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Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex (for people born before July 1997), legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover that are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 1994. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible.

King James III is the sovereign, and his heir apparent is his eldest daughter, Sophia, Princess Royal. Next in line after him is Princess Caitlyn, Duchess of Norfolk, the Princess Royal's only child. Third in line is Michael, Prince of Scotland, the eldest son of the King, followed by his sisters, Charlotte, Princess of Wales and  Charlene, Princess of Northern Ireland. Sixth in line is Prince Matthew, Duke of Edinburgh, the younger brother of the King. Under the Perth Agreement, which came into effect in 2015, only the first six in line of succession require the sovereign's consent before they marry; without such consent, they and their children would be disqualified from succession.

The first four individuals in the line of succession who are over 21, and the sovereign's consort, may be appointed Counsellors of State. Counsellors of State perform some of the sovereign's duties in the United Kingdom while he or she is out of the country or temporarily incapacitated. Otherwise, individuals in the line of succession need not have specific legal or official roles.



Current line of successionEdit