Politics

Kate Middleton is Pregnant: What Does that Mean for Line of Succession?

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The news has finally arrived: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child. 

Many have been speculating when Kate Middleton and Prince William would have a baby. Tabloids were the first to stir up rumors that Middleton was pregnant. But it didn't take long for the couple's official website to post an article explaining why Middleton made a visit to the hospital recently.

According to the article, "the Duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter."

After this announcement, many have wondered what that means for the line to the British throne. Will the baby be a future monarch? Does it matter if the baby is a girl or boy?

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Usually, a girl is only in the line of succession if she is the only child, or if she has no brothers. Regardless of being first-born, if the girl had brothers, the oldest one of those siblings would take her place in the line of succession. 

However, recent changes to the rules of succession state that if Middleton has a girl, she will be in the line of succession no matter what. Meaning, if the Duke and Duchess have sons afterward, it will have no affect on the baby girl's path to becoming a monarch. 

In May, the queen confirmed that the British government would "work with commonwealth countries to bring in a new royal succession law." The law would apply to descendants of the current Prince of Wales, Charles, who is Prince William's father. 

But the child will likely live many years before taking the reign, as it has a few people ahead of him/her. 

After the queen, the next person to take the throne is Prince Charles. After Charles, Prince Williams will take the throne. Then Prince William's son or daughter is next. 

Prince Henry, William's brother, is 4th and will be after the child in the line of succession once it is born.