It turns out that any future children of Princess Charlotte would not automatically inherit the title of prince or princess.
Why? Well, the British monarchy had something called “male-preference primogeniture” in place for centuries. That fancy phrase means that, in the past, a female could only ascend to the British throne if she had no living brothers, older or younger. If she had any deceased brothers, their legitimate male descendants would also come before their aunt in the line of succession. Because of this rule, the titles of prince and princess were only carried through the male line.
In 2011, the initial decision was made to change the British line of succession to “absolute primogeniture”, which meant that the first-born child of Prince William would be the heir presumptive, regardless of gender. In the end it didn’t matter, since Prince George was the first-born, but every future generation will be able to benefit from these laws, which were officially changed in an act of parliament in 2015.
However, some other rules are still in place, such as the fact that there are only two ways for someone to become a princess: by being the daughter of a prince (or reigning monarch) or being married to a prince.
Princes, however, can pass on the title of prince and princess to their children as long as they so choose.
This means that Prince Harry’s kids (should he ever bless the world with adorable ginger-haired offspring) can be princes and princesses. But Charlotte, despite being ahead of her uncle in the line of succession, won’t get that same privilege for her children.
“This is also why Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew, are princesses, but Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne, is not,” an article from Town & Country reveals.
In case you’re wondering, this rule means that, technically, Catherine became a princess after marrying William. We may call her the Duchess of Cambridge, but “princess of the United Kingdom” is reportedly listed as her official occupation on various legal documents. Upon her marriage, she became Princess William of Wales—a catchy moniker if ever I’ve heard one.
It’s entirely likely that rules like these could be changed in the future, as the younger royals are constantly attempting to bring their monarchy into the 21st Century. However, we may have a while to wait.