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Prince Charles becomes longest serving heir apparent in history, as mother Elizabeth celebrates 85th birthday.

This is a very busy week for the British royal family, indeed.

Not only is Prince William (eventual heir to the British throne) going to marry princess-to-be Kate Middleton in a highly anticipated wedding next week, but today (April 21) is also the 85th birthday of William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen's birthday coincided with Maundy Thursday, the day marking Jesus' Last Supper, when the queen traditionally hands out special coins to as many people as the years of her life.

But there's even more.

Elizabeth's eldest son and William's father, Charles, Prince of Wales, has just becomes longest-serving heir apparent in British history.

Charles has now been next in line to the throne for more than 59 years. He became the heir apparent when he was three years old upon the accession to the throne by his mother on Feb. 6, 1952.

The prior record -- of 59 years, two months and 13 days -- was established by Charles' great-great-grandfather, King Edward VII, according to Clarence House.

Edward VII was born the heir apparent on Nov. 9, 1841 when his mother, Queen Victoria, was already the ruling monarch, Due to her very long life, Edward became King on Jan. 22, 1901 upon Victoria's passing.

Normally, the heir apparent is the eldest son of a monarch (unless all the children are female, as in the case of Queen Elizabeth's nuclear family).

However, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the government might consider changing the laws on royal succession. That is, they could remove the right of male heirs to succeed to the throne before older female siblings.

Still, such a change would also have to be approved by all the other Commonwealth nations where the British monarch remains the head of state.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Apr 21, 2011
Words:291
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