The royals are prepping for a new arrival, but England’s most famous family is doing more than just baby-proofing a palace and getting royal onesies in order. PopSugar reports that when the new baby arrives, Princess Charlotte won’t have to worry about her place in line for the throne. Thanks to some revisions made to the Act of Settlement of 1701, the princess’s place as fourth heir to the throne won’t change, even if Duchess Catherine, commonly known as Kate Middleton, delivers a little boy.
When the Act of Settlement of 1701 was passed, it allowed boys to jump ahead of girls in royal succession (ugh). It’s called male primogeniture, and fans of The Crown can expect to see it play out like this: Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter (and second born), was fifth in line. After Princes Andrew and Edward were born, however, Anne slipped down to fifth in line.
Perhaps seeing just how old-fashioned that all was, the Succession to the Crown Act assented in 2013, and the act was officially put into place in 2015. PopSugar notes that this was just two months before Charlotte’s birth.
The new act ensures Charlotte will maintain her position in line. Applying to all royals born after Oct. 28, 2011, the Succession to the Crown Act officially does away with male primogeniture. Hooray! So, when the new baby does arrive, he or she will be fifth in line, right ahead of Prince Harry. Charlotte’s not completely in the clear, however: All of her big brother’s kiddos will get to jump her spot, though it’ll be a while (or maybe never) before anyone has to deal with those intricacies.
The Succession to the Crown Act didn’t just update the royal succession rules. It also made it possible for any royals to marry a Catholic without giving up their royal aspirations. If that sounds confusing, just know that this rule was put into place because the person on the throne is also the head of the Protestant Anglican Church of England (as fans of Henry VIII and The Tudors will remember). The act also did away with an antiquated rule that stated any royals other than the first six in line had to ask the sitting monarch for permission to marry the person of their choice.
Well, it sounds like these were some much-needed royal rule edits; and it looks like Meghan Markle isn’t the only hot new thing shaking up the royal MO. With these new rules, Buckingham Palace is taking baby steps toward bringing the monarchy into the modern day. As for that priest praying for Prince George to be gay, well — only time will tell on that one.