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Are we rushing succession laws? Prince Charles has concerns

- January 7th, 2013

 

Prince Charles has reportedly raised concerns that politicians are rushing succession laws. (PHOTO: Leon Neal/AFP)

Prince Charles has reportedly raised concerns about plans to change the succession law, saying it’s being rushed through by politicians and is worried the changes may have “unintended consequences.”

The new succession law, which all of the Commonwealth countries have agreed to, would make the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first born heir to the throne – no matter if it’s a boy or girl.

But the Daily Mail reports Charles has raised concerns in private meetings.

It’s not that he’s concerned about a girl ruling – he just wants to make sure things are done properly right from the start.

A “well-placed source” told the Mail Charles is worried to new rules have not been thought through.

He also wants to know what will happen if the heir is permitted to marry a Catholic (another proposed change) – their children would then be raised Catholic and according to law, a Catholic cannot become king or queen.

Charles raising questions is said to be a blow to the British government, which has been moving ahead with plans to change the laws. They’re in a rush now because the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant and expecting her first child this summer.

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6 comments

  1. Stephen Smith | January 8, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Nothing but a red herring. Change the premigeneter part of the law first then deal with the other after. Get over it man. Englands best monarchs have all been women.

  2. Will | January 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Ummm, Kate….

    You wrote:
    “The new succession law, which all of the Commonwealth countries have agreed to”

    Well, yes, maybe in principle, but it will take a little bit more than that to prevent a royal “dis-union” if the new royal baby is a girl, or any first child of a future sovereign is a girl.

    I recall reading somewhere that the 1701 Act of Settlement, into which the succession rules were written, was made a part of all Commonwealth countries’ constitutions – ‘hard-wired’ into them, to coin a phrase.

    As a result of this, although the British will be able to change their own succession rules by simply passing an amendment to the Act of Settlement, the other Commonwealth countries in union with the British monarchy, including Canada, will need to change their constitutions.

    In Canada’s case, I hope that you will appreciate the monumental task involved in making a constitutional change to the “office of the Canadian monarch”, which is covered under the “unanimity formula”, meaning that both the House and Senate, as well as all of the provinces, would need to agree to such a change.

    What are the chances of Quebec agreeing to such a change, even if everyone else agrees (which is not necessarily certain)? Quebec has no special love of the British monarchy, so I can’t see them helping to change the rules of succession – unless, I suppose, we remove the Act of Settlement’s ‘ban’ against Catholics and other non-Protestants being able to become the sovereign of Canada – probably far-fetched, I admit.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: If Kate and Will’s child is a daughter, and then go on to have a son, the daughter will eventually become the Queen of England, while the son will eventually become the King of Canada and any other countries whose constitutions are not changed. Over time, the royal lines will diverge to the point where (I hope) Canadians see no point in having a British-born monarch, especially those Canadians of non-Protestant faith who disagree with the religious discrimination written into the Act of Settlement.

    Kate, do you disagree with my facts? I’m sure you’ll disagree with my opinions, but do you disagree that Canada will need a constitutional amendment under the unanimity formula in order to fall in line with the succession rules being made in Britain?

    Furthermore, if we fail to change our own Constitution, do you disagree that there will eventually be a different British sovereign in the UK than in Canada?

    Yes, I admit it, I will delight in the constitutional chaos that will no doubt ensue in the future, if only I live long enough to witness it.

  3. J | January 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    How about having leaders elected by a vote and then all this nonsense can stop ?

  4. Will | January 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    That’s a fantastic idea!

    Despite being someone who might have been called a “Bloody Papist” (*) if I’d been alive during the early days of the Church of England, my dislike for the idea of a monarchy has nothing to do with being Catholic – at least not specifically.

    First, I dislike the very notion that someone should somehow be considered better or more ‘highborn’ than anyone else, simply by their ‘bloodline’. This smacks of a caste system.

    Second, although I admit to some flirtatious attraction to the maxim that the best form of government is a benevolent dictator, because s/he has ultimate power and ideally will use it to act in the best interest of his/her people, history has shown that very few dictators, royal or otherwise, have been particularly benevolent. I suppose that the Magna Carta took care of this particular problem, however :-), at least in the case of the British / (sometimes German, until the mid 1800′s) monarchy, i.e., by making the monarchy largely ceremonial.

    Third, as a Canadian, I resent the idea that our Head of State is a foreigner. Clearly, the British monarchy’s first priority is Britain, and while their interests have not clashed with ours (yet?), I would prefer that this never become an issue, by designating the Prime Minister as Head of State. Many countries have their ‘chief executive’ as Head of State as well, so this kind of move wouldn’t necessarily be so radical.

    Fourth, so many people say that Canada should maintain the monarchy, even if it is largely ceremonial, just because it is ‘tradition’. Well then, if we absolutely MUST have a monarchy, let it be truly *Canadian*. But who would we choose? We don’t have any Canadians with ‘royal blood’, do we? Maybe Autumn Kelly’s line, perhaps? At least then, Canada’s monarchy would still be connected (by blood at least) to the British monarchy, plus they’d have that damnable ‘royal blood’, for people who still care about such things.

    Fifth and finally, the British sovereign is also the head of the Church of England (whom we call Anglicans, I believe, in Canada). At some point in the past, having our Head of State also being the head of the Church of England made at least some sense, when the majority of the population was Protestant and the plurality of the population (I believe) was Anglican. Now, however, with a much more diverse population, the Church of England is no longer as representative of Canada’s population as it once was.

    By the way…..

    * Papist: A somewhat disparaging term for a Catholic, but by comparison, not nearly as hateful as, for example, n*r for Africans. (Sorry, I’m just not going to say it)

  5. J | January 18, 2013 at 10:05 am

    A good reason when we make the change to just scrap the whole thing for good.

  6. James | January 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    What odd reasons to dispense with the Canadian monarchy: “A law relating to the Crown is discriminatory, so scrap the whole institution; I’ve determined the impossiblity of a head of state being foreign to the state she heads is both possible and true for Canada, so scrap the whole institution; even though there’s no such requirement in law or principle, I’ve determined the Queen is queen because she’s been deemed better than the rest of us, so scrap the whole institution.”

    And in favour of what? The prime minister as head of state? Yes, you do seem to tend towards dictatorship, since that’s what you advocate; remove the figure that actually holds all power of government and only lends it to the prime minister so long as he follows the fundamental constitutional rules and, instead, hand it all directly to the prime minister to wield it as he pleases without fear of being legitimately dismissed. Contrary to your claim, only one country practices anything remotely like that: South Africa. Is that really the model for Canada to emulate?

    Far more likely, Canada would remain a Westminster parlaimentary democracy with head of state and head of government separated, except with the monarch replaced by a president, to be chosen either via another multi-million dollar public slug-fest between political party backed party hacks or a parliamentary electoral college controlled by the party that coincidentally most dominates at the time the change of president is required and which will select a party hack (without going to Wikipedia or Google, can anyone name the President of Finland? Germany? Ireland?). How awesome! A politically disengaged royal class pulled down so an active and divisive political class can be elevated to the pinacle of the state. Just so we can have a head of state who’s a “real Canadian”, whatever it is that qualifies someone for that xenophobically tinged classification…

    And what of the provinces? With the headship of state shifted from a single monarch operating equally but separately in each of Canada’s 11 jurisdictions (one federal and 10 provincial; a governor exercising the monarch’s power in each) to a president in Ottawa, what will be done to maintain the same degree of sovereignty the Crown grants the provinces vis-a-vis the federal government?

    Most of the problems anti-monarchists see with the monarchy are problems they invented themselves (we’re a colony! the Queen’s a foreigner! It subverts democracy! It’s humiliating! Um.. No). There are some actual issues with the monarchy, just as there are will all governmental institutions. Neither, however, are reason to dismantle the entire construct of Canada’s constitutional monarchy (a massive undertaking, given the centrality of the Crown not only in the entire federal governmental system but each of the provinces as well, which is why the constitution requires complete unanimity between all 11 legislatures). Tweaks and fixes will do, as they have…

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