There’s much more to it than just having a prestigious title. As the next in line to inherit the throne, the royal heir is entitled to many privileges.
They have also been restricted by ancient Royal traditions which have shaped the British monarchy’s order of succession.
Since the birth of the newest heirs: Prince George and Princess Charlotte, many of the Royal traditions have changed. But being next in line to the throne still comes with certain important customs. With Prince William and Kate Middleton expecting their third child, The Royal UK brings you seven things you may not know about life as a Royal Heir.
LAST NAME? NO NEED.
Any Royal with the title ‘His Royal Highness Prince’ or ‘Her Royal Highness Princess’ doesn’t need to use a surname at all. Before 1917, British Royals used the name of the house or dynasty to which they actually belonged. But after this date, George V made indeed a drastic change when he adopted Windsor as the surname for his family.
Also read: Does the royal family have a last name? If yes, what?
In 1960, Queen Elizabeth made another change. She decided that her children would use Mountbatten-Windsor. This, so as to reflect Prince Philip’s name as well. Unless Prince Charles chooses to alter this when he becomes King, he will continue to be of the ‘House of Windsor’. Also, his grandchildren will use the surname ‘Mountbatten-Windsor’ only.
EDUCATION OF A ROYAL IN SCHOOL WAS UNHEARD.
When Prince Charles enrolled at Hill House prep school in London, he was the first Royal heir not to have a private tutor. Charles and Diana continued this trend by sending Princes William and Prince Harry to the Wetherby prep school before their time at Eton. Now, Prince George has started his education. He attends Thomas’s, a private primary school in southwest London.
MALE HEIRS NO LONGER TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER THE FEMALE HEIRS.
In 2013, legislation dating back to the 17th century was amended under the ‘Succession to the Crown Act’. This particular amendment declared that the order of succession now is determined by the order of their birth, rather than gender. So, Prince Wiliam and Kate’s second born, Charlotte, could one day wear the crown herself.
But, particularly if her brother, Prince George, doesn’t have children. Charlotte will remain fourth in line to the throne, ahead of her uncle Prince Harry, will be the sixth in line when William and Kate welcome their third born. This is regardless of whether or not William and Kate go on to have another son.
ROYAL HEIR NEEDS QUEEN’S PERMISSION TO MARRY.
In 1772, King George II passed the Royal Marriages Act. It stated that his descendants could not marry anybody without the reigning monarch’s consent. This law has indeed overshadowed British Royals in recent history. Most notably, when King Edward had to abdicate his throne in order to marry the divorced Wallis Simpson.
Also read: The 13 oddest rules the royal family must follow.
Despite the fact, that Queen Elizabeth never formally prevented her sister Princess Margaret from marrying Captain Townsend, their marriage was never able to take place. Fortunately, the ‘Succession to the Crown Act’ changed this. So, only the first six in line to the throne will need the reigning monarch’s permission to marry.
IMPOSSIBLE FOR A ROYAL HEIR TO RENOUNCE THEIR RIGHT IN THE LINE OF SUCCESSION.
However, as The Royal UK found out, the British Parliament does have a say in who succeeds the monarch under a doctrine known as ‘The Parliamentary Supremacy’.
It is, therefore, not the Queen who determines who succeeds her, but the Parliament. Once reigning, a monarch can abdicate from the throne, as King Edward VIII did in 1936.