Dave Clark might want to keep his girlfriend away from jewellers’ windows as it just got a bit easier for him and Princess Beatrice to get married. The birth of the daughter of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge over the weekend moved Beatrice down one place in the line of succession. It means she no longer has to get The Queen’s permission to say ‘I do’.
A change in the law in 2013 means that only the six people closest to the throne have to ask the permission of The Queen if they want to get married. And as of 2nd May 2015, Princess Beatrice of York is seventh in line meaning she doesn’t have to check with her granny first before plighting her troth.
It’s all because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 – the same Act which means that daughters are no longer leapfrogged by sons in the line to the throne (providing they’re born after a certain date).
Until then, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 stated that The Act said: “No descendant of his late Majesty, Geo. 2. (other than the issue of princesses married, or who may marry into foreign families) shall be capable of contracting matrimony without the previous consent of his Majesty, his heirs, &c. signified under the great seal, declared in council, and entered in the Privy Council books. Every Marriage of any such descendant, without such consent, shall be null and void.”
If you wanted to say ‘I do’ then the Sovereign had to say ‘that’s fine’ to your choice of bride or groom. The new Act limits the requirement to ask The Queen’s permission to the first six in the line to the throne.
It means that Prince Harry will still have to obtain the permission of The Sovereign when he finally chooses a bride, but he is the last of The Queen’s grandchildren in that position. Although it’s still a long way off, Lord Severn and Lady Louise Windsor (now tenth and eleventh respectively) will be able to walk down the aisle without the Sovereign’s consent. Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall are, of course, already married and well down the line of succession now.
Princess Eugenie lost the requirement to ask The Queen’s permission for marriage when the new law came into effect. She was then seventh and is now eighth following the birth of William and Kate’s little girl. Beatrice now joins her sister and her cousins in the free to marry at will group on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
There has been increasing speculation in the last year that Princess Beatrice might be the next royal to marry. She has been with Dave Clark for around seven years and is reported to be moving to New York as her partner lives and works in the United States.
Of course, it is more than likely that she, like her sister and cousins, will continue to consult with The Queen ahead of any planned engagement or marriage in the future. But as of 2nd May 2015, she is a princess free of a very old royal obligation.
photo credit: Vee de Rodgers via Flickr