Fictional scenario to explain how British monarch works

Because of some Americans (not all Americans just some) not being able to understand how the British monarch works. I came up with this analogy or fictional situation to be able to describe the scenario

British Scenario (Scenario 1)

In UK there’s one car driving it has Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George. And another adult let’s say for this situation it’s Prince Harry. The Queen is driving the car. Something happens to her so Prince Charles gets into the driver’s seat (ie “becomes monarch”), something happens to him and Prince William gets into the drivers seat. The only problem would be if something happens to Prince William since Prince George is underage he would be able to have someone else drive in his name, but can’t drive himself (ie like Prince Harry having him Prince George drive on his lap).

American system (Situation 2)
In America in a car is President (Currently Biden) VP, and whomever comes after VP all the way down to Designated Survivor). Biden is driving this fictional car and something happens to him, and VP Harris takes off and something happens to her, whomever is next in line takes over, and if something happens to the first several in line and at some the Designated Survivor ends up in the driver’s seat. Even though they’re in a separate car at the time.

What do people think of this fictional scenarios to explain how the British monarchary succession works while also using the American system? I know it’s not perfect but it’s close enough for some people to work

For the British scenario, it describes the current order of succession but does not explain how it’s determined, which is I think the part some find confusing — for instance, Prince Harry was third in line until Prince George was born, but as soon as Prince William had any children Harry came after all of them.

The American scenario is not quite correct on a few counts.

If the president can no longer hold office (death, incapacitation, resignation), the vice president is sworn in as president but then names a new vice president, who must be approved by both houses of congress before taking office but is then, as the new vice president, the next in line for the presidency. People further down the US line of succession would only assume the presidency if nobody else above them is eligible. The designated survivor is not last in line per se, but is someone who is somewhere in the line who remains in a secret location whenever others in line are all in the same place – such as the recent State of the Union speech – so that if there were to be a disaster or attack that took out everybody at that event, there would still be someone officially able to become president immediately. There is no one continuous designated survivor; someone is named for the duration of each such event, not usually the same person each time. Further, in the US line of succession it’s the holders of the line-of-succession offices, not the individuals per se, who are in line; while Prince Charles will be next in line for the throne until he or his mother dies, the individuals in the US line change as elections and appointments variously change the officeholders (president/vice president elected every four years with a two-term limit, representatives elected every two years with no term limit and themselves electing a speaker but with no requirement for the speaker to be a current representative, etc.).

I’m not sure that using the concept of a car rather than a throne or office adds much for comprehension, but it’s not bad as a parallel.

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Well I can’t remember whom the VP was during Lincoln’s time at the time he was killed (Andrew Johnson) or whom was VP when JKF was killed ok another guy with the last name of Johnson (Lyon B Johnson). But didn’t the two Johnson VPs immediately become the president without a swearing in? I mean both were way before my time so I might be mistaken

ok in Andre Johsnon say there was a swearing in. Ok maybe just say that something happens to President and the car has to stop at a gas station and then VP takes over and if something happens to VP another gas station. (Gas station is symbolic of “swearing in” or close enough for this parallel). I didn’t want to get to over complicated with my parallel.

Why would Americans be confused over a line of succession? If the monarch dies, one of the monarch’s kids takes over. Usually the oldest. That’s been a plot point in a lot of important media. The Lion King, for instance.

It can get more complicated (e.g. civil wars), but that’s outside the scope of your analogy.

You wouldn’t believe how many questions are on Quora asking “why isn’t Prince Andrew in line right after Prince Charles?” or if not that some Americans or other non-American people have the belief that a King or Queen doesn’t become a King or Queen until they’re coronated.

But in British/UK history there’s been two King Edwards (Edward V and Queen’s Uncle, King Edward VIII) and neither of them got coronated and yet they’re still considered King Edward V (otherwise known as one of the Princes in the Tower) or King Edward VIII. If they didn’t count, it would mean Queen Victoria’s son, would have become Edward VI since Edward Tudor would have been Edward V, etc. But Edward Tudor is Edward VI because Richard III’s nephew is technically Edward V,

For instance I know there’s one example in UK history that a baby become King. King Henry VI. Sure there’s were regents but that doesn’t mean much the King of the time was King Henry VI. And he didn’t get coronated until he was 7 years old.

The said Edward VI became King at 9 years old after the death of his father, Henry VIII. Richard the II became King at age 10 after the death of his grandfather Edward III. (George III inherited the throne from his own grandfather, George II because his father passed). Queen Victoria inherited the throne from her uncle William IV because her father died when she was a baby.

Are you sure they’re American? Quora is multinational. They may be from other countries with monarchies where the line of succession is different and a coronation is necessary to become ruler. In which case the analogy wouldn’t work because you’re explaining what lines of succession are. They know what that is, they just don’t know why the British line doesn’t work like theirs.

As said before, your scenario explains the order of succession, and says nothing about the actual question you describe later on. That question being, to use your example: Why is Harry taking George on his lap, instead of taking full control?

It’s maybe easier to compare it with what it actually is: Inheritance.

If your parents die, you and your sister will inherit all their belongings. Their brothers and sisters are not their benificiaries (Sorry, I think I’m using the wrong word, but can’t think of the right one). The same applies to the throne. It’s inherited by the children first, and only if there are none, by siblings. Since there can only be one king/queen, this part of the inheritance cannot be split by all children, thus the choice that only the oldest child (until 2011 the oldest male child if there is one) will inherit it.

If Charles dies before Elisabeth, these rules don’t change. If your grandparents die after your parents, you and your sister are still entitled to your parents part of the inheritance, it’s not all going to their brothers and sisters. Charles’ part of the inheritance includes the throne, so when he dies before Elisabeth, the throne will be ‘divided’ amongst Charles’ benificiaries, where the rules of firstborn once again applies.

EDIT: What I describe in the last part is how inheritance work in The Netherlands, and without a will. I’m not sure these rules are the same throughout the world.

From what I know the only palace where succession is supposedly different from the “traditional” way (ie: instead of going from monarch to child) is in Saudi Arabia. While supposedly it’s goes from Monarch to brother. I might be wrong though with that and Saudi Arabia royal sucession works the same as other countries.

I did try to use the inehirtence once on someplace and some people still thought that “King or Queens regents” didn’t became King or Queen until they’re cornonated. It helped a bit when I did the 'car example". And the only reason in my fictional scenario, that Prince Harry takes George on his lap is because George (even though he’s under 18) he would need a regent just like Henry VI, Richard II, and Edward VI needed regents (someone to rule until they’re either 18, or they died early like Edward VI died at the age of I think 16).

Prince Harry can’t take entire control over car unless something happened to all three of his niblings. (Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis). Of course you could replace Prince Harry with Prince Andrew, and then for him to take over the entire call not only would Charles’ direct line (William->George->Charlotte->Louis- but also Prince Harry and his three kiddos)->Prince Andrew, if we remove Andrew as well, but then Princess Beatrice. Like Princess Royal Anne would be like the last person in line (outside of her children and grandchildren) to be come Queen if something happened to the first 4 families in line (Prince Charles family, Prince Andrew’s family, and Prince Edward’s family) and yes for the first two that includes grandchildren of theirs, Prince Edward as of yet has no grandchildren)

I see your problem. Another rises.

With your scenario, it doesn’t explain the order of succession. With my example, it doesn’t explain regents.

However, in my example: If a minor gets orphaned, a guardian is appointed who controls the child and it’s belongings. Add that to my example, and it fits regents as well.

Replying to your edit: There are aproximately 600 people in line for the throne. Included several other kings and queens of Europe (Harald of Norway and Beatrix of the Netherlands for example) There is no real ‘last person in line’ to speak of.

You mean like that story on here where OP’s nasty aunt and uncle whom liked to use other people’s money and was “nice to OP” until they’re 18? And how several of us were thinking that maybe the aunt and uncle might have been the kid’s potential guardians if something happened to OP’s parents prior to 18? The one where the aunt and uncle not only kept pounding on OP’s parents’ door but also harassing OP with the house phone?

I don’t understand your question.

I was only talking about Queen Elizabeth’s immediately family (Prince Charles, Princess Royal Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and their families) . I mean I could go further and after Princess Royal Anne and her children and grandchildren it would go up and go to Princess Margaret, family and I’m have no idea whom her children/grandchildren are. I just didn’t want to over complicated the parallel with too much information. I just was trying to put it an away that people might understand.

I just was thinking of an example of an almost guardian(s) of an OP from a Not Always Related story from the site. When you mentioned guardians. Ah, Day of Rest is the title of it.

Edit: I can think of one other example of guardian. OP is the much older sibling of a under age sibling and I think they’re trying to get beer or something and OP had to prove they’re his sibling and guardian?

Ah, ok. Yeah, I guess that’s the kind of guardian I was talking about. :+1:

I see your point about keeping it short, but instead of referring to the last person in line, you could say: after the children of William, you always go up 1 generation and sideways, so brother of William and offspring, after that siblings of Charles and offspring, after that siblings of Elisabeth and offspring. Etc. Etc.
That way you name a lot less actual names, and it’s explained all the way down the line.

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A guardian can be anyone. Family friend, older sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or just someone random if there is no one else.

that would be one big car. For both all 5 immediately family members and outside. But it would be a big car for American paraellel as well /s

The British Monarchy:


So what would the American Presidential successional use for a vehicle? /s