The Daily Telegraph reports today (external link) that British Prime Minister David Cameron has written a letter to the prime ministers of the fifteen (the article erroneously says sixteen) other countries of which Queen Elizabeth II is head of state proposing certain changes to the succession to the throne.
Cameron wants to introduce gender-neutral succession (like in all other European kingdoms except Spain), to end the ban on those who have married Catholics from succeeding to the throne and to limit the need to ask the monarch’s permission for marrying to the first six people in line to the throne. The issue will also be discussed at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth in Australia later this month.
While there is widespread support for these changes the complicating fact is that all the countries of which Elizabeth II is queen must make the same changes to their acts of succession to avoid a scenario whereby the various thrones are inherited by different heirs based on different rules.
This is obviously not in danger of happening as these changes would not affect the positions of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge as first and second in line to the throne, but were Prince William to have a daughter as his first child, this might become an issue.
Thus this is probably the best time to make these changes, although some have feared that raising the issue of the succession to the throne in the overseas realms may be like opening a can of worm in relating to the various countries’ links to the British monarchy.
Were Prince William to have a firstborn daughter before the changes are made the changes will be retroactive, the BBC adds. It could also be added that the changes will only apply to the descendants of Prince Charles, meaning that his brothers and their descendants will still be ahead of Princess Anne in the order of succession.