Prince William’s Path to the Crown Is Clearly Defined as He Turns 40

As Prince William enters his 40th year, he finds himself taking on a greater share of royal responsibilities than he has ever done.

The father of three not only has the task of bringing his children with wife Kate Middleton under the glare of the royal spotlight, but the health and mobility of Queen Elizabeth II has significantly reduced the number of public appearances William requires. Step up and step up.

Since his birth on 21 June 1982, William has been on a straight path to the British crown and now in his 40s, the end of the road is increasingly close in sight.

Here, newsweek Looks at the major stages of William’s journey from prince to king.

From his birth on 21 June 1982, William has been on a straight path to the British crown and now in his 40s, the end of the path is increasingly close in sight. Photographed on June 3, 2022. The Imperial State Crown (inset) photographed on May 10, 2022.
Samir Hussain/WireImage/Ben Stansel/WPA Pool/Getty Images

heir’s heir

When Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales was born to Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1982, he automatically became the second in line to the British throne and the third senior-most prince in the royal family (after Charles and Prince Philip).

As the heir apparent, William became the most famous child of the 1980s and was joined by brother Harry in 1984.

William’s place in the line of succession, unlike those below him, cannot change until the death of Queen Elizabeth II and, unlike those below him, except his eldest son, he can only move up the line.

The line of succession is the order in which members of the royal family will inherit the throne and is published by the royal household. The list is currently published at number 24 and for 40 years William has been in second place.

When William himself had children, they followed him in the line of succession, meaning that everyone below him, including Harry, went down according to how many children he had.

William’s status as second-in-line to the throne does not come with any official titles or responsibilities, although he has performed official duties on behalf of the Queen for two decades. The day his father becomes the king, all this will change.

Prince William And Prince Charles Heirs
Prince William was born on 21 June 1982 and automatically became second in line to the British throne after his father, Prince Charles. Photograph (l) February 1, 1983. and (r) June 18, 2019.
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images / Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images


When the Queen’s reign ends, Prince Charles will become King Charles III at the time of his death. At that moment, William would automatically move from second to first in the line of succession, at which point he would be known as the successor. He does not automatically take his father’s old Prince of Wales title.

Several major royal events will take place in the months following Charles’ accession, including the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, which, according to tradition, is expected to be held at Westminster Abbey in London.

It is also likely that after the funeral, there will be a nationwide tour by Charles to establish himself as king in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales as well as England. During this time William and Kate may accompany the King in a dynastic display of royal power.

prince of wales

Prince William will not automatically become Prince of Wales when his father becomes king because the title is one that is gifted to the monarch and is not inherited.

Queen Elizabeth II did not make Charles, Prince of Wales, until he was about 10 years old, six years after he ascended the throne.

The title Prince of Wales is traditionally conferred on the heir during an oration ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle in Wales. Prince Charles was consecrated in 1969 when he was 20 years old.

During the consecration of the Prince of Wales, the heir takes an oath of allegiance to the monarch in an oath. The oath is the same as that which royal companions swore to the emperor at his coronation and followed a standard form: “I, [insert name]Be a liar of life and limb, and earthly worship, and faith and truth, I will bear you to live and die against all kinds of people.”

It is likely that Charles would have wanted William to attend his coronation as Prince of Wales and so the new king could be given the title soon after his eldest son passed the title. When William takes the title, Kate will be known as The Princess of Wales, a title not held publicly since Princess Diana.

Prince Charles Investments
Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales in a special ceremony by the Queen at Caernarfon Castle on July 1, 1969.
Anwar Hussain / Getty Images

Head of the Duchy of Cornwall

First in line to the throne, William would also become head of the Duchy of Cornwall and to a lesser extent Duke of Cornwall.

The Duchy is in essence a property consisting of more than 52,000 acres of land, the rent of which forms a personal income for the Emperor’s eldest son. The Duchy was created in 1337 by King Edward III.

Charles has been the Duke of Cornwall since 1952, when his mother became Queen, although she ran it in trust for him until he was 21, after which he was entitled to his full income.

William has taken a greater interest in the duchy over the past decade, regularly meeting with the farming families who work on the property and learning about its financial management.

The income of the Duchy of Cornwall is regularly published in annual reports and in 2021 Charles received £20 million ($24.5 million).

With this proceeds, William will pay for his expenses as well as for wife Kate and their children and their eventual families.

Prince Charles, Prince William Duchy Of Cornwall
Prince William has taken a keen interest in the Duchy of Cornwall and has a future with him as its head. He has visited many parts of the property with his father, Prince Charles. Photographed on 29 May 2004.
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

His Majesty King William V

When King Charles III dies, William will automatically become King William V and his eldest son, Prince George, will take the position of clear heir.

William will be the 63rd English monarch to head an institution that has more than a thousand years of history.

Despite being rooted in historical symbolism, William has made no secret that he would not cling to ancient ideals at the risk of jeopardizing the future.

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