Sixth in line to the British Throne

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Just as President George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush became known as 41 and 43 for their place in the long line of U.S. Presidents, so too has Prince Harry become known as “sixth in line” for the British throne. Sixth is the highest he can hope to be now. Each child born to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and eventually those children born to George, Charlotte, and Louis, will all push Prince Harry further down the line of succession. Today, I’m looking at some of the royals who have occupied sixth place in the past.

Prince George of Cambridge (the 19th Century Prince)


George, later Duke of Cambridge, was Queen Victoria’s 1st cousin.  In 1837 he was the sixth in line to the throne at the time of his Uncle, King William IV’s death. Victoria’s father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent,  was the elder brother of George’s father–hence Victoria ascended to the throne when their Uncle William died. Today’s little Prince George of Cambridge is related to him via Queen Victoria as well as through Queen Mary whose mother was his sister. “Old” George Cambridge also had an uncle who was Duke of Sussex. He had red hair and made a disastrous first marriage, just like today’s Duke of Sussex–Prince Harry!


Princess Alice


In 1853, Princess Alice, Queen Victoria’s second daughter, was sixth in line to the throne. At that time, sons came before daughters in the succession. She is the Great-Grandmother of Prince Philip and the mother of the murdered Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. She was number 23 in line when she died.


Lady Alexandra Duff (later Princess Alexandra of Fife)


In  January 1901, when Edward VII became King, his granddaughter, then Lady Alexandra Duff was sixth in line to the throne after her Uncle George (later George V) and his first four children. Alexandra and her sister, Maud, were the last members of the Royal family to be only “Her Highness,” not “Her Royal Highness” after her Grandfather elevated them to the status in 1905. At the time of her death, she was 17th in line and was officially known as “Her Royal Highness Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife“–her status having undergone yet another upgrade when she married her first cousin.

Princess Mary (later The Princess Royal)


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Princess Mary with her elder brothers, [left to right] Prince Henry, Prince Albert (seated–future George VI), Prince Edward (in uniform–future Edward VIII), Prince John (seated wearing a dress), and Prince George

When her father George V became king in 1910 Princess Mary was the sixth in line to the throne, after her five brothers–the future kings Edward VIII, George VI, and Princes Henry, George and John. She was a nurse during World War I before marrying the Earl of Harewood. You can read more about them here in my post,  Cross-Generational Romance in the Royal Family. When Mary died in 1965 she was 17th in line.


The Earl of Harewood

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The future Queen Elizabeth II with her paternal first cousin the future Earl of Harewood and a nanny.

In the 1920’s Princess Mary’s elder son, King George V’s eldest grandchild, George Lascelles, later Earl of Harewood, was sixth in line to the throne. By the time he died, aged 88, he was around #40–not far above the Norwegian Royal Family.


Prince George, Duke of Kent

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King George V and Queen Mary had seven children–six of whom lived to adulthood. Prince George, named for his father, was the sixth child. In 1935, and until his father died in January of 1936, he was sixth in line to the throne. His son, Edward, today’s Duke of Kent, was a newborn and ranked seventh. George was killed in a flying accident during World War II, he had actually gone up a notch to 5th in line, owing to his Uncle’s Abdication.

Prince Edward of Kent

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In 1936, the Year of Three Kings,  until Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication, his namesake Godson-nephew, Prince Edward of Kent, was sixth in line to the throne. Upon his father’s death in 1942, he became possibly the youngest Duke in the country at that time. Today the “other” Prince Edward is 37th in line.

Prince William of Gloucester

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William’s father, the last Prince Harry [Henry], was the Queen’s uncle. William was born fourth in line to the throne in 1941. When he died in 1972, another air crash victim, he was ninth–after his father and Princess Margaret’s children.

Prince Richard of Gloucester

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Prince Richard of Gloucester (in glasses), his mother the Duchess, and his elder brother, Prince William.

Better known today as the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard was in the 6th position when his Uncle, King George VI, died and his first cousin, Elizabeth became Queen. Today he is 27th in line after the grandchildren of the late Princess Margaret.

Princess Margaret

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Fourth in line at the time of her birth in 1930, the Queen’s little sister, was expected to move farther down the line of succession–hopefully by the birth of children to her uncle, the Prince of Wales, as well as by the birth of a longed-for son for her own parents. Neither happened. Margaret, like Prince Harry, was the “spare” for many years. She was pushed down to sixth by the birth of Peter Phillips, the Queen’s first grandchild, in 1977.  By the time Margaret, died on February 9, 2002, she was way down at 10th after all of her sister’s children and grandchildren.


Princess Eugenie of York


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Princess Eugenie was sixth in line to the throne from the day of her birth in 1990 until the birth of her cousin Prince William’s first child, Prince George in 2013. She has been demoted two more times with the birth of George’s siblings. Prince Harry’s child also pushed her down one rung. Today she is 10th.


Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales, Duke of Sussex


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For the foreseeable future, Prince Harry will remain sixth in line to the throne until either the Duchess of Cambridge has another baby or until her children grow up, marry, and start their own families.

One thought on “Sixth in line to the British Throne

  1. Interesting, and the photos are fun too. Really interesting that there was an earlier George of Cambridge, and his similarities to today’s … ummm … situation with uncle Harry. Fascinating to think how one’s “number” in regards to succession changes throughout their life with different changes elsewhere in the family.


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