· - Royal succession is determined by descent AND by law.
· - Right now, boys trump girls. This means that Prince Charles’ sister Anne is further down the “next in line” list than her two younger brothers, Andrew and Edward. This originates from laws established hundreds of years ago when women had no rights. So, if a girl were to inherit the throne, she’d have to marry and that brought with it concerns that a foreigner might come in and head the country.
· - Right now, the sovereign cannot marry a Roman Catholic. Well, technically they CAN, but if a member of the royal family in line for succession were to marry a Roman Catholic, he or she would have to renounce their right to the throne. This law goes back to the days of Henry VIII, when Henry broke with Rome and created the Church of England. The sovereign is head of the Church of England and can’t be or marry a Catholic.
· - Efforts are underway to change these rules! Last fall, the Commonwealth Heads of Government (heads of the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) agreed that birth order should determine the order of succession. This would move Princess Anne up to 4th (after Charles, William and Harry). The ban on marrying Catholics will be lifted, too.
· - These changes will take place after the appropriate laws have been formally amended. This involves changing laws not only in the UK but in other commonwealth countries, so it appears it will take a little time.
· - These anticipated changes give rise to speculation that Will and Kate will not be in a rush to start a family. (Recall that Will’s mom, Diana, and grandmom, the Queen, had their first borns within a year of their marriage.) That’s simply because it won’t matter if it’s a boy or girl – the first one will be the next sovereign. There won’t be pressure to hurry up and have other children if the first born were to be a girl.
My only question now is, “So what happens if it’s “twins”?!!!”