Royalty is a strange institution that probably should have been abolished sometime in the 16th century.
Instead, the UK is presided over by what’s essentially a reality TV family with a weird level of inherited political power.
But aren’t the royals just symbolic figureheads? You might be asking yourself.
Well, that’s a common belief, hypothetical reader, but as we were reminded earlier this week when the Queen suspended Parliament, the British Royal Family might not be able to order be-headings anymore, but they still carry some major clout.
And wherever there’s power, you’ll find strict rules about how it’s transferred to new hands.
The royals recently changed theirs, so that women are no longer at the bottom of the succession chart, but in all likelihood, that won’t come into play for a very long time.
In fact, the new rule is unlikely to matter in any of our lifetimes.
Here’s what the future of the British throne looks like right now:
At some point – hopefully in the distant future – Queen Elizabeth II will abdicate her flesh and blood form and colonize the afterlife.
Then it’ll finally be 70-year-old Prince Charles’ turn.
Following a decade or so of uneventful rule, Charles will follow Mummy into the dark, and a middle-aged Prince William will eagerly cover his chrome dome with a crown.
Of course, the public has always been far more interested in Will’s wife, Kate Middleton, than in Will himself.
And so, his coronation will really be her coronation.
But will her role really change? And just as importantly — what will she be called?
Like Daenerys Stormborn of House Taragaryen, Kate already has a slew of titles to choose from.
Technically, she’s known as Her Royal Highness Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, but since that “Princess William” part is more than a little confusing, most folks who are looking to go the formal route just stick with “the Duchess of Cambridge.”
When she travels to Scotland, however, Kate is referred to as the Countess of Strathearn, due to that country’s separate nobility system.
For the same reason, Kate is referred to as Lady Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland.
Obviously, she should go with that full time, as Lady Carrickfergus is super fun to say, but that’s a conversation for another time.
Anyway, the big question on many peasants’ minds these days is, what will they call Kate once William becomes King?
In the fairy tales we all grew up with, kings are married to queens, but that’s not always the case in the real world.
After all, QE2 is married to Prince Philip, but he was never dubbed a king.
That’s probably totally fine by Phil – aka the Joe Biden of the UK – as not being king spares him a good deal of responsibility and frees him up to zip around town flipping his Land Rover and generally having a jolly good time.
But Kate is considerably more ambitious – which is why she’ll likely be known as Queen Kate.
Technically, she’ll be Queen Consort Kate – But c’mon who’s really going to say all that?
Of course, all of this is assuming that the rules don’t change again in the years before Will assumes power.
And when his time on the throne comes to an end, it’ll be Prince George’s turn.
But the little tyke might not want to get too excited about being king one day.
We assume that by then, whoever’s running the Matrix-like computer simulation we’re all living in will have gotten bored and pulled the plug.