The royal family is getting an addition...again! And how happy we all are for that vestige of collective antiquity! Duchess Kate has announced her third pregnancy, so it's not her first rodeo. However, the baby's coming will occasion a historical moment.
So, this means that Harry, who was once fifth in line to the throne, gets bumped to sixth. That's right, Harry, because six comes after five. And even if the new baby is a boy, he'll go right behind Charlotte.
Thankfully, there really presumably won't be any violence on behalf of any of the heirs vying and jockeying for power and usurpation. But throughout England's long history that hasn't always been the case.
There was even a war in England called The War of English Succession, fought in the early 11th century. Around 1066, a bunch of dudes made claims to the throne — some said they were promised it, some were jealous, some didn't even make up stories, they just went after it. It was a bloody mess (literally).
Harald Hardrada, And Other Hard To Pronounce Names
So, after King Harold exiled his brother Tostig Kinslayer from England, Tostig returned from his exile with an army, accidentally killed his brother in battle, and the English disbanded, a Norwegian named Harald Hadrada came in and took over. But then he died, and a vastly popular Olaf III assumed the throne. So...what were we talking about again? Oh, succession.
In 1153, Henry I died and the throne was to go to his heir apparent Matilda. But a dude named Stephen, who was the grandson of William the Conqueror (really well-liked guy, pretty much amalgamated England) snatched the crown right from her. This threw the entire country into anarchy. There was exorbitant castle building, torture, extortion, stealing, robbing, looting, you name it. Matilda had a son, Henry, who would rise up to defeat Stephen and win back England, and become Henry II. Out of order, comes chaos.
Fast forward four hundred years, and you have yet another succession crisis. Henry VIII has died, and Edward VI is about to follow in his father's footsteps. Henry ordained that his elder daughter Mary be Queen if Edward dies, but Parliament hates Mary because (surprise) she's Catholic. So...
The Duke of Northumberland convinces Parliament to delegitimize Mary's right to the throne, and signs it over to a good Protestant Lady Jane. However, at the same time, Mary proclaims herself Queen, rallies her loyal fanbase, and retakes the throne. She then kills Dudley, a bunch of other ministers that defied her rule, and also burns a lot of Protestants. Order restored.
Queen Elizabeth I may not have been a virgin, but she was known as the Virgin Queen, mostly because she didn't marry. This had consequent problems, namely in matters of succession. Nearing the end of her life (and hence reign) in the late 1580s, Elizabeth knew that her nearest blood relative was Marry Stuart, a Catholic. Parliament would have none of it.
So, Elizabeth's spymaster extraordinaire found enough "evidence" to indict and convict Mary of conspiracy to overthrow Elizabeth, and got her beheaded. The Parliament made sure that Mary's next of kin, James I, would be able to succeed Mary as the sovereign monarch.
In 1688 and '89, England was roiled by a civil war, retrofitted with the title of Glorious Revolution — by the victors. James II ascended the throne, and was a big Catholic. The Whigs of Parliament, Protestant, didn't like this, and sought to depose him.