Royal Family Law

Congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton, whose engagement was officially announced today. Slate‘s “Explainer” answers some frequently asked questions about royal marriage:

If the queen really didn’t like Kate Middleton, could she stop the wedding?
She could make it difficult. Under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, the monarch’s direct descendants must seek his or her permission to marry. But if a prince or princess can’t get the monarch’s consent, they just have to wait a year. Unless both houses of Parliament object, the marriage is on.
Royals who elope without the royal blessing aren’t removed from succession, but their marriage is void. Any children born to the couple are illegitimate and can’t ascend to the throne.

I was a bit surprised to find out that the Prince would not be allowed to succeed to the throne if he married a Roman Catholic, pursuant to the 1701 Act of Settlement. (A marriage to someone of any other faith – or, presumably, no faith at all – would be okay, as long as the Sovereign swears allegiance to the Church of England.) I’m a fan of the Monarchy, in no small part because it ticks off Canadians whom I enjoy seeing ticked off, but I think it might be time to amend that one.
Unanswered: if, God forbid, the entire Royal Family is electrocuted, does John Goodman ascend to the throne?

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3 thoughts on “Royal Family Law

  1. Well, the reason for the non-Catholic clause is pretty good: the sovereign is the head of the Church of England.
    They’ll change this when the Roman Catholic Church has a Protestant Pope…

  2. I used to favour the Monarchy and I’m still a fan of the Queen. But when Her Majesty goes, that’s it for me. Charles is a left-wing nutcase, his wife Camilla an unprincipled adulteress, William by all accounts is a chip off of Dear Old Dad and Kate’s a gold-digger (she attended Prince William’s school for the precise purpose of hooking up with him). If she’s anything like previous Windsor brides, Kate will kick over the traces as soon as royal life gets too demanding for her and we’ll be treated to yet another Royal Divorce.
    Enough with the royal soap opera already. Time for a Republic.

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