British Monarchy Scraps Rule of Male Succession in New Step to Modernization – NYTimes.com

A change of monarchical procedure from 500 years of history dating back to Henry VIII opens up to women, but not Catholics:

The decision to overturn the centuries-old tradition known as primogeniture was accompanied by the scrapping of a constitutional prohibition on the monarch’s marrying a Roman Catholic. But the rule that reserves the throne to Protestants will remain.

via British Monarchy Scraps Rule of Male Succession in New Step to Modernization – NYTimes.com.

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6 thoughts on “British Monarchy Scraps Rule of Male Succession in New Step to Modernization – NYTimes.com

  1. lrav says:

    I think it is really interesting that the British Monarchy is making some select changes to their monarchical procedures. I think it’s great that they are opening up and accepting women’s rights and making them a part of their reign and procedure. But I also think it’s prejudicial that they continue to ban Catholics from being a member of the Royal family. And I understand that that movement goes back hundreds of years, but since they are trying to modernize, isn’t it time to move on already?

  2. Jessica Beckstrand says:

    What an interesting move by the British Monarchy. I’m in support of this decision to allow women to enter into the succession of the throne. In the world today we see more and more women becoming politicians, CEOs, and playing a major role in the professional arena. The attitude that men are better than women because they are men is slowly fading away. Surely this is a major set in the history of commonwealth rule. Removing the gender bias, is beneficial in my opinion. The current monarch Queen Elizabeth has done a very good job and her country loves her. I see nothing wrong with more queens in England

    I agree and disagree with Irav above. The ban on Catholics is indeed prejudice, but that solution may not be as easy to solve. The deep roots of the initial legislation that bans the marrying of a Catholic will make it much more difficult to resolve. The Act of Settlement in 1701 was a way to make a stand against the church and maintain the rule of the constitutional monarch. Even though I believe that the rulers of England should be able to marry not based on religious belief, it make take longer to sort through.

    http://www.royal.gov.uk/historyofthemonarchy/kingsandqueensoftheunitedkingdom/thestuarts/maryiiwilliamiiiandtheactofsettlement/theactofsettlement.aspx

  3. adebayoj says:

    I agree with the comments above that it is a reasonably good thing that the Monarchy has decided to include women into succession to the throne. Personally, I am of the opinion that Monarchy of any kind in this age is somewhat useless and a little ridiculous. I think the fact that women have just been allowed to be able to ascend to the throne shows how backwards the idea of a modern monarchy is. They really don’t do any good in my own opinion. It is true however that the royal family in England signifies the unique history that the country has, and abolishing the monarchy would lead to some sort of ‘lost’ history for the British people, so a current compromise would be to modernize the monarchy while retaining it in order to enable the British people retain their sense of nostalgia.

    Here is an article that calls for the modernization of the monarchy:

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/blogs/the_angle/2011/04/if_not_abolish.html

  4. ccherrington says:

    To some extent, I agree with Irav in that it is great to see the British Monarchy making such positive improvements. On the other hand, I was confused by a few of Irav’s points. When Irav said “I also think it’s prejudicial that they continue to ban Catholics from being a member of the Royal family,” I thought back to the instance in Burns’ article in which the author stated, “The decision to overturn the centuries-old tradition known as primogeniture was accompanied by the scrapping of a constitutional prohibition on the monarch’s marrying a Roman Catholic” (Burns). Along with the changes in the succession to the throne, it was deemed that Catholics are no longer excluded from the royal family by marriage.
    At the same time, they are banned from being the actual monarch. For example, “What remains unchanged in the succession rules is the requirement that the monarch be a Protestant, not a ‘Papist’ as the Act of Settlement provided, and ‘in communion’ with the Church of England” (Burns). Though it may seem a bit barbaric to prevent Catholics from succeeding the throne, there is a legitimate reason for this which is explained in Burns’ article by the following quotation, “In his remarks in Perth, Mr. Cameron reaffirmed the rule that reserves the throne to a Protestant. ‘Let me be clear,’ he said, ‘the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England, because he or she is the head of the church’” (Cameron qtd. in Burns).
    Another argument Irav caused me to do a double take is the ensuing statement, “And I understand that that movement goes back hundreds of years, but since they are trying to modernize, isn’t it time to move on already?” If by “move on,” you mean make complete shift in the British Monarchy, then by all means, “move on.” My purpose for saying this is that the Church of England is so deeply rooted in the British Monarchy, that it would be more than difficult to separate the two entities after centuries of Protestantism and the Monarchy being hand-in-hand with one another. If we take things one step at a time instead, it will make for a smoother transition for England.

  5. emearnshaw says:

    I agree that it is great that Britain is modernizing (and really great that they are letting a female heir ascend to the throne). I think it is really incredible that they are amending legislation that dates back to 1801 I can understand why they are keeping the law that the ruler must be a protestant of the Church of England, especially if the royal family has always been protestant. Although I wonder if you had a king that converted on the throne (or a queen now for that matter) what England would do.

    In further research I learned about another group in England called Republic that would like to have an elected head of state and argue in this case that nothing of substance has been gained. They argue that while we no longer discriminate between Windsor family boys and girls, we still discriminate against every man, woman, and child who is not born into the Windsor family. They seem to have a point, yet, how do you abolish something so traditional and embedded as the royal family?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15492607

  6. taeherr says:

    The British Monarchy is an obsolete part of Great Britain’s government. As Head of State, the Queen does little more than pose for photo opportunities. To maintain its relevance the Monarchy must modernize, and changing the Rule of Male Succession is a step in the right direction. However, the Monarchy will have to do more if it wishes to retain popularity with its subjects. That is why continuing to ban Catholics from the Throne may negatively effect the monarchy. If at any time the Monarchy appears outdated, prejudice, or antiquated the citizens of the United Kingdom may call for its abolishment. The British Throne is safe for the time being because of the modernizing steps it has taken this year. Along with the Rule of Male Succession changing, Prince William (heir to the British Throne) was allowed to married a commoner. These two steps will ensure the continuation of the British Monarchy for at least two more generations.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/kate_middleton/index.html?scp=2&sq=british%20monarchy&st=cse

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