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What will happen if King Charles abdicates the throne?

The Prince of Wales is next in the line of succession  

Charles and Camilla on the balcony with William and Kate at Trooping the Colour
Ainhoa Barcelona
Ainhoa BarcelonaContent Managing Editor
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Royal watchers around the world are wondering what will happen if King Charles chooses to abdicate the throne. The speculation has arisen because the 75-year-old monarch has been diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement on Monday. 

If King Charles were to abdicate, who would be crowned?

The crown will go to the next in line of succession, which, in Charles' case, would be his eldest son Prince William, 41. William's wife Princess Kate would also become Queen Consort if William were to suddenly take the throne.

WATCH: The King has been diagnosed with cancer

This would shift the whole order of succession, and William's ten-year-old son Prince George would become the heir apparent and first in line, followed by his eight-year-old sister Princess Charlotte and his five-year-old brother Prince Louis.

Prince Harry, 41, and his two children Archie and Lilibet would be next in line.

Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales , Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince George of Wales on the Buckingham Palace balcony during Trooping the Colour on June 17, 2023 in London, England.
Prince George is currently second in line to the throne after Prince William

Who is in the line of succession now?

1. The Prince of Wales

2. Prince George of Wales

3. Princess Charlotte of Wales

4. Prince Louis of Wales

5. The Duke of Sussex

6. Prince Archie of Sussex

7. Princess Lilibet of Sussex

8. The Duke of York

9. Princess Beatrice, Mrs. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

10. Miss Sienna Mapelli Mozzi

When did the last abdication take place?

Abdications are extremely rare in the UK, with the last taking place in December 1936 when Edward VIII, also known as the Duke of Windsor, gave up the throne for love. It became clear that Edward would be unable to rule and also marry his American divorcee partner, Wallis Simpson, because it was politically and socially unacceptable at that time to have a divorced woman as a prospective queen consort.

Edward and Wallis married in France in 1937, six months after the Duke gave up the throne.

The first portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor after their marriage at the Chateau De Cande, in Monts, France, in June 1937. The wedding took place about six months after Edward gave up the throne of England to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson.© Getty
Wallis and Edward married at the Chateau De Cande in France in June 1937 following the abdication


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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Is King Charles likely to abdicate?

It is quite unlikely that Charles will give up the job he has spent his life working towards. 

Speaking in the context of the recent Danish abdication when Queen Margrethe II stepped down to make way for her son King Frederik, Juliet Rieden, editor-at-large of The Australian Women's Weekly, told HELLO!: "There have been abdications in other European monarchies. It's not so unheard of in the rest of Europe, for example the Netherlands, and Spain. But it's just unheard of in Denmark and clearly a dirty word in Britain."

LISTEN: King Charles' health problems and Princess Kate's recovery

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