Lady Louise Windsor And James, Earl Of Wessex Must Follow This Antediluvian Rule

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Lady Louise Windsor And James, Earl Of Wessex Must Follow This Antediluvian Rule

Despite being four years older than her brother James, the Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor finds herself further down in the line of succession to the British throne due to an outdated and traditional law.

The 20-year-old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, currently studying at the University of St Andrews, occupies the 16th position in line to the throne, while her 16-year-old brother James is placed above her at 15th.

This discrepancy arises from the fact that at the time of Louise’s birth, the Succession to the Crown Act had not yet taken effect, thereby upholding male primogeniture, which allows a younger son to supersede an elder daughter in the line of succession.

Changes to the Succession to the Crown Act

The Succession to the Crown Act was implemented in 2013, merely three months before the Princess of Wales welcomed her son, Prince George. Speculation arose during Princess Kate’s first pregnancy, as there were rumors suggesting she might have been expecting a girl.

This speculation stemmed from the timing of the law change, occurring just before her delivery, which would have safeguarded the first-born’s position in the line of succession had George been a girl.

This act, aligned with the 2011 Perth Agreement, amended the laws governing succession to the British throne, ensuring that the eldest child, irrespective of gender, takes precedence over any siblings.

Louise and James’s Titles

When Louise and her brother, James’s parents married in 1999, they reached an agreement with the late Queen that their children would be styled as offspring of an Earl rather than as Princes. Consequently, they were referred to as Lady Louise Mountbatten Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

However, James’s title transitioned to James, Earl of Wessex when his father Edward assumed the title of Duke of Edinburgh on his 59th birthday in March 2023, following the passing of both of his parents, the late Queen and Prince Philip.

Both Louise and James were bestowed with HRH titles at birth, which they had the option to use upon turning 18. Thus far, Louise has opted not to utilize hers.

Will the Edinburgh children work in the future?

Their mother Sophie has previously spoken about her and her husband’s down-to-earth attitude towards raising children, telling The Sunday Times: “We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living.

“Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”

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