I think we can all agree that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is a real trooper for making her first public appearance—in heels—a mere seven hours after the much-anticipated delivery of a healthy baby boy.
While I’m sure it was no easy feat (nor easy on the feet!), this is the third child for the Duchess and her eventually-to-be-King hubby—definitely not their first rodeo . . . err . . . polo match? But if there’s one person who deserves to sit back, relax, and throw herself a tea party, it’s actually the royal duo’s middle child, Princess Charlotte.
You see, prior to the birth of her older brother, George, the rules of monarchy succession in Britain were dependent entirely on gender. Which meant that even if a royal girl was born first (such as the case with the Queen’s second child, Princess Anne, and her two younger brothers, Andrew and Edward), the boys would still leapfrog over her when it came to who was first in line for the throne.
Then came the Succession to the Throne Act 2013, which states: “In determining the succession to the Crown, the gender of a person born after 28 October 2011 does not give that person, or that person’s descendants, precedence over any other person (whenever born).”
Consequently, Charlotte will retain a firm grip on the number four slot in the order of succession. The newest member of the Kensington Royals will just have to wait his turn.
As it should be.
(I mean, can you imagine how infuriating it would be to grow up with an annoying younger brother who also outranks you? It completely diminishes the joy and entitlement that comes with being the bossy older sibling.)
In all seriousness, not only is this monumental for the Princess, it’s an historic milestone and a huge victory for women everywhere. The observance of and compliance with this Act, which overturned centuries of precedent, demonstrates a huge shift in mindset toward women in leadership positions.
It’s a nod to equality, and to women’s abilities to assume the same titles, privileges, and responsibilities men do.
It’s a nod to progress, and the fact that just because we’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean we have to continue.
It’s a nod to hope, and the dreams of all little girls in the world who aspire to do big things and step into big shoes (or heels).
So while I’m thrilled for the Duke and Duchess, and thrilled for this welcomed addition to their beautiful brood, I’m even more thrilled for Princess Charlotte.
Will it make a difference in the future leadership of Britain? Will it make a difference in the rules of succession for the rest of the world? Who knows. But I think it’s a perfectly wonderful place to start.
And if nothing else, this gives us all something to look forward to in a subsequent season of The Crown.
You may also like: Dear Kate, You Make It Look So Easy, But You Don’t Have To
Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive at St Mary’s to meet their little brother. pic.twitter.com/rfX9rsdJhU
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 23, 2018