Thursday, April 25, 2013

Succession to the Crown Act is the law

Queen Elizabeth II gave her assent earlier today to the Succession to Crown Act. 

Just a few small changes: 

Roman Catholics remain excluded from the succession, but the loss of rights due to marrying a Roman Catholic has been removed,  This means the Earl of St. Andrews, Prince Michael of Kent, King Michael of Romania and Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, among others are again possible dynasts.

The Royal Marriages Act is no more.  Only the first six in line to the throne will be required to seek permission to marry.  If they do not, they (and their descendants) will lose their rights.  Automatic.

As of today: the top six are the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry of Wales, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York.

Princess Eugenie will fall to seventh place when the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth in July.

... and the biggest change:   succession to the throne is now gender equal: the eldest child will be the heir apparent.  No pesky little brother to push big sister out of the way.    Male primogeniture was based largely on tradition in England, and, more recently, the United Kingdom.  The Act of Settlement (1701) made no reference to male primogeniture.    The Act remains valid with some tweaking (most notably, the removal of the loss of succession rights to possible dynasts who marry Roman Catholics.)

The United Kingdom becomes the seventh European monarchy to adopt gender equality for succession to the throne.    The other countries are Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg.  

Although there was discussion in Spain to start the process to change the law,  no legislation is pending in the Spanish Parliament.  The Prince and Princess of Asturias are the parents of two daughters: Infanta Leonor and Infanta Sofia. 

Louise Nicolson, a great-granddaughter of Princess Patricia of Connaught, is the last person to receive permission to marry according to Royal Marriages Act.  Louise will marry Charles Morshead in May.


Michelle said...

do you know if the new "rules" for the order of succession address the issue of exactly who it applies to? in other words, is this something similar to the situation in Sweden where it applies to everyone alive, i.e., Anne & family now ahead of her younger brothers? or is it more like in Norway (if i remember correctly) where it applies to those born after a certain date? are we going to see a revamping of the line of succession (other than the Catholic marriage issue) to list everyone in birth order regardless of gender, or is there a cutoff date (and if so, when is that date)?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The Swedish law was passed in 1980 going from males only to first born. Victoria had no rights when she was born. Her younger brother was Crown Prince for less than eight months when his sister became the heiress apparent. The law only affected the King's children, and it was not retroactive to include the king's sisters. In Norway, the law was also salic to first born, but it was not retroactive. Again, the king's sisters were not included and Martha LOuise, who is 2 years older than Haakon, was inserted after he and his children, and eventually, Martha Louise and her descendants cease to have rights after the accession of Ingrid or Ingrid's child ... succession is limited as it is in the Netherlands and Monaco, although Netherlands is first born and Monaco is male primogeniture.

In the UK, the only switching will be for people born after a certain date in 2011 when the law was agreed upon by the commonwealth countries. Anne and her family do not move ahead of Andrew. It does affect two grandchildren of the Duke of Gloucester. A moot point because the focus will be on the first 6 who will be the only ones to need permission to marry. Those who married Catholics again have possible rights but the Catholics remain excluded.