LONDON (Reuters) - The baby born to Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, will be third in line to the British throne, regardless of gender, following a change in the rules of royal succession.
The heir apparent is the queen’s son, Prince Charles, and the second in line is his eldest son, Prince William. The new member of the royal family will push Prince Harry, William’s younger brother, into fourth place, with Prince Andrew, Charles’s younger brother, ranked fifth.
Here is a look at the five people in line to follow Queen Elizabeth, who has been Britain’s monarch for 61 years:
1. PRINCE CHARLES, the Prince of Wales: The eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Born on November 14, 1948, he became heir to the throne on the accession of his mother in 1952 and is the longest serving heir apparent in British history.
Charles, educated at the private Gordonstoun school and Trinity College, Cambridge, served with the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1976.
He married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 and the couple had two sons - William in 1982 and Harry in 1984. They divorced in 1996 after highly publicized marital problems and affairs. Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
In 2005, Charles, now 64, married divorcee Camilla Parker Bowles, now 66. She took the title Duchess of Cornwall and has gradually won public favor, helping to repair Prince Charles’s popularity, which suffered after Diana’s death.
Since the 1980s, Prince Charles has been a champion of the environment, converting his country estate Highgrove to organic farming and in 2010 writing a book, “Harmony: A Vision for Our Future”, about changing the course of environmental destruction.
2. PRINCE WILLIAM, the Duke of Cambridge: The eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Born on June 21, 1982, at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, he was educated at Eton College and the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he met his wife-to-be, Kate Middleton.
William, 31, followed family tradition and entered the military, first joining the army and then transferring to the Royal Air Force, where he trained as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. He is based at Anglesey in north Wales.
He plays polo and is involved with a list of charities. Describing himself as no party animal, and free of any public scandals, he began dating Kate Middleton in 2003 and the pair became engaged in November 2010. They married on April 29, 2011, in a sumptuous televised ceremony that was watched by about 2 billion people around the world, and are officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
3. ROYAL BABY: The first child of Prince William and Kate will be known as Prince or Princess of Cambridge.
4. PRINCE HARRY, formally Henry, Prince of Wales: The second son of Charles and Diana, he was born on September 15, 1984, also at St. Mary’s Hospital, London. Educated at Eton College, he joined the army and has served in Afghanistan, where he was a gunner in Apache attack helicopters.
Despite indiscretions, the fun-loving prince has become a popular member of the royal family. He was once blasted by the press for wearing a Nazi Swastika armband to a fancy dress party, and has been linked with a number of women in Britain’s tabloid press. Last August he was photographed frolicking naked with a nude woman during a private holiday to Las Vegas.
The prince, who has often spoken of his disdain for the intrusive British press, said he had let himself and his family down, but added the incident should have remained private. The issue of privacy is close to his heart and that of his brother because their mother, pursued relentlessly by the media, died in a car crash in Paris while being chased by paparazzi.
5. PRINCE ANDREW, Duke of York: Second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Born on February 19, 1960, Prince Andrew was educated at Gordonstoun before joining the Royal Navy in 1979, seeing active service in 1982 during the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. He retired from active duty in 2001.
From 2001 until 2011 he worked with the government body UK Trade & Investment, promoting Britain and British firms at trade fairs and conferences around the world. Some of the relationships he built have since proved controversial.
In 1986 he married Sarah Ferguson and they were given the titles Duke and Duchess of York. The couple had two daughters - Beatrice, born in 1988, and Eugenie, born in 1990 - who are sixth and seventh in line to the throne. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit, and Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Kevin Liffey