The royal hierarchy, the only certainty after the death of Queen Elizabeth II | International
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The death of Queen Elizabeth II has shocked the entire world and has opened a new uncertain era in the United Kingdom after more than seven decades of stability in the crown. There are many more certainties around the changes that the death of the monarch will trigger in the royal hierarchy. For the first time in more than half a century there will be substantial changes in the line of succession. These changes will imply at the same time transfers of addresses, new income and titles. Of all of them, there is one that stands out above any other: Prince William is now at the head of the new line of succession to the throne.
Four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. That is the extended family that Queen Elizabeth leaves after her death. Her eldest son, Charles III, until now the Prince of Wales, is from the moment of her mother’s death the new King of England. He is 73 years old and his formal proclamation took place this Saturday in a solemn act at the Saint James Palace, on another historic day in the British capital. Camila, her second wife after the death of Diana of Wales in 1997, is now the queen consort.
His eldest son, Prince William, has moved one step closer to the position he is likely to inherit, that of King of England, since last Thursday. This can already be read on the royal family’s own website, which lists up to 23 people in the line of succession. William now becomes the Prince of Wales, as his father established in his first televised speech last Friday. Kate, his wife, will now hold the title of Princess of Wales, the same as her late mother-in-law, Diana, had in her day. That is to say, Guillermo ceases to be a member of the royal family and becomes the heir apparent heading the line of succession. His father was a child when he became heir and ever since he has dedicated his life to preparing himself to be king. The case of Prince William is very different. He is 40 years old and probably, due to the age of his father, he will end up being king sooner. William will become king the day his father dies or abdicates.
Guillermo, the face of the new generation
Guillermo is also the son of the late Diana of Wales and enjoys a certain popularity among the British, especially among the youngest. He is somehow the face of a new generation of monarchs. In recent times and at the hands of his popular wife, Kate, he has managed to carve out an image of a respectable and committed man. Despite some diplomatic bumps in recent official trips abroad, the heir appears in the number three position of the royal family in the ranking of popularity with 61%, according to data from YouGov, after Queen Elizabeth II and her wife, much admired by the British. Guillermo said goodbye to his grandmother this Saturday in an emotional statement: “He was by my side in the happiest moments. And he was by my side in the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be a while before life without my grandmother feels truly real.”
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Now he will inherit his father’s functions, including representing the king inside and outside the United Kingdom. It will also be decisive to see what happens to the legacy of organizations and foundations directed by her father, the current king. “As well as his ceremonial functions in the UK and abroad, the King has been instrumental in establishing more than 20 NGOs over 40 years. […]. Her Majesty has publicly supported a variety of causes related to the environment, rural communities, art, health and education, ”details the royal house.
William also becomes Duke of Cornwall and with that dukedom he inherits a huge fortune. The dukedom provided his father with around 23 million pounds (26.3 million euros) between 2020 and 2021. In total there are 526 square kilometers of land spread throughout England and Wales. It remains to be seen what Prince William intends to spend such a fortune on.
Until now, the new Prince of Wales managed his own foundations dedicated to supporting homeless youth, the conservation of the natural environment in Africa, the Earthshot environmental prize or mental health. The heir must now decide how to reconcile his old interests with the new requirements of his position and with his father’s inheritance. What seems clear is that the differences in character with his parent — he is often said to be more the son of his mother than his father — will probably make him a different Prince of Wales from the one Charles has been. III.
Guillermo and Kate had moved a few days ago to a house near Windsor, located about 40 kilometers from London, to be close to the queen. From now on, however, they will have to spend more time in London, where they still have their home in Kensington Palace, in the heart of London. They could also now, according to the British press, move to Windsor Castle itself. Similarly, King Charles III and his wife, Queen Camilla, could choose to move from Clarence House in central London to Buckingham Palace, just a few meters away.
Prince William’s titles
Prince William will also hold the titles of Earl of Chester, for being the eldest son of the monarch, and the Duke of Cambridge. In Scotland he will be the Duke of Rothesay, typical of the heirs to the throne. Other titles he will inherit from his father include Earl of Carrick, High Steward of Scotland, Lord of the Isles, and Baron of Renfew. Prince William will also retain the Earldom of Strathearn and remain Baron Carrickfergus.
The following in the line of succession are his children Jorge, Carlota and Luis. The British crown has not given priority to men over women in the line of succession since 2013, so the order of birth establishes the hierarchy of the claimants to the throne. Carlota is, therefore, the first woman in the British line of succession.
Enrique, the second and wayward son of Diana and brother of Prince William, would become the fifth in the line of succession. His son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (three years old) is sixth and her daughter Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor (15 months) is seventh. From now on, if Carlos so decided and Enrique accepted it, Archie and Lilibet could become prince and princess as they were grandchildren of the king (until now, they were great-grandchildren of the queen). At the moment, the monarch has not made any announcement in this regard.
Harry of England and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, confirmed that they were no longer active members of British royalty last year, after having moved their residence to the United States. Since then, the relations of the fifth in the line of succession with the rest of the royal family have become increasingly strained. Especially after Meghan aired accusations of racism against members of Buckingham Palace on television. In fact, Enrique traveled separately from the rest of the family to Balmoral, the Scottish castle where his grandmother died last Thursday. King Charles III, however, extended his hand to his son during his first speech as monarch on Friday, in what the British media interpreted as an attempt at family reconciliation.
The rigidity of the norms that regulate the line of succession and the historical changes have ended up giving rise to paradoxical cases. Thus, for example, Princess Anne, the only daughter of the queen and the also late Duke of Edinburgh, appears far behind her brothers, specifically in 16th place in the line of succession. That’s because her birth occurred decades before the 2013 legislative act amendment allowing women equal access to the British throne. The reform applies to those born after October 28, 2011. It appears behind her even that her brother, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and eighth in the line of succession, accused of sexual abuse. In 2019, the queen announced that her son would leave her duties after the scandal emerged. Last February, Prince Andrew reached an astronomical economic agreement to bury the civil lawsuit filed in the United States by Virginia Giuffre. She accuses him of having sexually abused her up to three times when he was 17 years old. The case is related to the scandal of businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who ended up committing suicide in his cell while awaiting trial.
Beyond the succession line order that is now relocated after the death of the queen, the role that each of the members of the royal family will have will depend largely on the plans of the new king, Carlos III. The British press has already anticipated that the monarch plans a “thinning” of the royal family. That is, it is proposed to reduce the number of essential and active members of the family to a minimum that would include the king and his wife, his children and his grandchildren. A slimmed-down monarchy fits the 21st century titled friday The Times, which advocated a reduction in royal spending and detailed that, for example, one year the royal house spent 92,000 pounds (more than 105,000 euros) just to change light bulbs in the palace. The finances of the royal house and also the fortune of the queen have recently been the subject of debate in this country. As far as the fortune of Elizabeth II is concerned, at the moment, it seems that she will give little to talk about. Discreet and reserved, the queen has wanted her will not to be made public and she has also taken that secret to her grave.
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