Royal Marriage Law to be Abolished?

Tony Blair’s successor faces an interesting challenge in his first year as Prime Minister. There is a provision in the 1701 Act of Settlement that ensures the ascendency of protestant royals and forbids British Monarchs or their heirs from marrying Catholics.

So why does Mr. Brown have to consult with constitutional advisers and repealing this part of the Act of Settlement? It may have to do with the fact that Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, the eldest grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and 10th in line to the throne announced his engagement last week. Mr. Phillips is planning to marry Autumn Kelly, a Canadian Catholic.

Under the 1701 Act of Settlement, Mr. Phillips is required to give up his place in the line of succession or his fiancé needs to formally renounce the Catholic faith. This is an issue that Labor and Tory governments have avoided addressing because there are implications for the Church of England. Remember, the monarch is the titular head of the Church of England and it is Protestant. What would happen if a Catholic ascended the throne?
It’s definitely a complex situation.

The law itself is under attack from many sides for being discriminatory. It’s a thorny issue and it’s not one that will be easily resolved. Many ministers see it as a matter of principle and that there are other areas that are more in need of reform.

Does this mean that Mr. Phillips is likely to renounce his ascension to the throne? Potentially. Will his future bride renounce her Catholicism? No idea. The Princess Royal refused titles for her children years ago when they were born because she wanted to avoid the publicity that courtesy titles could bring them. Her husband at the time, Mark Phillips, is rumored to have refused an earldom on his wedding day and likely at Princess Anne’s request.

Related Articles:

Charles & Diana: A Love Story?

Celebrity Marriages (or not): Prince William and Kate Middleton

Love & Romance: This Day in History

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.