MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – September 09, 2022) Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, in full Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, died Thursday at the age of 96 after 70 years of reign. She became the second longest reigning monarch in European history after French King Louis XIV.
Now, after the Queen’s death, her son, Charles III, is supposed to be officially named King of the United Kingdom. In connection with these events, it is time to recall the principle of succession to the British throne.
Male heirs had priority in succession to the British throne by birth for many centuries. The law was based on primogeniture, which offered the first-born legitimate son the possibility of inheriting his parents’ property, even if he had older sisters.
Rule was established by the Act of Settlement 1701, which also secured the British throne for Protestants, and a number of other settlements, including the Union with Scotland Act 1706, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the British-Irish Acts of Union 1800, the Declaration of Membership Act 1910 and the Regency Act 1937.
The first discussions of changing the order of succession to the British throne emerged in the early 1980s, but the idea did not find support from the British government at the time.
However, as social norms shifted, as movements for gender equality and religious freedom emerged and spread around the world in the 21st century, the British government raised the issue of inheritance reform.
Final approval of the new law required the consent of all 16 Commonwealth nations, where the British monarch was considered a formal head of state.
On October 28, 2011, at the Commonwealth Summit, the countries’ leaders approved changes to the rules of succession to the British throne, abolishing the long-standing tradition of priority for male heirs. Since then, the first child born to the royal couple, regardless of gender, is considered an heir to the throne. In addition, the new legislation cancels the principle prohibiting a future British monarch from marrying a Catholic.
On April 25, 2013, the UK enacted the Succession to the Crown Act giving effect to the reforms. The new rules came into force on March 26, 2015, after ratification by all Commonwealth nations. The law applies to people born after October 28, 2011.
Now, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the crown will be inherited by her son, Charles III. Her eldest son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is next in line. He is followed by his children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Fifth in line is Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the youngest son of Charles III, and sixth is Harry’s eldest, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.