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Female succession

January 2012

Female succession

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the beginning of the end of male primogeniture in relation to the Crown.
    In October, the Commonwealth countries agreed to change the rules of royal succession, meaning that women are now counted as being in line for the throne of England. It means any potential daughter of Prince William and Katherine, if she is born first, may become queen one day.
    While gender equality was hailed as a good thing, the Commonwealth also overturned the ruling that Catholics were not allowed to sit on the throne.
    After centuries of rule from Rome, the Reformation brought about the start of a chain of events that saw our Protestant freedoms enshrined in law — one of which was that the king or queen of England must be a Protestant and protect the Church of England.
    However, the Commonwealth has overturned this in the name of equality, without considering the implications for our Protestant heritage.
    The news was, of course, welcomed by senior figures in the Catholic Church. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said, ‘I welcome the decision of Her Majesty’s Government to give heirs to the throne the freedom to marry a Catholic without being removed from the line of succession.
    ‘This will eliminate a point of unjust discrimination against Catholics and will be welcomed not only by Catholics but far more widely. At the same time I fully recognise the importance of the position of the Established Church in protecting and fostering the role of faith in our society today’.

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