Friday, 3 August 2007

Princess Anne's son to lose place in line to the throne

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Leaving aside for one moment the wider question of monarchy, the archaic Act of Settlement has this week reared its ugly head as a result of a fairly obscure royal, Peter Phillips (off with my head if I'm wrong, but I'd never heard of him), getting engaged to a Catholic.

Phillips, who is Princess Anne's son, was 10th in line to the throne but now, thanks to the establishment of the Church of England, he will have about as much chance as I have of becoming King of England.

The 1701 Act of Settlement prohibits monarchs from becoming or marrying Catholics, so poor Peter will have to relinquish his place in the line when he marries his Catholic fiancee Autumn Kelly, unless she gives up her religion.

Obviously monarchy itself poses plenty of difficult questions for a democratic society in the 21st century, but if that's the system we're going to have then the least we could do is ensure that our head of state doesn't by law have to come from the Church of England. Surely it's time the Act of Settlement was erased from statute books? You never know, with that toppled all the other dominoes of establishment might begin to fall. Well, we can dream anyway...


Laurence Boyce said...

If he's going to marry a Catholic, then losing his place in the succession is probably the least of his problems.