CLOSE
Getty Images
Getty Images

15 Women of Cinema History You Should Know

Getty Images
Getty Images

You know Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas, and Hitchcock. But did you know that the success of each of these iconic directors depended on a lesser-known woman behind the scenes? Dig into the hidden history of film and discover the women who shaped cinema into what it is today. 

1. Margaret Booth // The first film editor

Because of the hands-on nature of film editing, early Hollywood considered it women's work, like sewing. "Cutters" were often working-class women willing to take low pay to be a part of filmmaking. But despite the sexism surrounding them, this position allowed these female film lovers a unique place to make critical choices about a film's final cut. Booth was not only one of the earliest pioneers of the craft, but also the one for whom the term "film editor" was coined.

Right out of high school in 1915, the Los Angeles native got a $10 a week job working under Birth of a Nation director D.W. Griffith as a patcher, eventually making her way up to negative cutter. By the time the controversial filmmaker moved to the East Coast, Booth was in complete charge of print production, managing everything from inspection to cutting to shipping the prints out. Booth would then get a job at the newly formed MGM, where her expertise was quickly recognized by the studio's head of production, Irving Thalberg. Together the pair would watch and discuss dailies, and Booth's insightful contributions inspired Thalberg to call her a "film editor," a move that would forever leave the common term "cutter" behind.

She went on to cut a long list of films, including 1935's Mutiny on the Bounty, which earned her only Oscar nomination. In 1978, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarded Booth an honorary Oscar for "her exceptional contribution to the art of film editing in the motion picture industry."

2. Verna Fields // Mother Cutter

The Missouri-born Fields was introduced to moviemaking when her father, Sam Hellman, moved the family to Hollywood to pursue his passion for screenwriting. She started out as a sound editor, but by 1960 had begun to edit feature films. She went on to be a major influence on several major filmmakers, cutting such career-defining films as George Lucas's American Graffiti, Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon, and Steven Spielberg's Jaws.

Many filmmakers remember Fields fondly for her gentle direction and warm support through the stressful business of filming and post-production. For his part, Spielberg credits the impeccable restraint of the use of his movie monster to "Mother Cutter," as Fields was affectionately called. The young director was so eager to get the robotic shark, Bruce, on camera that he repeatedly pushed for shots to linger. But Fields knew just when to cut away to keep this Great White from going from fearsome to fake. Fittingly, Jaws became the film that's best defined her legacy. It not only won Fields her only Oscar (see below), it was also the final film she cut. She went on to become a high-ranking studio exec, and the VP of feature production at Universal.

3. Melissa Mathison // Mother of E.T.


Getty Images

This Los Angeles native might be best known for being the wife of Harrison Ford from 1983-2004, but Melissa Mathison's greatest contribution to cinema is actually crafting the screenplay for one of the most beloved sci-fi movies of all time, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Mathison was with Ford on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1980, when its director, Steven Spielberg, shared a seed for a new movie he wanted to make. Mathison had just seen success with her screenplay for 1979's The Black Stallion, and both she and Spielberg felt her flair for capturing child-like wonder was a great fit for his premise of a boy befriending an extraterrestrial. From this rough sketch of the story, Mathison created Elliott, wounded from his father walking out, annoyed by his pesky little sister Gertie, and inspired by an unexpected friendship. E.T. not only became a massive hit and cultural phenomenon, but also earned Mathison an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. She'd later reteam with Spielberg on Twilight Zone: The Movie and 2016's The BFG. Mathison passed away in 2015, at the age of 65.

4. Leigh Brackett // Queen of The Space Opera

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

As a young woman, she got her start writing science fiction and pulp crime fiction, both genres of literature that were looked down on as lowbrow. But Brackett didn't care about perception, nor mind that some thought her nickname "The Queen of The Space Opera" was a slam. Instead, she stood up for the genre she adored, declaring, "These stories served to stretch our little minds, to draw us out beyond our narrow skies into the vast glooms of interstellar space."

Embracing the freedom she felt writing about out-of-this-world outlaws, she became a mentor to Ray Bradbury and an inspiration to George Lucas. After making Star Wars, the celebrated director was handed a copy of one of Brackett's books and told, "Here is someone who did the Cantina scene better than you did." He apparently agreed, hiring Brackett to pen the first draft of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Sadly, she passed away before the sci-fi smash was finished. But this film built on a cinema legacy that she'd already begun, having previously scripted such classics as The Big Sleep (1946) and Rio Bravo (1959).

5. Thelma Schoonmaker // Scorsese's Not-So-Secret Weapon

Getty Images

Though she is arguably the most famous film editor working, Schoonmaker originally intended to work in politics. But having grown frustrated when her anti-apartheid opinions ruffled feathers in job interviews with the U.S. government, she answered a newspaper ad that offered on-the-job training as an assistant film editor. While taking a film course at New York University, she volunteered to help a student whose negatives had been damaged; that student happened to be Martin Scorsese. So began a collaboration that has stretched across nearly five decades and counting.

This soft-spoken woman has cut such testosterone-driven dramas as Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, The Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street, just to name a few. She still does the most menial aspects of editing, including screening and cataloguing every take, and overseeing subtitle translation, and her precision has scored her seven Oscar nods, and three wins. Her final cuts have won praise from Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Juliette Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many more. But most importantly, through all this her work has influenced and inspired an untold number of filmmakers, editors and artists.

6. Dorothy Arzner // Inventor of the Boom Mic

Getty Images

She got her foot in the door as a typist for Paramount Pictures in 1919. And by 1927, Arzner had made her first of 20 films with Fashions for Women. She was one of a handful of women directing films in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the first woman to join the Director's Guild of America. While others struggled with the medium's transition from silent film to sound, Arzner thrived and innovated. So as not to distract skittish film star Clara Bow with the new challenge sound brought, Arzner dangled a microphone from a fishing rod, pioneering the first boom mic.

She went on teach Francis Ford Coppola, and earn a star on the Walk of Fame. But she is best remembered for creating films by women and about women, including the Katharine Hepburn-fronted Christopher Strong, Joan Crawford's The Bride Wore Red, and her most famous feature, Dance, Girl, Dance, which starred Lucille Ball and Maureen O'Hara. In this drama, Arzner made history by having her heroine—a ballerina turned burlesque performer—spin on her audience and break the fourth wall, scolding both those in the movie and in the theater for objectifying her "the way your wives won't let you." You can watch this groundbreaking scene below:

7. Edith Head // Film Fashion Pioneer

Getty Images

Her fashion sense defined decades of American cinema, but before she was draping starlets in the most elegant dresses to hit the silver screen, this step-daughter of a mining engineer earned her Master of Arts degree in romance languages and worked as a school teacher. She began taking art classes, and decided to apply for a job as a sketch artist—despite not being able to draw people. To get around this, she got her entire art class to contribute costume design sketches. As she would later say, "When you get a class of 40 to give you sketches, you get a nice selection." Despite lacking any relevant experience, Head scored her first movie gig, working as a sketch artist at the future Paramount Studios. By 1938, she was the studio's chief designer. There she laid the groundwork for becoming Hollywood's most heralded costume designer.

In a career that spanned nearly 60 years, she worked on hundreds of films, including such iconic offerings as All About Eve, Rear Window, Sabrina, The Sting, and Roman Holiday. Head thrilled with fashion whether working in black and white or in color. Between 1949 and 1978, she earned a record-setting 35 Academy Award nominations, winning eight Oscars. Directors sought her for their films as fiercely as they would Hollywood's hottest leading ladies. And she became a household name between offering patterns for fashion magazines and making regular appearances on Art Linkletter's daytime television show in the 1950s, where she'd offer fashion advice for the common woman.

8. Alice Guy // The world's first female director

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Before American filmmakers like D.W. Griffith had even touched a motion picture camera, this Paris-born pioneer was laying the groundwork for narrative film's visual language, and inspiring future auteur Alfred Hitchcock. After witnessing the Lumière brothers' demonstration of their cinematograph, Guy implored her boss, Léon Gaumont, to let her use his shop's cameras to make a movie of her own.

In 1896, she helmed La Fée aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy), one of the first narrative films ever made and the first of 750 films she made for the Gaumont Film Company. She was one of the first to employ groundbreaking techniques like the split screen, double exposure, and film tied to sound. She's also been credited with inventing the close-up (an honor popularly but mistakenly bestowed to Griffith). And after moving to New York, she started her own company, Solax, the biggest pre-Hollywood studio in America.

Yet despite her prolific output and artistic innovations, her contribution to the emerging medium was largely ignored because of Gaumont's ego. In 1930—after Guy had left his employ following 10 years of bringing his business grand attention and acclaim—Gaumont published a book detailing the history of his company and its innovations. He none too subtly left Guy's contribution out completely. He later assured her this grievous omission would be amended in future printings. It was not. Still, 350 of her films survive today, allowing for her work to be rediscovered, along with its influence on modern cinema.

9. Lois Weber // Political provocateur

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A protégé of Alice Guy's, this Pennsylvania-born filmmaker became the first American woman to helm a full-length feature film with 1914's The Merchant of Venice, though she co-helmed it with her husband W. Phillips Smalley. But Weber soon earned a racier historical marker, becoming quite possibly the first non-pornographic American director to display full-frontal female nudity in her allegorical offering Hypocrites (a.k.a. The Naked Truth), which was banned in Ohio and so incensed the mayor of Boston that plans were made to give the character a classical gown.

Weber never shied away from controversial content. Buoyed by the success of Hypocrites, she went on to make movies that addressed issues of poverty, worker's rights, capital punishment and even the importance of birth control. Film scholar Shelley Stamp has called Weber's Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1917) "one of the most forceful films ever made in support of legalizing birth control.”

In 23 years, Weber made more than 130 films, became the only female member of the Motion Pictures Directors Association, and earned the honorary post of mayor of Universal City. And she did it all while writing, directing and making her own creative calls. Film historian Anthony Slide declared, “Few men before or since have retained such absolute control over the films they have directed—and certainly no women directors have achieved the all-embracing, powerful status once held by Lois Weber.”

10. Alma Reville // Lady Hitchcock

Getty Images

You know Alfred Hitchcock. Even his silhouette has become iconic. But few know how much his work and persona were shaped by his wife. Reville got her start in movies serving tea to the studio elite of England's production scene. But through the 1920s and '30s, this diligent and observant film lover worked her way up to director's assistant, screenwriter and editor. She met Hitch on the job, and he hired her to cut Woman to Woman in 1923—a job offer she initially walked away from, telling Hitchcock the salary was "inadequate." He came back with a better offer, and she accepted. The pair later wed and moved to Hollywood, where they would make the movies that would make him a legend.

The cult of Hitchcock is so intense that Reville's role in his success has long been ignored. Though credited in 19 of his films—including as screenwriter on Shadow of a Doubt and Suspicion—it's on 1960's Psycho where she had the most important impact, despite not being credited at all.

When cutting that crucial shower scene, it was Reville's eagle eye that spotted a few errant frames that needed to be slashed, lest audiences see actress Janet Leigh inhale. Beyond that, Hitchcock was adamant that there be no music played over it. He refused even to listen to Bernard Herrmann's suggested score for the scene. But Reville convinced her stubborn husband to watch the cut with the music, and so one of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history was cemented.

When accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1979, Hitchcock himself recognized Reville's influence on his work and life, saying, "I ask permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor. The second is a scriptwriter. The third is the mother of my daughter, Pat. And the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville."

11. Marion E. Wong // Chinese-American Trailblazer

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In a time where Hollywood was anything but diverse, this San Francisco-born Chinese-American paved her own way. In 1916, the 21-year-old Wong founded her Mandarin Film Company so she could create her first (and regrettably only) silent film, The Curse of Quon Gwon: When Far East Mingles With The West. Wong was determined to authentically present her culture to an American public that was only seeing Chinese people presented as cartoonish or cruel stereotypes.

She made this short film with an all-Chinese cast and all-Chinese company, while writing, directing, producing, casting, costume designing and starring herself. Little wonder the American press was fascinated by Wong, calling her “energy personified” with “imagination, executive ability, wit and beauty.” Unfortunately, even with such great buzz, Wong could not convince distributors or theater owners to take a chance on her film. Failing to secure a release, it seems Wong abandoned her Hollywood aspirations. For decades the film was thought lost. But in 2005, documentarian Arthur Dong uncovered two of its reels in the basement of the Chinese American Historical Society in San Francisco. The following year, the Academy Film Archive restored these reels, and The National Film Registry included The Curse of Quon Gwon for its importance in the history of representation in American cinema.

12. Esfir Shub // The Mother of Compilation Film

After a stint in constructivist theater, this Russian twentysomething got into movie making re-cutting Hollywood films so they'd be suitable to screen in her homeland. This experience, plus working with Soviet Russian filmmaker and theorist Sergei Eisenstein, proved formative for Shub.

In 1927, she became a pioneer of documentary filmmaking with The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty, the first compilation documentary ever made. As historian Betsy A. McLane explained, "Nothing like Shub’s films had existed before them, and her work remains among the finest examples of the compilation technique." Previous editors, like Dziga Vertov, were making films more like montages and would freely manipulate footage to get across their vision, but Shub was more interested in the history rather than poetry.

Shub detailed the history of her nation from 1912 to 1917, relying heavily on archival footage. This was a near Herculean task that demanded she spend two months looking through 60,000 meters of film—much of which was damaged—to cull together the first visual record of the Russian Revolution.

13. Fatma Begum // India's first female director

Her career began on the stage, and then transferred to the silver screen as silent films overtook India. She not only became one of India's biggest silent film stars, but was also the mother to three more: Zubeida, Sultana and Shehzadi. As many actresses would do after her, Begum used her pull and prestige to start a movie production company of her own, Fatma Films.

In 1926, Begum became the first female director in Indian cinema with Bulbul-e-Paristan. The film was a family affair, with both of her daughters, Zubeida and Sultana, starring. Sadly, it is lost to history, but traces left behind tell us that Begum was more than ambitious and groundbreaking; she was also a genre film pioneer. Bulbul-e-Paristan was a big-budget fantasy epic that touted special effects and was set in fairyland, one of the first of its kind.

14. & 15. Tressie Souders and Madame E. Touissant Welcome // The first female African-American directors

Women's contribution to the history of film has long been hidden, ignored or lost. And this shameful tradition has clouded the conclusion of which filmmaker deserves the title of "first female African-American film director." But it can be narrowed down to two contenders. The first is Kansas City, Missouri's Tressie Souders, who wrote and directed A Woman's Error in 1922. The film was declared by the Black press outlet The Billboard “the first of its kind to be produced by a young woman of our race” and was praised for its veracity to the black experience. Regrettably, the only traces of the film or Souders' career can be found in press clippings that are nearly 100 years old.

The other contender is the elegantly named Madame E. Touissant Welcome, who was born Jennie Louise Van Der Zee, sister of celebrated African-American photographer James Van Der Zee. It seems the love of the lens was in her blood, as she too took to film to make a movie about the black soldiers of World War I. However, no prints survived and film historians have had to guess at a release date, positing it between 1919 and 1922. The conjecture of this date has led to a lot of debate. But more important than who was first is how both of these women used the new medium to speak for their communities and experience in an era where both were too often ignored.

This post originally appeared in 2015.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Lists
8 Allegedly Cursed Places
iStock
iStock

Some of the most picturesque spots in the world hide legends of a curse. Castles, islands, rivers, and more have supposedly suffered spooky misfortunes as the result of a muttered hex cast after a perceived slight—whether it's by a maligned monk or a mischievous pirate. Below are eight such (allegedly) unfortunate locations.

1. A WALL FROM MARGAM ABBEY // WALES

An 800-year-old ruined wall stands on the grounds of a large steelworks in Port Talbot, Wales. The wall is surrounded by a fence and held up by a number of brick buttresses—all because of an ancient curse. The story goes that when King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th century, one of the local Cistercian monks evicted from Margam Abbey told the new owners of the site, in a bid to protect it, that if the wall fell, the entire town would fall with it (it's unclear why he would focus on that particular part of the structure). Since then, the townsfolk have tried hard to protect the wall, even as an enormous steelworks was built around it. Rumors abound that the hex-giving monk still haunts the site in a red habit, keeping an eye on his precious wall.

2. ALLOA TOWER // SCOTLAND

Alloa tower in Scotland
HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014, Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 4.0

Alloa Tower in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, has reportedly been subject to a curse for hundreds of years. In the 16th century, the Earl of Mar is said to have destroyed the local Cambuskenneth Abbey and taken the stones to build his new palace. The Abbot of Cambuskenneth was so furious he supposedly cast a multi-part curse on the Erskine family—ominously known as “The Doom of Mar." It is said that at least part of the curse has come true over the years, including that three of the children of the Mar family would “never see the light” (three of the earl’s ancestors’ offspring were reportedly born blind). The curse also supposedly predicted that the house would burn down, which occurred in 1800. Another part of the curse: The house would lay in ruins until an ash sapling grew from its roof. Sure enough, around 1820 a sapling was seen sprouting from the roof, and since then the family curse is said to have been lifted.

3. A WORKERS' CEMETERY // EGYPT

In the fall of 2017, archeologists reopened an almost-4500-year-old tomb complex in Giza, Egypt, that contains the remains of hundreds of workers who built the great Pyramid of Giza. The tomb also contains the remains of the supervisor of the workers, who is believed to have added curses to the cemetery to protect it from thieves. One such curse reads: "All people who enter this tomb who will make evil against this tomb and destroy it, may the crocodile be against them in water and snakes against them on land. May the hippopotamus be against them in water, the scorpion against them on land." The complex is now open to the public—who may or may not want to take their chances.

4. RUINS OF THE CHATEAU DE ROCCA SPARVIERA // FRANCE

A chateau just north of the French Riviera may sound like a delightful place to be, but amid the ruins of the Chateau de Rocca-Sparviera—the Castle of the Sparrow-Hawk—lies a disturbing legend. The tale centers around a medieval French queen named Jeanne, who supposedly fled to the castle after her husband was killed. She arrived with two young sons and a monk known to enjoy his drink. One Christmas, she went into the village to hear a midnight mass, and when she returned, she found that the monk had killed her sons in a drunken rage. (In another version of the story, she was served a banquet of her own children, which she unknowingly ate.) According to legend, Jeanne then cursed the castle, saying a bird would never sing nearby. To this day, some travelers report that the ruins are surrounded by an eerie silence.

5. THE PEBBLES OF KOH HINGHAM // THAILAND

Stopped off at a small uninhabited island that, according to Thai mythology, is cursed by the god Tarutao. If anyone dared to even take one pebble off this island they would be forever cursed! 😈 I heard from a local that every year the National Park office receive many stones back via mail from people who want to lift the curse! I was never much of a stone collector anyway... ☻☹☻☹☻ #thailand #kohlanta #kohlipe #kohhingham #islandhopping #islandlife #beachlife #pebbles #beach #speedboat #travelgram #instatraveling #wanderlust #exploringtheglobe #exploretocreate #traveleverywhere #aroundtheworld #exploringtheglobe #travelawesome #wanderer #earth_escape #natgeotravel #serialtraveler #awesomesauce #picoftheday #photooftheday #potd

A post shared by Adil - 爱迪尔 - عادل (@theglaswegistani) on

The tiny uninhabited island of Koh Hingham, off the coast of Thailand, is blessed with a covering of precious black stones. The stones are not precious because they contain anything valuable in a monetary sense, but because according to Thai mythology the god Tarutao made them so. Tarutao is said to have invoked a curse upon anyone who takes a stone off the island. As a result, every year the national park office that manages the island receives packages from all over the world, sent by tourists returning the stones and attempting to rid themselves of bad luck.

6. INITIALS OUTSIDE THE CHAPEL AT ST. ANDREWS UNIVERSITY // SCOTLAND

The "cursed" PH stones of St. Andrews University
Nuwandalice, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The initials PH are paved into the ground outside St. Salvator’s Chapel at St. Andrews University in Scotland. They mark the spot where 24-year-old preacher and faculty member Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake for heresy in 1528—an early trigger of the Scottish Reformation. The location is therefore supposed to be cursed, and it is said that any student who stands on the initials is doomed to fail their exams. As a result of this superstition, after graduation day many students purposefully go back to stand on the spot now that all danger of failure has passed.

7. CHARLES ISLAND // CONNECTICUT

Charles Island, Connecticut
Michael Shaheen, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Charles Island lies off the coast of Milford, Connecticut, and is accessible from the mainland via a sandbar when the tide is low. Today it's home to a peaceful nature reserve for local birds, but its long history supposedly includes three curses. The first is said to have been cast in 1639 by the chief of the Paugussett tribe, after the nation was driven off the land by settlers—the chief supposedly cursed any building erected on the land. The second was supposedly laid in 1699 when the pirate Captain William Kidd stopped by the island to bury his booty and protected it with a curse. Shortly afterward, Kidd was caught and executed for his crimes—taking the location of his treasure to his grave.

The third curse is said to have come all the way from Mexico. In 1525, Mexican emperor Guatimozin was tortured by Spaniards hoping to locate Aztec treasure, but he refused to give up its whereabouts. In 1721, a group of sailors from Connecticut supposedly stumbled across the Aztec loot hidden in a cave in Mexico. After an unfortunate journey home in which disaster after disaster slowly depleted the crew, the sole surviving sailor reportedly landed on Charles Island, where he buried the cursed treasure in the hope of negating its hex.

8. THE GHOST TOWN OF BODIE // CALIFORNIA

A house in Bodie, California
Jim Bahn, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Bodie, in California's Sierra Nevadas, sprang up as a result of the gold rush. The town boomed in the late 19th century, with a population nearing 10,000 people. But as the gold seams ran dry, Bodie began a slow and steady decline, hastened by a series of devastating fires. By the 1950s, the place had become a ghost town, and in 1962 it was designated a State Historic Park, with the the buildings kept in a state of “arrested decay." Bodie's sad history has encouraged rumors of a curse, and many visitors to the site who have picked up an abandoned souvenir have reportedly been dogged with bad luck. So much so, the Bodie museum displays numerous letters from tourists who have sent back pilfered booty in the hope of breaking their run of ill fortune.

But the curse didn't start with prospectors or spooked visitors. The rumor apparently originated from rangers at the park, who hoped that the story would prevent visitors from continuing to steal items. In one sense the story worked, since many people are now too scared to pocket artifacts from the site; in another, the rangers have just succeeded in increasing their workload, as they now receive letter after letter expressing regret for taking an item and reporting on the bad luck it caused—further reinforcing the idea of the Bodie curse.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Chris Jackson, Getty Images
arrow
Lists
21 Other Royal Babies Born In The Last 20 Years
Chris Jackson, Getty Images
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

by Kenny Hemphill

At 11:01 a.m. on April 23, 2018, the Royal Family got a new member when it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have welcomed their third child, a (yet-to-be-named) boy, who will become fifth in line to the throne. While William and Kate's three children may be the youngsters closest to the throne, they're not the only pint-sized descendants of Queen Elizabeth II to be born in the past 20 years. Here are 21 more of them.

1. ARTHUR CHATTO

Arthur Robert Nathaniel Chatto, who turned 19 years old February 5, is the younger son of Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto. He is 23rd in the line of succession—and has been raising some royal eyebrows with his penchant for Instagram selfies.

2. CHARLES ARMSTRONG-JONES, VISCOUNT LINLEY

The grandson of Lord Snowden and Princess Margaret, and son of the 2nd Earl and Countess of Snowdon, Charles—who was born on July 1, 1999—is the heir apparent to the Earldom of Snowdon.

3. LADY MARGARITA ARMSTRONG-JONES

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) speaks to Serena Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon (L), David Armstrong-Jones (2L), 2nd Earl of Snowdon, and Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones (2R).
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Born on May 14, 2002, Lady Margarita is sister to Charles Armstrong-Jones, and great-niece to the Queen. She's 20th in line to the throne.

4. LADY LOUISE WINDSOR

Lady Louise Windsor is the eldest child and only daughter of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. She was born on November 8, 2003 and is 11th in line for the throne.

5. ELOISE TAYLOR

The third child of Lady Helen and Timothy Taylor, Eloise Olivia Katherine Taylor was born on March 2, 2003 and is 43rd in line for the throne.

6. ESTELLA TAYLOR

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge chats to Estella Taylor on the balcony during Trooping the Colour - Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Parade, at The Royal Horseguards on June 14, 2014 in London, England
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Eloise's younger sister, Estella Olga Elizabeth Taylor, was born on December 21, 2004. She is the youngest of the four Taylor children and is 44th in succession.

7. JAMES, VISCOUNT SEVERN

The younger child of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor—or Viscount Severn—was born on December 17, 2007 and is 10th in line for the throne.

8. ALBERT WINDSOR

Albert Louis Philip Edward Windsor, born September 22, 2007, is notable for being the first royal baby to be baptized a Catholic since 1688. He is the son of Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, and grandson of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. According to the Act of Settlement, which was passed in 1701, being baptized Catholic would automatically exclude a potential royal from the line of succession. But there was some controversy surrounding this when, up until 2015, the Royal Family website included Albert.

9. XAN WINDSOR

Lord Culloden, Xan Richard Anders Windsor, is son to the Earl of Ulster and Claire Booth, and grandson of the Duke of Gloucester. He was born on March 2, 2007 and is 26th in succession.

10. LEOPOLD WINDSOR

Like his older brother Albert, Leopold Windsor—who was born on September 8, 2009—is not in line to the throne, by virtue of being baptized a Roman Catholic (though he, too, was listed on the Royal Family's website for a time).

11. SAVANNAH PHILLIPS

Autumn Phillips, Isla Phillips, Peter Philips and Savannah Phillips attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on December 25, 2017 in King's Lynn, England
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips, the Queen's first great-grandchild, was born on December 29, 2010 to Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, and Autumn Kelly. She is 14th in line for the throne.

12. SENNA LEWIS

Senna Kowhai Lewis, who was born on June 2, 2010, is the daughter of Gary and Lady Davina Lewis, elder daughter of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. She was a beneficiary of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which abolished the practice of giving sons precedence over daughters in the line of succession, regardless of when they are born. As a result, she is 29th in succession.

13. LYLA GILMAN

Daughter of Lady Rose and George Gilman, and granddaughter of Prince Richard, 2nd Duke of Gloucester, Lyla Beatrix Christabel Gilman was born on May 30, 2010. She is 32nd in succession.

14. COSIMA WINDSOR

Lady Cosima Rose Alexandra Windsor was born on May 20, 2010. She is sister to Lord Culloden, daughter of the Earl of Ulster and Claire Booth, and granddaughter to the Duke of Gloucester. She's 27th in line for the throne.

15. RUFUS GILMAN

Lyla Gilman's brother, Rufus, born in October 2012, is 33rd in line for the throne.

16. TĀNE LEWIS

Tāne Mahuta Lewis, Senna's brother, was named after a giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest of the Northland region of New Zealand. He was born on May 25, 2012 and is 30th in line for the throne, following the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.

17. ISLA PHILLIPS

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips attend a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Peter and Autumn Phillips's second and youngest daughter, Isla Elizabeth Phillips, was born on March 29, 2012 and is 15th in succession.

18. MAUD WINDSOR

Maud Elizabeth Daphne Marina Windsor, the daughter of Lord Frederick and Lady Sophie of Windsor and granddaughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, was born on August 15, 2013 and is 47th in line for the throne.

19. LOUIS WINDSOR

Louis Arthur Nicholas Felix Windsor, who was born on May 27, 2014, is the youngest child of Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, and brother of Leopold and Albert. As he was baptized into the Roman Catholic church, he's not in line to the throne.

20. MIA GRACE TINDALL

Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall and their daughter Mia Tindall pose for a photograph during day three of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 28, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Daughter of Zara Phillips and her husband, former England rugby player Mike Tindall, Mia Grace Tindall was born on January 17, 2014 and is 17th in the line of succession.

21. ISABELLA WINDSOR

Isabella Alexandra May, the second and youngest daughter of Lord Frederick and Lady Sophie of Windsor, was the last addition to the royal family. In July 2016, she was christened at Kensington Palace wearing the same gown worn by both Prince George and Princess Charlotte (it's a replica of the one that Queen Victoria's children wore). Looking on was celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who is one of Isabella's godparents.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios