle the responsibilities of the throne. His Uncle Harry would be well-suited for the role of Prince Regent, and would be the obvious choice.

    Prince Charles, although he does have a few redeemable qualities, has placed an unforgivable black eye upon the monarchy with his choice to maintain a relationship with his mistress turned wife, Camilla. While I realize the throne is not a popularity contest, his divorce from Diana and decision to remarry this pretender to the throne, should be enough to disqualify his succession. I realize that kings used to murder their wives in order to remarry (Henry VIII), but those times have passed…and the continuance of that adulterous behavior into the future of this monarchy would set a poor precedent.

    Although I’m uncertain of what Queen Elizabeth’s decision will be, I’m sure this has weighed heavily upon her mind for some time now. She is well-aware of the drawbacks of both, but in the end, I pray she chooses William with the understanding that Harry could serve as Prince Regent if something should (heaven forbid) happen to William before Prince George is prepared to take the throne. It is a logical choice, and the right one for the future of this monarchy. They young royals have breathed some much needed life into their popularity, a fact that I’m sure HM appreciates.

    • Tom Edwards

      Well said. Like any good mother, there is no question Her Majesty loves her children, and would not want to deliberately hurt Charles. But she also has an enormous respect and love for “The Firm,” and I think she is intelligent enough to think the matter through logically and unselfishly, placing the greater interests of the country first. The Queen went through the crisis in the wake of Diana’s death, and she is aware that support for the monarchy is not guaranteed forever fixed and firm, and would want to do her best to ensure its survival.

      I think she deplores the “unforgivable black eye” you spoke of as much or more than anyone.

    • Ted Thomas Martin

      I agree, but I keep reading that the choice is not the Queen’s to make, (the Parliament does that). My hope is that Charles “declines” .

      • Or more accurately, abdicates the throne.

      • simhedges

        He can’t decline. His only option, if he wants to avoid the throne, is to ask 15 Parliaments to pass an appropriate law bypassing him, or else convert to Roman Catholicism.

      • simhedges

        He can’t decline. His only option, if he wants to avoid the throne, is to ask 15 Parliaments to pass an appropriate law bypassing him, or else convert to Roman Catholicism.

    • Yudi Nottingham

      My first favourite is Prince Harry

      • The Duchess of Milton

        It’s not Britain’s Next Top Model, Yudi.

    • The Duchess of Milton

      Oh God, what a pompous screed. Also, look up “pretender to the throne.” It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

      • Viktoria R. Medicine Elk

        Not to mention that she used the term remarry; Prince Charles was never married to Camilla before, so he could only marry her, not remarry her.

      • Haunani V. K. Kawananakoa

        Not to mention that she used the term remarry; Prince Charles was never married to Camilla before, so he could only marry her, not remarry her.

      • Haunani V. K. Kawananakoa

        Not to mention that she used the term remarry; Prince Charles was never married to Camilla before, so he could only marry her, not remarry her.

      • Haunani V. K. Kawananakoa

        Not to mention that she used the term remarry; Prince Charles was never married to Camilla before, so he could only marry her, not remarry her.

        • He “remarried”, after his prior marriage to Diana. He could have chosen NOT to marry Camilla – the better choice. After all, he wasn’t opposed to having her as a mistress (but we’ll brush those nasty bits under the rug, shall we?)

          • Jaie

            You mean the same as Diana wasnt opposed to sleeping with James Hewitt BEFORE Charles resumed his relationship with Camilla I assume.

        • Connie Stannard Lewis

          He was married before and got married again to someone else, so he got remarried!

    • OrbWeaver

      It did not work out with his first wife. He married the person he wanted. Who gives a poo? Prince Charles will be King.

    • OrbWeaver

      It did not work out with his first wife. He married the person he wanted. Who gives a poo? Prince Charles will be King.

  • JAMES SMITH

    Queen Elizabeth has no choice in who succeeds her. It is a matter of British law. All these stories about her choosing William over Charles are ridiculous nonsense/

    • Tom Edwards

      Parliament can alter the line of succession by passing a bill. And if The Queen gave word to the Prime Minister she was in favor of it, that could initiate or hasten the process.

      It’s a bit of a long shot, but by no means impossible.

      • Christopher-trier

        It would take 16 acts by 16 parliaments, actually. That is unless, of course, sub-national polities such as Queensland, Western Australia or Nova Scotia among others choose to exercise their sovereignty and have their own acts.

    • Anne Williams

      Quite so Mr Smith. I may not be alive to see it but I would say. Long Live our KIng, and have written to my GREEN Prince and told him how grateful I am for All he has done for ENVIRONMENTAL causes .The most important CAUSE of all and much more such as the Princes Trust in support of our young folk. . If he does NOT become KING I shall not be disappointed as his life has been dedicated to what matters most of all . He is just the man for our times.So Ironic so many in Britain talking about divorce etc when so many have done so or are just living together or worse. That rich that is. Viva Prince Charles , a man for our time of such environmental devastation.

  • Ted Thomas Martin

    All valid points, but I still prefer William, I never liked Charles. He is married to a divorced woman too, I suppose that does not matter much these days though. I hope the Queen hangs on another 5 years and William will have a bit more experience etc.

  • Yudi Nottingham

    Not a chance. HRH Prince Charles would be a great king after her majesty.
    Did anybody think about Prince Harry?
    I think he could well succeed if given a chance

    • I mentioned Harry as a potential for Prince Reagent if something should happen to William, and George suddenly cast upon the throne as an infant king.

    • StarLightRose

      YUDI NOTTHINGHAM…The line of succession goes like this; Charles, William, George, Charlotte, Harry, Andrew, Beatrice, Eugenie, and so on…That means Harry has no chance, what-so-ever of becoming King, even if he wanted too! :o/

  • Dorrie M Galea

    Queen Elizabeth decide herself on who should succeed her? True, a prospective monarch cannot be divorced, but he was a widower when he married Camilla. If they are legally married and they had a ‘blessing’?
    I cannot envisage Prince Charles being passed over. From what is going round, it is Camilla who is the fly (or is it flea) in the ointment. The word that keeps cropping up is ‘morganatic’?

    • The only thing standing in the way of Charles’ happily ever after with Camilla, was Diana’s life. So while you sing his accolades, I’m more inclined to question his motives.

    • denise maguire

      Charles wasn’t a widower. He and Diana were divorced. A widower is someone whose spouse dies WHILE married, not after the divorce.

  • Theo

    I can’t even believe you guys are really discussing this.
    I am Danish and I have been living in the UK for quite some time now. I am a monarchist and I think you should keep your Monarchy the way it is. One cannot say “I am royalist, but I prefer HRH William over HRH Charles.”, because that way you are messing with the very soul of the Monarchy – namely – the Succession and having an UNELECTED Head of State.

    • sixpack

      Chosen and elected are not synonyms.

  • Anne Williams

    A great many folk do think he has served the most important cause of all. Our environment and much else. It really is rich coming from so many who think nothing of having sex with all and sundry . woman who have many kids by several fathers. divorce at the drop of a hat. Life together without benefit of marriage and expect our monarch not to and marry a Virgin. That’s the biggest laugh of all. Please look at KING HUSSEIN of Jordan who divorced twice and remained the much loved King by his people and the highly respected across the world. The late Sainted Princess admitted she was very naive , in love with the position and a fantasy and lied into the bargain about how much she loved the countryside when she was a Sloaney at heart. So many untruths it does’nt bear thinking about. Whom did she canoodle with A VERY RICH drug taking man who broke his engagement as soon as his father ordered after having many love affairs. All completely forgotten. A film star, they all fell in love with and was called Duchess , something she always wanted to be. What if she had been just a very quiet plump , very plain Jane whom Prince Charles was happy with. What then.??

  • Anne Williams

    Oh really?? When most of his subjects lead such immoral lives, young folk sleeping around at will, divorcing willy nilly or just living together, having affairs left right and centre, swingers et al,.Free marriages , etc etc. ” Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. King Hussein divorced at least twice and remained a much loved and respected monarch by all his people. If you want a Saint better become a Republic and choose one instead.What would you all say if Prince Charles had tried out some woman for size first like Prince William etc have done??Prince Charles was always criticised as he was NOT a Pop Prince, liked Opera, and being an organic farmer and was interested in the important things in life.He was called an Old before his time etc.because he was not ‘Cool’ as the Princess was and rather shy from his boyhood.Moreover, there were banners to say, ” We want Diana NOT Charles” when the couple were together. If you want a POP princess and glamour film star , say so. I asked someone what if the Princess had been a plump, very plain but kind lady , what would you say then. I well remember how Sarah Ferguson was treated and what was said about her appearance even before anyone knew her. As for Kate , has anyone seen the photo of her naked posterior as her very short dress flew up. Thank heaven the Princess had more sense than that she was far too young and naive as she admitted herself. Did no one see how lovingly the Prince treated her when they were first married and how he bowed to her needs? As her lovers and others proclaimed she needed a partner who would dedicate himself to her needs 100% and full time. A Prince or King cannot do that nor can a most humans. Viva prince Charles a man for our times

  • sixpack

    Boy, you can sure tell that Prince Charles is in charge of the media in the UK. This article reeks of him. WILLIAM should ascend to the throne.

  • Jaie

    What a load of twaddle. Whilst parliament can (and recently has) changed the order of succession, why on earth should it?! Charles is an excellent Prince of Wales, and I have no doubt he will make an excellent King when his time comes. And Camilla will be an excellent Queen Consort!

  • Dave Tongue

    I strongly believe this will happen, but only because the Queen will live to at least 105 yrs of age. That will make Charles in his late 80’s and too old to be expected to take the role. The Queen though should NOT abdicate. My prediction is Charles will become Regent when the Queen is around 95yrs old as she can’t be expected to carry on working as hard as she does forever and when the sad day comes that Her Majesty does die, Charles will Abdicate due to age and the crown will move to William, who by then will be in his mid 50’s. So, just to clarify, I’m not saying Charles shouldn’t be King, I’m saying that he may too old for the job once he does get the chance. Diana was right, but only due to the fact that the Queen will live so long, hopefully. God Save The Queen

    • denise maguire

      are you saying that Charles will serve for a while? or that he will abdicate upon the Queen’s death?

      • Dave Tongue

        Charles will become King the minute Her Majesty stops. That is the norm, but would you want to take on that job in your 80s? The Queen is going to be around for a very long time yet, hopefully.

  • Paula Sutton-Pratt

    The fact the Prince Charles continued his relationship with Camilla even after marrying Princess Diana disqualifies him. Marriage to a divorced woman also disqualifies him immediately.

    • TT

      Her marital status prior to their marriage is irrelevant, she’s not the person succeeding, he is. And his marital status is constitutionally fine (widower, remarried).

      • denise maguire

        Why did Edward abdicate then? Because Wallis Simpson was a 2x divorcee and had carried on an affair, and had a child if the news is to be believed, with Edward while still married to her 2nd husband.

        • TT

          Because in 1936 the CofE did not allow remarriage after divorce. They do now.

  • Nesa

    But didn’t the Queens father only become king bc he married a divorced woman and they made him abdicate? How is the prince of Wales and his marriage to the duchess any different?
    Also, I’m doubting the Queen knew much about royal affairs at 20 something when she succeeded….

    • TT

      Because his first wife is dead, therefore his status is remarried widower, not remarried divorcee. There’s no constitutional problem with him being married to Camilla.

      • denise maguire

        I wish people would look up a word before using it. Again, Charles is NOT a widower. He was divorced from Diana when she died. The constitutional argument with Edward, was that she had 2 ex husbands.. both still living. He had to apply to Parliament to abdicate, there had to be a special act voted on. Edward had no interest in being King. Even if Edward and Wallis had children the title of Duke of Windsor would have no royal value.

        • TT

          The only constitutional problem with Charles remarrying would be that the Church doesn’t recognise remarriage after divorce (because it doesn’t recognise divorce, marriage is for life). However, because Diana died, in the eyes of the Church he is widowed (his wife, they aren’t recognising the civil divorce, remember, is dead). SO no problem remarrying.

    • denise maguire

      They did not MAKE him abdicate. He didn’t marry Wallis until 6 months after he abdicated. He chose to do it because he wanted to marry her and there was the constitutional issue of a divorced woman with 2 living ex husbands being queen. He never wanted to have the responsibility of being King.

    • GUEST

      EDWARD VIII ABDICATED BECAUSE PARILMENT WOULD NOT ALLOW WALLIS WALES TO BE ACKNOWLEGED AS QUEEN OR EVEN PRINCESS CONSORT. THE KING WOULD NOT ALLOW HER TO BE TREATED AS A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN. THE KING ABDICATED IN FAVOR OF HIS BROTHER BERTIE. BERTIE WAS THEN KING, HIS WIFE QUEEN AND HIS DAUGHTERS WERE THEN HEIRS TO THE THRONE.

  • Laurie

    Nobody wants his deceitful old butt as King (along with his homely mistress wife Camilla), just like no one wants that lying Hillary as President 🙂

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