Why is Princess Anne so low in the line of succession to the British Throne?

Let us explain!

Princess Anne, Princess Royal attends day 1 'Champion Day' of the Cheltenham Festival 2020 at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 10, 2020 in Cheltenham, England
Princess Anne is considerably low in the line of succession to the British Throne
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

She’s the Queen’s eldest daughter and has continuously proved herself to be one of the hardest working members of the royal family, yet Princess Anne will never sit on the throne.

Princess Anne has gone from second to fifteenth in line of succession to the British Throne, despite being the Queen’s eldest daughter and second-born child.

The Princess Royal is often referred to as one of the hardest-working royals, and was even crowned that back in 2020 - after undertaking a whopping 148 official engagements. 

Yet she’s behind 14 other members of the royal family when it comes to ascending the throne.

So why is Princess Anne so low in the line of succession to the British Throne?

Princess Anne, Princess Royal attend the 2020 Guinness Six Nations match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield on February 8, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland

Princess Anne is fifteenth in line to the British Throne 

(Image credit: MB Media / Contributor Getty)

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Why is Princess Anne so low in the line of succession to the British Throne?

Princess Anne was born in 1950 - during a time when being female meant being leap-frogged by men in the line of succession.

This meant that although Princess Anne was born second in line to the throne after her elder brother, Prince Charles, she was soon overtaken by her younger brother, Prince Andrew - who decided to step back from duties last year.

And The Princess Royal has continued to slip down the line of succession as Prince Charles and Prince Andrew have gone on to have their own children. 

Prince Charles’ eldest son, Prince William, is now second in line to the throne, with his children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis - all third, fourth and fifth in line respectively.

The Prince of Wales’ youngest son, Prince Harry, is sixth in line - despite having recently quit royal life. And the son he shares with Meghan Markle, Archie, is seventh. The birth of their second child will change the line of succession again.

Prince Andrew is in eighth position, while the two daughters he shares with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie are ninth and tenth respectively. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family

The Cambridge children are all in line to the British Throne 

(Image credit: Comic Relief/ Getty Images)

Princess Eugenie’s newborn son, August, is eleventh, followed by Princess Anne’s youngest brother, Prince Edward, at twelfth. 

Prince Edward’s two children, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Mountbatten-Winsdor, could all take to the throne before Princess Anne - currently sitting at fifteenth in line to the British throne. 

The old succession laws meant that the heir to the throne was always the first-born son of the monarch. 

Only when there were no sons, as in the case of the Queen's father George VI, did the crown pass to the eldest daughter.

Succession to the Crown Act 2013

The Queen has since changed the law to ensure sons and daughters of the monarch now have equal right to the throne. 

This change was made before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - who are set to move back to Kensington Palace - had their first child, and meant that if it had been a girl - she would have been our future Queen, no matter her gender.

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 is the reason Princess Charlotte has held her place in the line of succession to the British throne, despite having a younger brother, Prince Louis. 

princess charlotte

Princess Charlotte has retained her place in the line of succession to the British Throne

(Image credit: Getty)

Many people saw this as a welcome change as the previous laws were over 300 years old and were said to be “at odds” to our modern country.

On the change, then-Prime Minister David Cameron said, “The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic - this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we have become."