The Daily Telegraph (external link) today reports that the Cabinet Office says discussions have been held with the other Commonwealth countries of which the British sovereign is monarch about changing the rules of succession to the throne.
The Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has made a parliamentary motion calling for changes which will end male primogeniture and the ban on Catholics succeeding to the throne. With the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton this has of course become a bit more “urgent” as the current rules mean that if their first child is a girl, she will be surpassed in the succession by a younger brother.
Britain and Spain are now the only European kingdoms left with a male-preferred order of succession. Sweden was the first country to introduce full cognatic succession in 1980, followed by the Netherlands in 1983, Norway in 1990, Belgium in 1991 and Denmark in 2009.
In the Daily Telegraph (external link) one can also read that Prince Charles in an interview with American TV channel NBC said that his wife “could be” queen, which might indicate an interesting development.
Although his wife Camilla is by right the Princess of Wales, she has chosen not to use the title strongly associated with his late ex-wife and rather goes by one of the subsidary titles, Duchess of Cornwall. When he succeeds to the throne, she will, again by right, be queen, but since their engagement in 2005 it has been said that it is “intended” that she will be styled “Her Royal Highness the Princess Consort”.
It has however been interesting to note that the court has always been careful to use the word “intended”, which of course means that one might eventually go for another option and say that it was only an intention, not a decision.
When asked by NBC’s Brian Williams if his wife would become queen, Prince Charles replied: “That’s, well…we’ll see, won’t we? That could be”. But, more interestingly, Clarence House said that “[t]he intention absolutely remains [...]”, but added: “However we have always made it clear that when the day comes, whatever the circumstances are at the time, the Government would have the final say on the title the Duchess uses”.