Assuming he hadn’t abdicated. And assuming births and deaths in the royal family had otherwise remained unchanged.
Edward died in 1972 and was childless. His brother Albert, who actually succeeded him in 1936, died before him in 1952 (and was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth). Edward had one surviving sibling, Henry, when he died. Would Edward have been succeeded by his brother Henry or by his niece Elizabeth? And if it was Henry, who would have succeeded him when he died in 1974 - Elizabeth or Henry’s son Richard?
Elizabeth. Henry was younger than Albert, otherwise, he would have become King when Edward abdicated. (Unless there was a sibling older than Henry-nope, just his sister Mary, and she would have come after her brothers and THEIR offspring).
If that had been the case, then yes Henry’s son would have succeeded him.
The offspring of the next in line always take precedence of the siblings of.
As **Freddy ** notes, had Edward VIII reigned until 1972, the descendants of the Duke of York (Edward VIII’s next brother) would have taken precedence over the Duke of Gloucester and his descendants. So not only would the current Queen have taken the throne, but her four children, as well as Princess Margaget and her two children, would all have got the gig before any of the Gloucesters got a look-in.
A childless monarch of England last happened with William IV, the 3rd son of George III. King William did have two daughters, but they died in infancy, and when he died in 1837 he was without descendants. His next younger brother, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the 4th son of George III, had already died in 1820, so the next in line was Edward Augustus’s daughter, Princess Victoria, who became Queen of the United Kingdom.
Law in other countries varies, as this case illustrates. William IV was also king of Hanover, but Hanoverian law differed from UK law, so that women could not take the throne – this was Salic law, mentioned in a different context of inheritance to the English throne in Shakespeare’s Henry V. So in 1837 the thrones of the UK and Hanover separated, and the 5th son of George III, Ernest Augustus I, became King of Hanover.
Under UK law, females don’t have equal rights to inherit the throne: all their brothers, both older and younger, take precedence over them. However, the last time this mattered was in 1901, when Queen Victoria died. Her eldest child, Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, was still alive (and died a few months later). If females had equal rights, she who have inherited the throne as Queen Victoria II, and then her oldest son, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, would have become King William V of the UK. Instead, Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s second child, and oldest son, took the UK throne.
One suspects that if this had happened, World War I would either not have taken place at all, or would have been very different indeed, with the UK and Germany having the same monarch.
Back before the princes were born, I remember there being some talk about changing the royal line of succession to allow for a firstborn daughter inheriting. Since both of Charles’s children turned out to be male, it became a moot issue for this last generation; I don’t know if anything ever came of it, or if the matter was simply dropped.
The rule of inheritance in Britain, barring a few old titles of nobility that are required to remain in the male line, is one of sex-discriminating primogeniture. The order of inheritance is always that older sons inherit before younger, sons inherit before daughters, daughters before brothers, brothers before sisters, sisters before uncles, and uncles before aunts. If an adult son or daughter has offspring and predeceases the parent, the offspring inherit in the same fashion. At present, the order of inheritance of the U.K. throne is:
Prince Charles, QE2’s eldest son.
Prince William, Charles’s eldest son
Prince Harry, Charles’s 2nd son
Prince Andrew, QE2’s second son
Princess Beatrice, Andrew’s daughter
Prince Edward, QE2’s third and youngest son
(Edward’s kids, whom I don’t remember names of)
Princess Anne, QE2’s only daughter
Anne’s son’s kids if any
Anne’s daughter’s kids if any
the late Princess Margaret’s son (nephew of QE2)
His kids and grandkids if any in the same sequence
Her kids and grandkids if any in the same sequence
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who is the son of QE2’s father’s next-oldest brother
heirs to Gloucester, in the same sequence
The heirs to Kent, in the same sequence
Princess Alexandra (QE2’s aunt), if she’s still alive, and then her kids, in the same sequence
Oddly enough, King Harald of Norway (eldest grandson of QE2’s eldest great-aunt)
Given the large number of healthy, potentially childbearing, people in line before Harald, it seems extremely unlikely that there will ever be a personal union of the thrones of the UK and Norway. Unless some British and Norwegian prince and princess marry in the future – but these days, princes and princesses usually marry commoners, not members of foreign royal families.
Lady Louise is legally a Princess but her parents have chosen to style their children as those of an Earl rather than a Prince. Princess Anne’s children are not entitled to royal titles as they are the children of a female descendant.
This comes up as an issue from time to time. A private Member’s bill on the subject was introduced as recently as last year and a similar, better-publicised attempt had been made by Lord Archer in 1998. Not that private Member’s bills ever stand much of a chance of getting passed.
On both occasions, the Queen indicated that she was willing to accept whatever Parliament decided and there have been off-the-record indications that she had already decided in principle that the change should be made at some point. As no one really opposes the idea anyway, it’s just a matter of it making enough of a practical difference to justify a government-sponsored bill. The big problem with the private Members’ initiatives has always been that the UK can’t really legislate on the issue without first coordinating things with the other Commonweath monarchies. But if William’s first child is a daughter, the chances are that the change would be made with almost no fuss at all.
Females have never had equal rights to the throne in British/English/Scottish history or law, but there was one instance in where an older daughter succeeded instead of her younger brother. When James II/VII was deposed/abdicated his son, James, did not become king. His oldest daughter was made queen as Mary II alongside her husband William III. Victoria also had brothers, but they were from her mother’s first marriage.
The problem with introducing equal cognatic primogeniture isn’t getting it passed through the UK parliament, but getting it passed by the other 15 countries that share the monarch. Also would it only apply to those born after it was passed? That would only cause problems if William and Harry both died without issue. It will only become an urgent issue when William marries.
I’m not sure that it would be a problem in Australian law, even if the Australian Parliament does nothing in response to a change in succession law enacted by the UK Parliament. The Australian Constitution assumes that the UK monarch is the Australian monarch (calling that person “the Queen”, since the monarch was Victoria when the Constitution was enacted).
So if the UK Parliament decided that Roman Catholics could succeed, and the Prince of Wales changed his religion and became a Catholic, he’d still become King Charles III of the UK and of Australia on his mother’s death. On the other hand, if he became a Catholic without a change in the law, then he’d become neither king of the UK nor king of Australia (even though there might be an argument that the UK law of succession was in conflict with Australian law forbidding discrimination on the grounds of religion).
Is this a joke or a misunderstanding? Husbands of queens regnant are either kings in their own right (as in the case of William III, or of King Phillip II of Spain, husband of Queen Mary I) or princes consort (as in the case of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, or the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the present queen)
The point behind the Glorious Revolution was that James II was not only a Catholic but was believed to be seeking to bring England back to the Catholic fold, something the overwhelming majority of Parliament and the citizens did not want. His infant son’s birth was what sparked the Revolution, as Prince James (later the Old Pretender) was to be brought up as a Catholic. Formerly it had been planned that they would merely wait out James II’s reign, as his two daughters were both Protestants.
Unlike every other accession (save the debatable circumstance of Mary I and Philip II of Spain, whose claim to be King of England was largely recognized only by himself and his court), William III ascended the throne as co-monarch with his wife, who as James II’s elder daughter was Protestant heir of line. How this came to be was fairly simple if bizarre: William’s mother was a daughter of Charles I, making William the next in line to the English throne in his own right after Mary II and Anne. Anne simply agreed to move one down in the line of succession, providing that William and Mary would ascend as co-monarchs with whichever one survived the other (William, in point of fact) becoming sole monarch, and to be succeeded, in the absence of any children, by Anne – which is exactly how it worked out.