Birth secures line of succession for third generation

The birth of the prince means Britain’s monarchy has three generations of heirs to the throne for the first time since 1894.

The last time the monarch met her great-grandson was when Queen Victoria was alive at the same time as her son Edward (later Edward VII), his son George (later George V), and his son Edward.

Christopher Warwick, royal biographer, noted: “Obviously the great thing is that the new royal birth secures the line of succession for the third generation, which is the first time since 1894, since the birth of Queen Victoria’s great-grandson, the future Edward VIII. We have got the sovereign and three heirs living in Charles, the heir presumptive in William, and now the baby prince — from that point of view it is good news.

“It is also great news for William and Kate that their first child is safely born.”

Charles Kidd, editor of peerage reference Debretts, said: “It is really good news that there is a further generation in the direct line of succession and that it is a healthy male child. I would have been saying the same thing if it had been a girl but I think that for traditionalists the fact that it is a boy makes things easier.”

Historian David Starkey said: “For the very first time it has made no difference what the gender of the child is — it is the heir and it is as simple as that. The fact that it is a boy postpones the idea of authentic female succession. It means that the effect of the act that everybody has been labouring over [change to previous law under which the first male child would succeed even if there was an older sister] will not now be felt for 100 years.”

A run of four kings succeeded Queen Victoria — Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, and George VI — before Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1952.

Did you know...

* The new prince will likely be made duke of Cornwall in the future. As part of tradition the eldest son will receive a pair of white gloves, gilt spurs and greyhounds, a pound of pepper and cumin, a bow, 100 silver shillings, firewood, and a salmon spear.

* Queen Anne was pregnant 17 or 18 times. She gave birth to six babies, three died within 24 hours of birth. Her two toddler daughters died of smallpox within hours of each other in 1687. Her son William died aged 11 in 1700.

* Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover.

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