Brits love their monarchs, but old rules have historically favored princes over princesses in accession to the throne. That may change now, following a proposal put forward by Prime Minister David Cameron. As the NYT reports:
Mr. Cameron told the House of Commons on Wednesday that he had written to the governments of 15 other Commonwealth nations that recognize Queen Elizabeth as head of state urging their acceptance of a change in the succession rules set by the Act of Settlement, adopted in 1701, which stipulates that male children have precedence over their older sisters in succession to the throne. Mr. Cameron also urged that the law be changed to eliminate a prohibition on the accession of any monarch who is married to a Roman Catholic, calling the ban an “historical anomaly.”
Via Meadia‘s response is mixed. On the one hand, we think the days when RC monarchs tried to drag the country back into papist slavery are pretty much done. No more heretics will be burned at British stakes no matter how many rosaries they say at Buckingham Palace. So that part is OK.On the fair play for princesses side, there is also no problem. The English seem to like queens, so why shouldn’t they have more of them? The only objection, and it is frankly a faint one, is this: isn’t tradition the point of a monarchy? The monarchy is inherently ‘unfair’ in that some people get to be royal while most don’t. The point isn’t fairness and it isn’t transparency. Modernizing a monarchy by making it more equal is a little like reforming a religion by taking out God. Very much more rational, as Jane Austen once wrote, and very much less like a ball.The ultimate way to modernize a monarchy is to abolish it; maybe that will be Britain’s next step.