Two-year-old Princess Charlotte (who celebrates her third birthday on 2 May) has made history today. For the first time in the British Royal Family, a younger brother will not jump ahead of an older sister in the line of succession to the British throne. Charlotte will remain fourth-in-line ahead of her newborn baby brother who was born this morning in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London.
Charlotte, the only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is fourth behind her grandfather, The Prince of Wales; her father, The Duke of Cambridge; and her older brother, Prince George, who will turn five in July.
The change in the line of succession was first discussed after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011. The leaders of the Commonwealth realms met that year in Perth, Australia, where they came to an agreement to change the law from male-preference primogeniture (where men take precedence over women) to absolute primogeniture (allowing women to have equal rights to the throne). Her Majesty The Queen was in full support of the alteration to the succession laws.
All realm 16 governments had made agreements by December 2012 to implement the reform. This came just after the Duchess of Cambridge’s first pregnancy was announced. On 26 March 2015, it was announced that the change had come into effect; however, it was backdated to 28 October 2011 meaning any children born from that date on fell under absolute primogeniture. The line of succession did not change for those born before that date.