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State & Ceremonial

The Complete Guide To The Proposed Change To Succession Laws

It’s coming. One way or another, these new laws will be implemented. Whether after the royal baby’s birth or just in time. In light of recent confusion regarding the law change, we thought we’d produce the absolute gospel-definitive-guide to the proposed change to primogeniture laws to consolidate all that is currently known about the changes.

The Lowdown

In essence, the proposal is that the Monarchy change its devise for succession. Currently, women can only inherit the throne if they have no brothers, regardless of age. This is regarded as archaic in the modern world and many other Monarchies have already abolished, and have committed to abolish this system. The proposed new system would see men and women have equal succession rights, in other words, they’re ordered in line of birth, so regardless of gender, the eldest child would always succeed and could not be overtaken by a younger brother.

These changes would not affect the current line of succession, the changes would be borne on all descendants of the Prince of Wales, meaning as both of Prince Charles’s children are male, the effect wouldn’t be seen on them, but rather if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s child is a girl, that girl would definitely one day be our Queen!

Also, the bill for the UK removes the bar from a Monarch marrying or being a Roman Catholic, which is contradictory on the latter part (explained shortly).

Technical Terminology

For people who wish to know more about the terms used to describe parts of this system, here we go! The current system (that is the one that is proposed to be scrapped) is referred to as ‘Male Preference Cognatic Primogeniture’, (the eldest male child succeeds and female children may succeed without brothers), the proposed new system where all children have equal succession rights is called ‘Absolute Primogeniture’.

‘Why Are These Changes Not Implemented Yet?’

Although the laws have now been agreed in principle by the commonwealth realms and the wheel has begun to turn on implementing these laws, anyone who knows the British Governmental system will know that it takes months for a bill (which is what this proposal is at the moment) to become law. Firstly, you have the readings in the House Of Commons, 2 of those, on separate dates. Then the committee stage, where MPs debate further and vote on the bill, then the report stage before being followed by a third and final reading. If this is all well then it moves to the next stage where the bill moves to the House Of Lords where they scrutinise it and take the same number of readings and the committee stage and the report stage. If everything is well, then the bill is eventually opened up for amendments by both houses before submission to Her Majesty The Queen for Royal Assent. At that moment, it becomes law!

Problems With The Bill

There have been multiple problems expressed with the bill, most notably expressed by the Prince of Wales, who has explained his dire concerns that if the bill was passed, it would affect the succession because it removes the bar on Catholics for succession to the throne, but seeing as a Monarch must be in communion with the Church Of England in order to become Sovereign, there are serious holes in the bill, which could not delay it further.

The Church Of England has expressed the same concerns.

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