Huffpost Canada ca

British Monarchy Succession: David Cameron Consults Canada, Commonwealth On Changes To Gender, Faith Rules

Posted: Updated:
BRITISH MONARCHY SUCCESSION PRINCE WILLIAM KATE
Under the proposal, the first child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, seen here on their royal tour of Canada, would eventually become monarch — regardless of sex. (AP) | AP

LONDON - Britain's government is pushing its plan to change the rules on royal succession to provide equal treatment for princes and princesses, the British prime minister said Wednesday.

David Cameron has written to Canada and 14 other Commonwealth nations where the Queen is head of state requesting their views on modernizing succession.

Under the proposal, the first child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge would eventually become monarch — regardless of sex. As the law stands now, an elder daughter would be passed over in favour of a younger brother.

"We espouse gender equality in all other aspects of life and it is an anomaly that in the rules relating to the highest public office we continue to enshrine male superiority," Cameron wrote in his letter.

Quick Poll

Should the gender rule of monarchy succession be tossed?

Yes

No

The changes would also lift a centuries-old ban on British monarchs marrying Roman Catholics — a rule Cameron described in his letter as a "historical anomaly" since it does not bar those who take spouses of other faiths.

"We do not think it can continue to be justified," Cameron said.

Cameron said he will be discussing the proposals when he meets with leaders from Commonwealth countries at a summit in Australia later this month.

"It isn't an easy issue to sort and for many of them there might be issues and worries about starting a parliamentary or other legal process," Cameron told British lawmakers. "But I am very clear that it is an issue we ought to get sorted and I would be delighted to play a role in doing that."

Buckingham Palace has always refrained from commenting on the political issue, saying it's a matter for the government.

The prime minister's office said the Queen would not be part of the discussions.

Pressure to change the laws of succession has been mounting since William's marriage to the former Kate Middleton in April.

The thorny issue of succession has been an on and off topic in Britain, but it has never been resolved. In 2009, then prime minister Gordon Brown's government considered a bill that would end the custom of putting males ahead of females in the succession line, as well as lift the ban on British monarchs marrying Roman Catholics. The government did not have time to pursue it before Brown left office.

The rule has kept women from succeeding to the throne in the past. Queen Victoria's first child was a daughter — also called Victoria — but it was her younger brother who succeeded to the throne, as King Edward VII.

Experts say they hope the matter will be resolved before Middleton begins having children to avoid a confusing line of succession like that in Sweden, where a rule change led to a title being passed from a prince to his elder sister.

Downing Street has previously acknowledged that elements of the 1701 Act of Succession, which also bars Roman Catholics from succeeding to the throne, were "discriminatory" but said change would be "difficult and complex."

By Cassandra Vinograd, The Associated Press

WILLIAM AND KATE'S LAST DAYS IN CANADA, SUMMER 2011

The Royals In Calgary
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide
RELATED VIDEO:

Around the Web

Hereditary monarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monarchy of the United Kingdom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

British PM Cameron consulting on monarchy succession

William and Kate's Daughter Could Inherit the Duchy of Cornwall