Why Prince William Will Never Be King Before Prince Charles

Updated: Jan. 05, 2022

Not even low approval ratings can change the line of succession.

It’s no secret that Prince Charles isn’t the most popular member of the royal family. In fact, a recent poll showed that he is everyone’s least favorite royal. And if you’ve been watching “The Crown” on Netflix, let’s just say you might agree.

Now rumors are circulating online and in tabloids that Queen Elizabeth II wants to disregard the line of succession and make Prince William and Kate Middleton the next King and Queen of England, instead of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. While that decision probably wouldn’t be met with much resistance from the public, it’s simply not true. Find out 10 other royal family myths that are totally false.

Even if the Queen wanted to change her successor, she doesn’t have the power to do so. It’s against the law, specifically the 1701 Act of Settlement, which requires that a monarch’s heir must be a direct successor and a Protestant. Prince Charles fits the bill on both accounts. Since Parliament instituted that act (and since the Queen has no power over political laws) Parliament would need to be the one to change it. And if British Parliament and the American government have anything in common, it’s that both take a very long time to pass new laws.

In addition to Prince Charles’ place in the line of succession, he’s also the most qualified royal family member to become king right now. As the next in line since he was four years old, he’s been training to take the throne for the better part of his life. He and his sister, Princess Anne, go to more royal engagements than anyone else in the family. Not even his marriage to Camilla could work against him, though both were divorced and the public knew Charles was unfaithful to Princess Diana. In case you need a refresher, this is what really happened between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Historically, the Church of England had strict rules on divorce and marriage, but in 2002, it amended its teachings to accept divorced followers who have remarried while a former spouse was still alive.

The rumors also fail to take a very important opinion into account: Prince William’s. Prince Charles’ firstborn son has never actually said he wants to take the throne early and probably wouldn’t even want the job before his father, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Right now, his focus is on his family. It’s a lot easier to address the needs of his kids than the needs of an entire kingdom. Next, check out 50 things you probably didn’t know about the British royal family.