On Thursday, March 26, history was made and undone as the Succession to the Crown Act came into being. This marked the end of the male primogeniture across the Commonwealth of Nations and means that if Duchess Kate’s second child is a girl, a potential younger brother will not succeed her.
As Hello Canada notes, there are also additional alterations that have been made due to the act having passed.
“The three main changes under the law are that the order of succession will no longer be based on gender, a person married to a Roman Catholic can accede to the throne, and that only the first six in line to the throne must seek the Sovereign’s permission to marry. Previously all members of the royal family were required to ask permission before marrying.”
To put this into perspective, as Express U.K. offers, this means that Princess Eugenie, “who is seventh in line to the throne, no longer needs her grandmother’s permission to wed.” However, Princess Beatrice requires the consent of the Queen but only if she becomes engaged before the birth of William and Kate’s second child. This is due to the fact that Beatrice would drop to the seventh in line for the throne after the birth.
The law was actually passed back in 2013, and the formalities of what it would involve were agreed upon as far back as 2011. However, it has taken until now to be fully enforced and implemented. It was, therefore, while Duchess Kate and Prince William were ready to welcome their first baby, Prince George, that the act was declared passed. The law had remained unchanged for 300 years before this point.
After the Queen gave her final stamp of approval on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was a dedicated supporter of the bill, made known his feelings on the matter, as Hello Canada relays.
“I am proud the British Parliament has taken this step to end centuries of religious and gender discrimination. The government will soon introduce the Succession to the Crown Bill, which will make our old-fashioned rules fit for the 21st century.”
This historical moment in British law gives any daughter of Will and Kate a direct path to the throne and, as Express notes, is quite a radical change from the discriminatory rules that have been set in place for centuries. Although the next three monarchs are all set to be men (Charles, William, and then George), and this may result in there being decades pass before a female will once again take the throne, it clearly marks a pivotal point in the direction of the monarchy.
[Feature image via RSVP Magazine]