Can Prince Charles be skipped in the line of succession?

19 January 2014 - 11:00pm
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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.


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

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • R. Katie Kane

      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/

  • R. Katie Kane

    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” .

      • R. Katie Kane

        Or more accurately, abdicates the throne.

    • Yudi Nottingham

      My first favourite is Prince Harry


    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.

  • 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

    • R. Katie Kane

      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’?

  • 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.

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