Kate, William and Male Primogeniture

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Among all the reports and speculation about the upcoming wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, the issue of primogeniture has been largely left alone. Primogeniture is the right of the first born to inherit everything. I was shocked to learn the British monarchy works on the male form of primogeniture, meaning that if the royal couple’s first child is a girl, she would not automatically have the right to succeed.

Lorely Burt MP for Solihul has tabled a Commons motion to change the current laws of succession, which discriminate against a female first born. She talked about it today in an interview for Women’s Hour.

This is not the first attempt to change this law. Labour Peer Lord Dubs published a member’s bill in December 2004 to reform succession to the throne but withdrew it in January 2005. The issue of male primogeniture was raised again in 2008 as part of the Equality Act, but ruled out as it would require the consent of some Commonwealth countries or even changing their laws.

If we have to have a monarchy, even if only to bring in tourists, I would rather have a female first born rule over me than a second born male. It’s not as if women do not have the skills to rule the country, the current Queen is an example of a capable monarch. Let’s hope this motion gets through this time.

Photo by Funky Shapes, shared on Flikr under a Creative Commons license