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How the birth of Prince George made history for Queen Elizabeth II

The birth of a new family member always brings joy but for Queen Elizabeth II, the arrival of her first great grandson also made history. For the first time in over a century, a Monarch saw three generations of heirs in line for the throne. The direct succession was guaranteed into the 22nd century.

The birth of George Alexander Louis, on July 22nd 2013 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, meant that for the first time since the reign of Queen Victoria, a trio of direct heirs were in position to inherit the Crown.

The last time that three generations lined up for the throne was at the end of the 19th century. On June 23rd 1894, the birth of Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David had ensured Victoria had three kings in waiting for her crown. Edward, son of the man who would become George V and the grandson of the still future Edward VII, ensured Victoria’s line would endure. It was a striking achievement for a woman whose parents had married during a rush to produce an heir for the British throne when George III’s only legitimate grandchild, Princess Charlotte, had died.

Elizabeth II’s path to the throne had been dramatic in its own way, too. The baby whose birth had given Victoria three direct heirs would become Edward VIII and would abdicate his throne in December 1936, passing it to his brother, Albert, born in 1895. He reigned as George VI and was succeeded by his elder daughter, Elizabeth, in 1952.

Queen Elizabeth II’s first great grandson was given the name used by her father to rule, a nod to a man who was credited with saving the Monarchy when it teetered dangerously following the Abdication.

In October 2013, another moment of history was produced when Elizabeth II posed for a photo with her three heirs on the day of George’s christening. The little prince was cradled by his father, Prince William, while his own father, Charles, stood proudly by.

Prince George was third in line to the throne until September 8th 2022. On the death of Elizabeth II, George’s grandfather became King Charles III and the young prince moved up to second in line.

He celebrates his tenth birthday on July 22nd 2023.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.