September 8, 1930
King George V has asked the government if "there is a necessity for new legislation concerning the succession to the throne because of the recent birth of the Duke of York's second daughter," the New York Times reports.
The Home Office gave an official response regarding the inquiry: "We can neither deny nor confirm the report."
The request does not apply, of course, to the Prince of Wales or to the Duke of York, but to the status of the Duke's four-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, and her baby sister.
The question of the succession would become a moot point should they have a brother or their uncle, the Prince of Wales, marry and have issue.
It is "taken for granted" that Elizabeth would come ahead of her yet unnamed little sister. Arrival at any other conclusion appears to "require "a lot of academic hairsplitting." But there there seems to be some speculation in "court and legal circles based on the fact that existing law concerning the succession to the throne does not specify with reference to daughters that age is the determining factor."
This is based on the precedence of a peer "leaving daughters but no son the daughters rank equally regardless of their age and the title goes into abeyance."
If this same law "applied to sisters in the royal family it might mean that the Duke of York's two daughters would have reign jointly," or not reign at all. Both are seen as a "ridiculous assumption."
Parliament might need to "amend the law by a clause concerning female heirs so that even the most confirmed hair-splitter would find no excuse to pick a flaw in it."
There is precedence for the female succession, with the eldest daughter succeeding. After the death of Edward VI, the throne passed to his elder half sister, Mary, who was succeeded by the younger half sister, Elizabeth.
Following the Glorious Revolution, which saw James II go into exile with his wife wife, and son, the throne, as decided by Parliament, passed to James' eldest daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, who was the son of James II's sister, Mary. This marriage was childless, Following the death of William III, the throne passed to Mary's younger sister, Anne, who left no surviving heirs.
The Act of Settlement (1701) established the Protestant succession, and limited the succession to Sophia, Electress of Hanover, who was the youngest child of Elizabeth of Bohemia, youngest daughter of James I, and her Protestant heirs. The Act of Succession makes no reference to male primogeniture.