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What is ‘Primogeniture’ and How Does It Affect The Royal Baby?

Without doubt, one of the most anticipated arrivals of 2013 is the impending Royal Baby. The reason that this baby is more anticipated than previous royal babies is two-fold. For one, it is a child of The Duchess Of Cambridge, one of the most popular members of the modern Royal Family. For second, this child, regardless of gender, will grow up to reign over Britain and all the Commonwealth Realms.

And that’s what this article is kind of about. One of the primary things in the news regarding Her Royal Highness’s pregnancy was how the Duchess’s child, regardless of gender, will reign.

Previously, before the 2011 changes (which I’ll mention shortly, for those of you who aren’t aware what they were), there was a system called ‘Male Preference Cognatic Primogeniture’ which determined the line of succession to the British throne. In summary, this means that the eldest male child of the Monarch succeeds to the throne and if there are no male children, female children can succeed.

In 2011, the Commonwealth heads of government met to determine changes to this archaic system. They decided that ‘male preference cognatic primogeniture’ would be abolished. For obvious reasons, pretty much all of the Commonwealth realms voted for this change. The change was to allow female children equal rights of succession.

article-2121546-125E13E7000005DC-898_634x632As anyone affiliated with any sort of government will tell you, the next ice age could come before laws like these are passed – the system is painstakingly slow, so when the announcement of the Duchess Of Cambridge’s pregnancy came through, a frantic rush began, to enable the laws to be passed before the child was born.

The new system (called absolute primogeniture) allows for succession of the eldest child over any other, rather than male children having priority over any female children. Many consider this a long over-due change.

This will be a huge thing for the Duchess Of Cambridge’s first child because it means, if it is a girl, it cannot be overtaken by any male children that come along at a later date, meaning its future role is secure and it can be trained for its future role from very early.

On a slightly separate note, I’d like to cover a frequently recurring question. What would happen if the Duke Of Cambridge were to die before the baby was born?

The simple answer is that the baby would come after Prince Charles, just before Prince Harry. This is through something called ‘right of representation’, which means because the child is a child of Prince William, it must be represented in the line of succession.

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