The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are about to welcome their first child, so here are some little-known facts about the third in line to the British throne.
Born to rule
Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s baby will follow William as king or queen of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the rules restricting the rights of succession to male heirs were changed.
All in the family
The baby will be the Queen’s third great-grandchild – and one in direct succession to the throne. The last time this happened was almost 120 years ago with Queen Victoria and her great-grandchild George VI – in 1895!
Who will find out first?
The Queen will be the first to be told whether The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have welcomed a baby Prince or Princess. William will make the first phone call to his grandmother on an encrypted phone once Catherine has given birth. Meanwhile, the couple’s private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton will phone UK Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver the happy news.
A life of duty
Catherine and William’s baby will shoulder a great deal of responsibility, one day becoming the head of the UK armed forces and the supreme governor of the Church of England. They’ll also take over as head of the Commonwealth and head of state in a number of countries – currently 54 and 16 nations respectively.
A traditional name
There are some traditions Catherine and William will keep to when picking a name for the future king or queen, including not usually being named after a living relative – so Elizabeth is probably out. The name John is avoided, as it’s thought to be unlucky. The baby will have the title of his or her Royal Highness.
Becoming king or queen
Just as 64-year-old Prince Charles is still waiting in the wings to become king, William and Catherine’s baby may not succeed to the throne until 2072 – when they’re 59 - if William lives to 90.
European heirs to the throne
William and Catherine’s baby will become the youngest on a long list of Europeans heirs to the throne including Swedish Crown Princess Victoria’s one-year-old, Princess Estelle, Princess Mary’s two-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine and five-year-old Princess Eléonore of Belgium.
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