Prince Harry wearing formal dress and medals, looks on at an event.

The Extremely Unlikely Circumstances Under Which Prince Harry Could End Up on the Throne

The British Monarchy is one of the most closely followed monarchies in the world. Perhaps it has something to do with the centuries of marching across the world and proclaiming it part of the “British Empire,” but, no matter the reason, the world’s eyes are on them, and now specifically on Prince Harry.

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The royal family has had a fair amount of upheaval over the last decade, the biggest and most altering event being the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Her death left many bereft and the traditional handing over of the crown took place with Prince Charles becoming King Charles III. His coronation came at a difficult time for the monarchy, whose very existence has been called into question with increasing regularity over recent decades.

The Royal Family has faced its fair share of scandals in recent years, such as Prince Andrew’s disturbingly close relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. However, the one that garnered the most headlines and caused papers and tabloids across the world to go nuts (even more so than the accused royal sex offender) was Prince Harry’s exit from the Royal Family and the fallout thereafter. Despite his decision to pull back from his familial duties, many wonder if Prince Harry could still rule as King.

In January this year, King Charles III was diagnosed with an unnamed “form of cancer” which has left many wondering what this means for his role as king. On top of that, Princess Kate Middleton was also in hospital in January for a reported abdominal surgery, but with many noting that she hasn’t been seen since Christmas, conspiracy theories are racking up online that she is actually missing. The palace has had to step forward to debunk those rumors, but the current optics aren’t great for the family.

In and amongst all this, some are wondering whether Prince Harry could technically still become king one day, so let’s look at the possibility of this and see whether it’s a possibility.

Harry could technically still become king

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk holding hands and smiling.
(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Despite pulling away from his duties and becoming more estranged from his family, Harry is still in the line for the throne. This technicality, however, does not mean that it is at all likely we will see him crown on head and sceptre in hand though as there are a few people above him first.

As is his birthright, otherwise known as “birthright privilege,” Prince Harry is fifth in line for the throne. In the instance of Charles’ death, Prince William, Charles’ firstborn son, is next in line for the throne. William, along with his wife Kate, has been somewhat favored by the British public for some time now and will step up to the role once Charles either passes away or potentially abdicates (which could happen should his health worsen to the point he can’t perform his duties).

If something were to happen to William, Harry still wouldn’t be next in line, as that would be William’s firstborn Prince George, then Princess Charlotte, and finally Prince Louis. Below Harry in order of succession are his children Prince Archie (now a prince given his grandfather is king) and then his daughter Princess Lilibet.

What if Prince William abdicates?

If William were to abdicate (which is highly unlikely) and George was still under 18 then it’s a different question. The role of regent (a person who governs a kingdom in the minority, absence, or disability of the sovereign) would then perhaps go to Harry until George was old enough to take on his royal duties. Technically Prince Andrew would be next, but given his sordid history and the country’s desire not to be ruled by someone who had a close relationship with a sex offender, this seems unlikely.

The big question is, if offered, would Harry even take the throne? Given his past actions of leaving the royal family, or as his wife Meghan Markle has described it, “The Firm,” and openly discussing the inner workings in his memoir and on talk shows (a big no-no for royal family members), it also seems unlikely that Harry would even want to take on the role of King.

With everything going on within the Royal Family right now, it has been speculated that Prince Harry could possibly return to his royal duties to help his family out. These speculations came off the back of his visit to Buckingham to meet with his father after his cancer diagnosis. When it comes to the royal family, speculation should be treated very carefully, especially if it comes from British tabloid journalism.

(featured image: Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images)


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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, she has a keen interest in Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and also takes the little free time left she has to explore Japan.