The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting another child any day now. With the birth of a royal baby come several important questions such as: Where is the baby in line to the throne and what will his or her name be?
The answer to the first question is surprisingly simple thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013. The BBC says that the law was rushed through Parliament ahead of the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first child. It states that, whether their second child is a boy or girl, he or she would be fourth in line for the throne. Prior to the rule change, had the baby been a girl, she would have yielded her position as fourth in line if William and Kate had any more boys. Now, gender is less of an issue.
Ahead of him or her is the couple’s first son, George Alexander Louis, at third in line. Their father, Prince William, is second and their grandfather, Prince Charles, is first. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II currently occupies the seat. The London Free Press has a helpful infographic to help readers.
Readers may have noticed that the male leaders of the family don’t necessarily have a surname. This is on purpose as the royal family deals more in titles than last names. While it’s ultimately up to the child’s parents, several traditions are in place that narrow the options to three surnames. The first, and by far the most likely, is: His/Her Royal Highness Prince/Princess (Name) of Cambridge.
While it’s a mouthful, it’s also in keeping with British tradition to use the house in which one’s royal parents live, in this case “Cambridge.” As for the title of “His/Her Royal Highness,” it’s pretty self explanatory given the family of which the child is a member. What makes this the most likely option is simply that this is what the royal couple chose to do with their first son’s title, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge (via ABC News).
However, there are other options. The prince often goes by William Wales, after his father’s house. There’s nothing stopping him and his wife from choosing to give the child a surname with deep meaning to their family. Another option would be to adopt the surname Windsor, which was given to all descendants of Queen Victoria, as established by George V in 1917. According to the family’s official website, in 1960, this name was given a bit more of a spin by Queen Elizabeth when she married the Duke of Edinburgh. The couple wanted their direct descendants to have a name distinct from the rest of the royal family. As a result, the official surname was changed to Mountbatten-Windsor, which William and Kate could give to their new baby if they so chose.