It's a girl! British royal succession rules to change

PERTH, Australia Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:15pm IST

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks to school children after her visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, central England March 4, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks to school children after her visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, central England March 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

Related Topics

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - Centuries of British royal discrimination came to an end Friday after Commonwealth leaders agreed to drop rules that give sons precedence as heir to the throne and bar anyone in line for the crown from marrying a Roman Catholic.

The 16 countries that have Queen Elizabeth as their monarch agreed to the changes put forward by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had called the rules of succession outdated.

"The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic, this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we've all become," Cameron told reporters.

The agreement came on the sidelines of a Commonwealth summit presided over by the Queen in the remote west Australian city of Perth.

Current succession rules dating back to 1688 and 1700 were designed to ensure a Protestant monarchy, and bar anyone in line to the throne from marrying a Catholic.

Only a Catholic link is barred. There are no restrictions on marrying members of other religions or atheists.

The rules have their roots in a turbulent period of English history dating back to Henry VIII's break with Rome in the mid- 16th century. The laws were imposed at a time when Catholics were seen as a threat to the state.

However, the British monarch remains head of the Church of England.

The leaders also agreed to drop the practice of giving precedence to male over female heirs to the throne, regardless of age.

The issue has been brought into focus by this year's wedding of Prince William, second-in-line to the throne, and Kate Middleton.

Without a change, their first son would eventually become king even if he had an older sister.

A group will now be set up to coordinate the necessary legislation for the changes.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Paul Tait)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

ENTERTAINMENT

Reuters Showcase

Facebook Earnings

Facebook Earnings

Facebook tops Wall Street revenue target in 4th quarter.  Full Article 

Japanese Hostage

Japanese Hostage

Islamic State said to set new deadline for hostage swap  Full Article 

Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup

Batting holds key for team India in World Cup  Full Article 

Photo

Australian Open

Serena fends off Keys to book blockbuster Sharapova final   Full Article | Related Story 

Road To Development

Road To Development

Build better roads in developing world to bolster food supplies - study  Full Article 

Photo

Laser Pioneer Dies

Laser's co-inventor, Nobel laureate Charles Townes, dead at 99  Full Article 

New ODI Record

New ODI Record

Sri Lanka's Sangakkara breaks ODI record for dismissals  Full Article 

Rohingya Muslims

Rohingya Muslims

Rohingya refugees say traffickers in Malaysia abuse and kill.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage