Although it’s been many years since women got the right to vote, there are still some archaic rules in the British Monarchy, namely the rules of succession which state that a male child has precedence over a female child in the line of succession to the throne. Currently, the law in the UK is governed by male-preference primogeniture. (Wikipedia explains this in great detail here.)
If the current law stands as is, then should William and Kate give birth to a girl next year and a boy the following year, the boy will be ahead of the girl in the line of succession to the crown. This rule was established in 1701 and entitled the The Act of Settlement 1701, and it still governs succession to the Throne to this very day.
Some people think that the line of succession is governed by age, but this is not the case. Prince William is younger than many of the other people behind him in the line of succession; however he is second in line to the throne because he is the son of Prince Charles who is first in line.
Princess Anne is the Queen’s oldest child, however, she is eighth in line to the throne because males go ahead of females in the totally unfair rules of succession! If the law would change to accomidate William and Kate’s first child who may be a girl, would Princess Anne move ahead of Prince Charles to be number one in line to the throne? That would put Prince William somewhere around number 8, which may make the public lose interest in Kate and put the spotlight onto Peter, Savannah, and Zara Phillips who are Anne’s children and grandchild!
It has been argued that the discrimination against women, Roman Catholics and those born out of wedlock means that the rules of succession are now illegal. Hmm, what do you do if the rulers of your country are breaking the law?
However, the law favoring males seems completely antiquated and sexist in the year 2011 as Prince William and Princess Kate marry and start a family. There has been talk in the Parliament about changing the law so that if Kate’s eldest child is a girl, she would be ahead of a younger brother in the line of succession. British Labour MP Keith Vaz is the man who has been a leader on this issue. He has introduced legislation, led debates in the House and written to many notables on the matter, including: the Queen, Prince William, and the Prime Minister, to name a few.
Now that the Royal Family has a website, a Facebook page, as well as a twitter account, it seems that the time is right for them to start treating baby girls with just as much respect as baby boys! And they can’t act too soon, as Kate may just give birth to the cutest new little member of the royal family in less than a year’s time!
All of this discussion assumes that Kate and William will procreate. How does that work in the Royal Family? Does the Queen order her children to become pregnant? What if the couple proves to be infertile? Would William and Kate adopt a child? Would an adoptive child be an heir to the throne? Here’s a fun scenario: What if William and Kate decide to adopt an African child who is also gay — I’d like to see the Queen’s reaction to that!