Fourth’s a Charm

Article by: Angelo Manaloto

On May 2, 2015, in the confines of the Lindo Wing of the Saint Mary’s Hospital, weighing 8 pounds and 3 ounces, lay the baby now fourth in line to the throne of the British monarchy. Having sought the blessings of both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—with the most poignant of gestures—have bestowed upon the princess the name Charlotte Elizabeth Diana in commemoration of the most important women in their lives.

It is customary for British royalty to look to their past to aid in nomenclature, with the repetitions in name designed to perpetuate one of the world’s oldest institutions. Named after her late grandmother Princess Diana and her great grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the new princess also pays tribute to her grandfather, Prince Charles. Even before her birth, Prince Charles had no problem in publicly conveying his desire for a granddaughter; the name Charlotte was chosen as it is a feminine version of Charles. Moving away from the tributes to the royal lineage, the princess’s name also evokes a wealth of connections across the Middleton family, striking a perfect balance between both sides of her family.

The birth of William and Kate’s second child, however, does not stand merely as a symbolic facet of centuries of tradition. With the birth of Princess Charlotte comes a change in the line of succession. The newly-born princess, who is now fourth in line to the throne, has bumped her uncle Prince Harry and thirteen other members of the royal family down the pecking order. It is significant to note, however, the importance of the Succession to the Crown Act in Princess Charlotte’s future. Under this act, princes no longer take precedence over princesses in the pecking order, thereby bringing an end to a system partial to male primogeniture since the British Parliament passed the Act of Settlement in 1701. This essentially means that the princess will remain fourth in line, regardless of whether her parents have another son in the future.

On May 5, Queen Elizabeth arrived in Kensington Palace to meet her great granddaughter for the first time. Royal protocol dictates that appointments with the Queen must be so that Her Majesty does the receiving. This time, however, Princess Charlotte—not even a week old—was the one who granted the Queen an audience. And if that isn’t royalty, what is?

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