Princess Charlotte may only be two-years-old but she is already making history within the British royal family. Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed their third child, a baby boy on April 23. With the arrival of the littlest Cambridge, Charlotte has become the first female royal to benefit from the change of succession law. The law now says that girls will not be overtaken by any future younger brothers. This means that Charlotte remains fourth-in-line to the throne, while her younger brother, whose name will be announced in due course, will be fifth-in-line.
Princess Charlotte has made history with the arrival of her baby brother
This is the first time that a girl has kept her rank rather than drop a place to her younger brother. The UK succession laws were updated ahead of Prince George's birth in 2013 to allow a possible firstborn daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to take precedence over any younger brothers. The decision was unanimously approved at a Commonwealth summit in Australia back in 2011, changing a 300-year rule.
The old succession laws stated that the heir to the throne would be the firstborn son of the King or Queen, and the title would only pass to a daughter when there are no sons. Speaking about the law change at the time, former Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our Queen. The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic – this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we have become."
Charlotte's position doesn't change thanks to the adapted law
Other monarchies in which the eldest child is the heir, regardless of gender, include Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, while in Spain and Monaco, males take precedence over females. For example, Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene's son Prince Jacques is the heir apparent, despite being two minutes younger than his twin sister, Princess Gabriella.