Another day, another weird royal fact! Writers over at Cosmopolitan magazine recently raised the question of whether or not an adopted child in the British royal family could ever become King or Queen of England — and the answer is, frankly, depressing yet fascinating.

Basically, the short answer is… no. “Adopted children would not have succession rights or a title,” Marlene Koenig, an acclaimed royal expert who runs the website Royal Musings, explained to the outlet. “To have succession rights, you have to be a Protestant descendant of the Electress Sophia. This excludes adopted children. A member of the royal family is unlikely [to] adopt a child. [They’re] more like to adopt a Labrador retriever.”

A little harsh, no? It’s no secret that the royals are sticklers for protocol and tradition but, thanks to Queen Elizabeth, lots of things have changed over the years. So perhaps an adopted royal kid could be added to the British line of succession in the future. “It would take an act of parliament to pass a new law including adoptees as heirs to the throne,” royal commentator Eloise Parker told Cosmo. “So far, there hasn’t been any need to make it happen.”

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“The British royal family are moving with the times, but it’s a slow process because the unchanging traditions surrounding them are a huge part of their appeal. While politics is unpredictable, the royal family stays the same, and that forms a big part of Britain’s national identity,” Parker continued.

Royal commentator and Royal Central Deputy Editor Jamie Samhan added that it was already difficult enough for the monarchy to pass the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 which officially allowed female royals to retain her space in the crown’s line of succession despite having younger brothers. “I think it was quite a big deal for them to change [the line of succession] for Princess Charlotte,” Samhan said. “There would be too many family members upset. It’s nothing I could see happening [for] at least for another hundred years.”

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