Changes in the monarchy

A fallback position in case American democracy completely implodes is to just apologize for the Revolution and see if the British monarch would take us back.  But now it seems that the British monarchy itself is becoming democratic and open to change.  Now the Crown will go not to the first born son but to the first born:

Sons and daughters of British monarchs will have an equal right to the throne under changes to the United Kingdom’s succession laws agreed to Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

The leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries that have the queen as head of state approved the changes unanimously at a Commonwealth of Nations summit in Australia, he said. The individual governments of those 16 countries still must agree to the changes for them to take effect.

The constitutional changes would mean a first-born girl has precedence over a younger brother. They also mean that a future British monarch would be allowed to marry a Catholic.

The laws would apply to any future children of Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, who married this year.

Speaking alongside his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard in Perth, Cameron described Friday’s agreement by the heads of government of the 16 nations as “something of a historic moment.”

Attitudes have changed fundamentally over the centuries, he said in a televised address, and outdated rules should evolve with them.

“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 have become,” he said.

“Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.”

Cameron also referred to plans to scrap the Act of Settlement, a law passed in 1701 which bans the UK monarch from marrying a Catholic. It was intended to ensure that Protestants held the throne and remained head of the Church of England.

“Let me be clear: the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England, because he or she is the head of that church, but it is simply wrong that they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so,” Cameron said. “After all, they’re already quite free to marry someone of any other faith.”

via Girls given equal rights to British throne under law changes – CNN.com.

Hat tip to  tODD, who comments, “Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t seen a lot of coverage of this in my world. I realize the monarchy is just a shell of its former self … and yet, this seems like a big deal to me. Just like that, the whole anti-Catholic nature of the succession rules is gone. Given the relationship between the monarchy and the Church of England, I actually consider that more interesting than the fact that a first-born female could inherit the throne before her younger brothers.”

What strikes me is that the decision was made not by the Crown and not even by Parliament, but by the Commonwealth nations. That is, England’s colonies!   What kind of empire is it when the colonies get to decide who gets to be the Emperor or Empress?  What kind of monarchy can change its operation like this?  A pretty good one, I guess.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Our role as good Americans should be to support Red Prince Harry in his bid for the throne against Prince Will.

  • SKPeterson

    Our role as good Americans should be to support Red Prince Harry in his bid for the throne against Prince Will.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    It’s not the Commonwealth nations generally but only those which ‘share’ the British monarchy (the ‘Commonwealth realm’) which get a say in matters of royal succession (the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, et al). These nations are no longer colonies – most of them haven’t been so for 50 -100 years, and thus the Queen is no longer an ‘Empress’ but is the constitutional monarch of each nation in the Commonwealth realm.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    It’s not the Commonwealth nations generally but only those which ‘share’ the British monarchy (the ‘Commonwealth realm’) which get a say in matters of royal succession (the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, et al). These nations are no longer colonies – most of them haven’t been so for 50 -100 years, and thus the Queen is no longer an ‘Empress’ but is the constitutional monarch of each nation in the Commonwealth realm.

  • Cincinnatus

    I would care if the British monarchy were relevant. Since it’s not, I don’t. That ship sailed about 300 years ago.

  • Cincinnatus

    I would care if the British monarchy were relevant. Since it’s not, I don’t. That ship sailed about 300 years ago.

  • Tom Hering

    I guess the new way is an improvement over the old way, but it’s not as funny.

    King Arthur: I am your king.
    Peasant Woman: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
    King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings.
    Peasant Woman: Well, how’d you become king, then?
    [ Angelic music plays ... ]
    King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king.
    Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
    King Arthur: Be quiet!
    Dennis the Peasant: You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

  • Tom Hering

    I guess the new way is an improvement over the old way, but it’s not as funny.

    King Arthur: I am your king.
    Peasant Woman: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
    King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings.
    Peasant Woman: Well, how’d you become king, then?
    [ Angelic music plays ... ]
    King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king.
    Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
    King Arthur: Be quiet!
    Dennis the Peasant: You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

  • Darren

    As one born a Canadian subject, I approve of this change :)

  • Darren

    As one born a Canadian subject, I approve of this change :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What about Netherlands, Denmark, etc., haven’t they always had direct accession? Or am I mistaken? If I recall, that is how Denmark lost Schleswig Holstein.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What about Netherlands, Denmark, etc., haven’t they always had direct accession? Or am I mistaken? If I recall, that is how Denmark lost Schleswig Holstein.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Cincinnatus,

    One’s view of the relevance of the British monarchy probably depends on where one lives. It’s within my lifetime – and I’m not as old as Dr Veith – that the Crown ‘sacked’ a duly elected Australian government. The same could happen again if circumstances warranted it. If that’s not relevant, what is? Btw, an election was called soon after this event in which the electors confirmed the Crown’s actions.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Cincinnatus,

    One’s view of the relevance of the British monarchy probably depends on where one lives. It’s within my lifetime – and I’m not as old as Dr Veith – that the Crown ‘sacked’ a duly elected Australian government. The same could happen again if circumstances warranted it. If that’s not relevant, what is? Btw, an election was called soon after this event in which the electors confirmed the Crown’s actions.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Btw, and completely off-topic, a race horse named ‘Lucas Cranach’ placed third in the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s richest horse races, here on Tuesday. I don’t normally take an interest in such things, but the name caught my attention.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Btw, and completely off-topic, a race horse named ‘Lucas Cranach’ placed third in the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s richest horse races, here on Tuesday. I don’t normally take an interest in such things, but the name caught my attention.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    My horse! (Not really). Maybe we could set up a syndicate to buy this horse through this blog. (Not really.) Can you find out who does own that horse? Maybe one of those Australian Lutheran winegrowers? Thanks, Mark, for this information, which takes Cranach as our patron saint of vocation in a new direction!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    My horse! (Not really). Maybe we could set up a syndicate to buy this horse through this blog. (Not really.) Can you find out who does own that horse? Maybe one of those Australian Lutheran winegrowers? Thanks, Mark, for this information, which takes Cranach as our patron saint of vocation in a new direction!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    ‘Thanks, Mark, for this information, which takes Cranach as our patron saint of vocation in a new direction!’

    You’re welcome, and indeed it does, Dr Veith!

    Alas, the horse was not Australian, but was especially imported for the Melbourne Cup from Germany, which probably accounts for his name, a tribute to Cranach from a proud German, perhaps even a faithful Lutheran? I haven’t been able to find out thus far. In any case, Lucas Cranach the horse is now undoubtedly more famous than his namesake, at least ‘down under’, where the Melbourne Cup ‘stops the nation’ every year.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    ‘Thanks, Mark, for this information, which takes Cranach as our patron saint of vocation in a new direction!’

    You’re welcome, and indeed it does, Dr Veith!

    Alas, the horse was not Australian, but was especially imported for the Melbourne Cup from Germany, which probably accounts for his name, a tribute to Cranach from a proud German, perhaps even a faithful Lutheran? I haven’t been able to find out thus far. In any case, Lucas Cranach the horse is now undoubtedly more famous than his namesake, at least ‘down under’, where the Melbourne Cup ‘stops the nation’ every year.

  • Pingback: Hark what discord follows when you meddle with the monarchy – Telegraph | Odds and Ends: Pit's Complete Waste of Bandwidth

  • Pingback: Hark what discord follows when you meddle with the monarchy – Telegraph | Odds and Ends: Pit's Complete Waste of Bandwidth


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