Elizabeth's first-born, Charles, became king after she died on Sept. 8, 2022. Charles was officially crowned during his coronation at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday, May 6. And as he takes his place on the throne, members of his direct family, including his sons Princes William and Harry, are now higher in the line of succession.
PHOTOS: Britain's royal line of succession
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King Charles III is the current monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.
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In general, succession falls to the first-born child of the heir and their children, followed by the next oldest sibling of the heir and their offspring and so on. That's why, for instance, Charles' children and grandchildren are ahead in line of his oldest brother, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Other rules make the order more complicated.
Under British laws established in the late 1600s and early 1700s, the succession to the throne can be regulated by Parliament, which can remove monarchs for "misgovernment," according to the royal family's website.
In order to be king or queen, the sovereign must be in communion with the Church of England and must promise to uphold the Protestant succession.
In 2013, a law called the Succession to the Crown Act ended the centuries-old practice of a younger son superseding an elder daughter in the line of succession.
The act, which applies to royals born after Oct. 28, 2011, also ended the provisions by which those who marry Roman Catholics are disqualified from the line of succession. The changes came into full effect in March 2015.
As a result of the act Princess Charlotte of Wales, the daughter of William, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales, is ahead in the line of succession over her younger brother, Prince Louis of Wales.
As a ruler, the British monarch serves as the head of state, within the limits of the constitution.
A new sovereign ascends to the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.
After the monarch's death, the Accession Council, a ceremonial body, is expected to meet at St. James's Palace in London as soon as possible to formally proclaim the accession of the successor to the throne and witness the statutory oath.
If the monarch is still a child when succeeding to the throne, a regent is appointed to perform the royal functions until the monarch turns 18. The same can happen if the monarch is absent or incapacitated, according to the royal family's official website.