Spare Heir

By Dana Zillgitt, Regular Contributor

I will always have a soft spot for the English royal family. Having grown up during the tumultuous 90s in London, they’re my favorite family to watch. I remember wanting to be just like Princess Diana when I was a kid-until that fateful night in Paris. Do I still hold a grudge? Potentially. And while her funeral procession may have gone down my street growing up, I am more focused on the current exciting affairs of this fabulous royal family.


As many of us know, Prince William and Duchess Kate had their 2nd child over the weekend, Charlotte. And, one of her middle names is Diana- cue the heart strings being tugged and my childhood dying all over again anytime. There was a huge hope around the world that the spare heir would be a baby girl, as it’d be the first time since the current Queen that any form of heir would be female.

But why could this be polarizing? Why do we even care, as Americans, that there’s such thing as an “heir and a spare” rule when the royal family seemingly has no power whatsoever? And what does this rule even mean for us common folk Americans?

There’s a hierarchy to the throne and a surprising amount of rules.  The first born-no matter what gender-will be first in line for the throne (unless they choose to defect, marry a divorce, or go into the private sector). In current news, Prince Harry is currently 5th in line for the throne, even though he’s older than his niece and nephew. Why is this? Because his brother William had children, automatically making his kids next in the line to the throne. This is all because he was higher in order than his brother, solely due to birth order.

SO why is having a spare heir so important? In the case of William and Henry, what if something happened to William and his children weren’t ready to rule? Or what if something happened to Charles (their father) and William wasn’t ready to rule? That’s where the spare comes in. Having a spare heir is important just in case something happens to the primary. There is always a backup to the throne, even if the throne is solely seen as a face or image more than anything else.

What does this mean for Charlotte, the new spare heir? In case anything happens to her brother, she’ll be the new Queen. And the bond she’ll have with her brother will be unfathomable, because who else will really understand what it means to be in line for the throne in today’s day and age? So it’s true, she’s in line for the throne. She’s a new princess, but will she ever be a Queen? Only time will tell. 

Let's Chat! What do you think about Princess Charlotte's heir to the throne? How do women in power help girl culture? Tell us what you think!

About Dana

DANA_ZILLGITT.jpgDana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.



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