Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Parliament unlikely to change King's oath

August 6, 1901. It is unlikely that the British Parliament will change King Edward VII's Coronation oath. Nearly 20 Roman Catholic peers, including the Duke of Norfolk and the Marquess of Ripon had signed a petition asking for a revision of the Coronation oath. Lord Salisbury said that the Government "now realized that the Catholics did not wish the offensive words of the original declaration be withdrawn unless the Government at the same time withdrew the security of the Protestant succession." Although the Prime Minister regretted that "Catholics must be prepared to see the declaration stand in its present form," the British government had no plans to abolish the Act of Settlement (1701.)

10 comments:

Cabri said...

I wonder what happens in the future when Prince Charles succeeds.Maybe a bit of up-dating is required.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

As we saw a few weeks ago, British government officials made it clear that the Act of Settlement was not going to be changed - and that lack of change has nothing to do do with discrimination. It has to do with the multi-layers of legislation that affects the succession.

Cabri said...

True Marlene
Baroness Scotland has made this clear.
The oath can however me a bit turn down.

The mutilayers of legislation are of course only convincing in the short term. But it shows that it is pretty difficult on a technical level. It is not merely a "little" change in one act, but it will effect quite a number of constitutional set-up. Here the Commonwealth Countries are involved. For that kind of work the present parliament is too short. Suppose the government has different worries at present. Of coruse, if wanted, it can be done, but that is a hell a lot of work. I am not sure that even the will is really there. I think that is wise: changing the constitutional set-up requires proper legislation and not ad hoc action, smuggled in at the last minute.


For the discrimination, I believe Baroness Scotland meant that the Eqality Bill has no bearing on the succession question. It was discussed in this context. Here Baroness Scotland is right as the legislations deals with compeletly other matters. It might be dealing with the implementation of EU-legislation tto (not sure about it)

Politically speaking in a wider-sense the question whether catholics can succeed or not, is of course a question of discrimination.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Succession to the throne cannot be decided by EU legislation. The Roman Catholic church allegedly discriminates: only older male Roman Catholics who are Cardinals can be Pope! The head of the Anglican Communion has to be Anglican ..The President of the United States has to a natural born citizen, not a naturalized citizen ... JOhn McCain was born in the Canal zone,but he was a ntural born citizen of the USA.

Cabri said...

I did not say that EU legislation has anything to do with succesion laws; it has not and the same applies to European Convention of Human Rights, not an EU laws btw. The Equality Bill might have something to with implementation of EU law. Some wanted to use the bill as a tood to chnage the Act; Baroness Scotland ruled this out.

The Churches are different; it is not state law. It would be odd if the head of the anglican church would be non-anlican?

But your argument does not convince me as one wrong, can never justify another. If one person steals, does it mean other can?

The question here is simply whether the historic dimension of the exclusion of catholics from the succession is still valid or not? Does the Queen/King of the UK have to be Protestant or anyone in the line of succession? It defines the UK as a protestant state.

Whether one approaches it from a discrimination aspect or not, is in the end not decisive. The real question behind is in the end an immesensely political one.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The British sovereign is the head of the Church of England - thus, the sovereign cannot be Catholic. Moreover, I believe that in the Human Rights legislation, the British opted out of certain clauses that might pertain to succession.
Article 14:
:
"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."

Article 14 makes no reference to succession to thrones as a right. The UK opted out of the clause regarding of the equality of natural children - stating that this clause cannot be applied to the succession to the British throne."
The Danish sovereign has to be Lutheran ... the Russian Emperor, his wife and his heir and the heir's wife had to be Orthodox at the time of the marriage ...although those born to non-Orthodox mothers did not lose dynastic rights, but the mothers would need to become Orthodox if they became closer to the throne - ie Marie Pavlovna and Victoria Melita

cabri said...

Marlene,

just remember - gosh gettin old - King Michael justified the recent changes in the Romanian succession law with the (spirit) of the EU antidiscrimination legislation. The legislation does not force any member state to change , but if one wants one can tranfer the spirit of this to the succesion system as well. Law is always politcs....

Cabri said...

yes you are right about the position of the sovereign - head of state and head of church. That is one of the problem Baroness Scotland was refering to.

Behind that is the question what the UK should be: an anglican state - than the system is logic. But if not, than the questions arises of separation of church and state and if that is separated than the sovereign does not have to be an anglican. You see how difficult it is and that the simple change of the act of settlement is not sufficient. Far wider constitutional implications have to dealt with. What about the anglican bischops in the House of Lords....

The Human Rights Convetion does not deal with succession issues.

Denmark: the same question here!

sorry if there are spelling mistakes, but I have a French keyboard and my fingers are ending up where they should not...

BTY Marlene, I might get you the postcard early than expected!!!
So got to go: my garden plants need watering...

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

There is no throne in Romania - and nothing to succeed to, but I do applaud the king for making the changes - which would have happened long before the EU laws if Michael had stayed on the throne ..
do you ever go to Luxembourg?

Cabri said...

Marlene, I will try to include the Lux ....