Law Change Would Let Royal Daughter Inherit the Throne; PM Launches Talks on Succession Issue
Byline: James Chapman Political Editor
FEARS of a constitutional crisis if Prince William and his wife Kate have a baby girl have led David Cameron to open talks with 16 countries about the line of succession.
A firstborn daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be overtaken in the line for the throne by any later brothers.
The Prime Minister has told Commonwealth leaders that in an age of gender equality, the 1701 Act of Settlement, which also stops royals marrying Roman Catholics, is out of date and discriminatory.
Buckingham Palace is understood to have approved a concerted effort to change the law, even though legislation will have to be overhauled or introduced all around the world.
A decision is expected at a summit of Commonwealth leaders due to take place in Australia at the end of this month.
In Japan, there was a public backlash over succession laws favouring men when Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako had a girl, Princess Toshi, who is their only child.
In the past, courtiers have been concerned that trying to push through legislation in every country where the Queen is head of state could 'open a Pandora's Box'.
There is particular concern about Australia, where republican politicians would be certain to try to amend legislation changing succession laws to have the Queen ousted. But the royal wedding earlier this year has apparently persuaded courtiers that action is necessary.
Any change is expected to require the agreement of all 16 Commonwealth realms.
The 16 are the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Belize, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Papua New Guinea.
Mr Cameron is now proposing that for all descendants of the Prince of Wales, a younger son should no longer take precedence over an elder daughter in the line of succession. …