The perils of life as a 'spare heir'

By Bryony Jones, CNN

Published 1010 GMT (1810 HKT) April 24, 2015
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Prince Harry, the "spare" to Prince William, has forged a military career, serving in Afghanistan; but he has also had run-ins with the British tabloids, and was famously photographed naked during a trip to Las Vegas. Chris Jackson/Getty Images/File
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has been dubbed "AirMiles Andy" by the British tabloids because of his luxurious, jet-setting lifestyle. During the Falklands Conflict in the early 1980s, he served as a helicopter pilot in the Royal Navy. AFP/Getty Images/File
Princess Margaret, seen here touring Pisa, Italy, with her then-husband, the photographer Lord Snowdon, in 1968, was the "spare" to current Queen Elizabeth II; she died in 2002. Getty Images/File
King George VI was originally the "spare" heir, but he was crowned when his older brother, Edward VIII abdicated the throne after less than a year in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Getty Images/File
After his abdication, Edward VIII was known as the Duke of Windsor. He and the Duchess lived mainly in France for the rest of their lives. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Henry VIII, one of the most famous Kings in British history, was not the original heir to the throne -- he was crowned after his older brother Arthur died in 1502, aged 17. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images/File
Similarly, Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth I, was not expected to rule once he had a male heir; but Edward VI died while still in his teens -- his older sisters Mary and then Elizabeth were both crowned Queen in the decades that followed. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images/File
King Charles I became heir to the throne of England on the death of his brother Henry; an unpopular King, he was defeated in the Civil War, and executed for high treason in 1649. Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File