So what does this mean for the line of succession to the throne? Due to new laws of succession passed by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Prince Harry will now be fourth in line to the throne, which would have been the case whether Kate Middleton and Prince William’s royal baby was a boy or a girl.
Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to a deal with other Commonwealth countries to change the rules on the royal line of succession, which means male heirs will no longer be given priority.
If Kate and William's child had been a girl, this also meant that the child would not have been subject to the centuries-old law of primogeniture, which puts male heirs ahead of women. He will leapfrog Harry by being be the first born of first-in-line Prince Charles's first son.
The royal line of succession is as follows:
Current Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926)
1. Prince Charles (born 1948)
2. Prince William (born 1982)
3. Prince “Royal Baby” (born July 22, 2013)
4. Prince Harry (born 1984)
5. Prince Andrew (born 1960)
6. Princess Beatrice (born 1988)
7. Princess Eugenie (born 1990)
8. Prince Edward (born 1964)
9. Viscount Severn (born 2007)
10. Lady Louise (born 2003)
11. Princess Anne (born 1950)
The moves towards constitutional change became pressing in the wake of the Kate and William’s wedding in April 2011 in anticipation they would produce an offspring. The government and royal family were concerned that there could be a constitutional crisis if the royal couple had a baby girl before the law was changed. The couple’s announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting the couple's first child came after the deal was agreed.
In October 2011, David Cameron announced that the 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state had agreed to give female royals the same rights of succession as their brothers. Mr. Cameron said, “Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.”
The ancient rules of male primogeniture have long been viewed as outdated and discriminatory. Using those laws only allowed Elizabeth II to be queen because she didn’t have any brothers.
Proposed legislation will refer to the descendants of the current Prince of Wales, but the current generation of royals will not be affected because it will not be retrospective.