Who Is Really in Charge of Deciding the Next King or Queen?

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When it comes to the British royal family, we’d like to consider ourselves experts (or at least well-versed), especially in regards to the line of succession.

Sure, we know Queen Elizabeth currently holds the title and Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George are the next in line to eventually sit on the throne. But is descent the only thing that determines the next king or queen? Well, apparently not. 

After combing through a lot of royal jargon on the official website of the royal family, we learned that the British Parliament also plays a major role.

According to the site, “The succession to the throne is regulated not only through descent, but also by Parliamentary statute.” Thanks to something called the Act of Settlement, succession to the throne can be regulated by Parliament, and a Sovereign can be deprived of his/her title through misgovernment. This pretty much means that if the next in line to inherit the throne does something the government really doesn't like, Parliament can take away their title and pass the monarchy along to someone else. 

Although rare, this kind of thing has happened in the past. Take, for example, when Parliament appointed James II’s daughter Mary and her husband William to king and queen instead of his young son. 

There are also a handful of conditions that must be met to become the reigning monarch. For example, being a Roman Catholic is a “no no.” In addition, the Sovereign must also be in communion with the Church of England and “uphold the Protestant succession” (aka keep the long line of Protestant rulers going).

So, while the LOS is important, it isn’t always necessarily enough. 

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