Succession to the British throne

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The Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords, from which the speech is delivered at State Openings of Parliament Sovereign's Throne.jpg
The Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords, from which the speech is delivered at State Openings of Parliament

Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex (for people born before October 2011), legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". [1] Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible. [2]

Common law Law developed by judges

In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch. Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.

Bill of Rights 1689 Act of the English Parliament guaranteeing certain rights

The Bill of Rights, also known as the English Bill of Rights, is an Act of the Parliament of England that sets out certain basic civil rights and clarifies who would be next to inherit the Crown. It received the Royal Assent on 16 December 1689 and is a restatement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William III and Mary II in February 1689, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. The Bill of Rights lays down limits on the powers of the monarch and sets out the rights of Parliament, including the requirement for regular parliaments, free elections, and freedom of speech in Parliament. It sets out certain rights of individuals including the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and reestablished the right of Protestants to have arms for their defence within the rule of law. It also includes no right of taxation without Parliament’s agreement. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights described and condemned several misdeeds of James II of England.

Act of Settlement 1701 Former United Kingdom law disqualifying Catholic monarchs

The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English and Irish crowns on Protestants only. The next Protestant in line to the throne was the Electress Sophia of Hanover, a granddaughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England. After her the crowns would descend only to her non-Roman Catholic heirs.

Contents

Queen Elizabeth II is the sovereign, and her heir apparent is her eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales. Next in line after him is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales's elder son. Third in line is Prince George, the eldest child of the Duke of Cambridge, followed by his sister, Princess Charlotte and younger brother, Prince Louis. Sixth in line is Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the younger son of the Prince of Wales. Under the Perth Agreement, which came into effect in 2015, only the first six in line of succession require the sovereign's consent before they marry; without such consent, they and their children would be disqualified from succession.

Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.

Charles, Prince of Wales Son of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952, and is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

The first four individuals in the line of succession who are over 21, and the sovereign's consort, may be appointed Counsellors of State. Counsellors of State perform some of the sovereign's duties in the United Kingdom while he or she is out of the country or temporarily incapacitated. Otherwise, individuals in the line of succession need not have specific legal or official roles.

In the United Kingdom, Counsellors of State are senior members of the British Royal Family to whom the monarch, currently Elizabeth II, delegates certain state functions and powers when not in the United Kingdom or unavailable for other reasons. Any two Counsellors of State may preside over Privy Council meetings, sign state documents, or receive the credentials of new ambassadors to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom is one of the 16 Commonwealth realms. Each of those countries has the same person as monarch and the same order of succession. In 2011, the prime ministers of the realms agreed unanimously to adopt a common approach to amending the rules on the succession to their respective Crowns so that absolute primogeniture would apply for persons born after the date of the agreement, instead of male-preference primogeniture, and the ban on marriages to Roman Catholics would be lifted, but the monarch would still need to be in communion with the Church of England. After the necessary legislation had been enacted in accordance with each realm's constitution, the changes took effect on 26 March 2015.

Commonwealth realm sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II or her successors as its monarch

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in which Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. Each realm is independent from the other realms. As of 2019, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom. All 16 Commonwealth realms are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states. Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth.

The Perth Agreement is an agreement made by the prime ministers of the sixteen countries of the Commonwealth of Nations which retain the Westminster monarchical form of government. The Perth Agreement concerns amendments to the royal succession to the British Monarchy, whose institutions and legal framework are (largely) shared equally between Britain and the other Commonwealth realms. The changes, in summary, comprised replacing male-preference primogeniture ― under which male descendants take precedence over females in the line of succession ― with absolute primogeniture ; ending the disqualification of those who had married Roman Catholics; and limiting the number of individuals in line to the throne requiring permission from the Sovereign to marry. However, the ban on Catholics and other non-Protestants becoming Monarch and the requirement for the Sovereign to be in communion with the Church of England remained.

The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can also refer to the rule of law; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of government and the civil service.

Current line of succession

First six in line [n 1] from 23 April 2018
1. The Prince of Wales Charles, Prince of Wales at COP21.jpg
2. The Duke of Cambridge Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.jpg
3. Prince George of Cambridge Prince George of Cambridge color fix.jpg
4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
5. Prince Louis of Cambridge
6. The Duke of Sussex Prince Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games opening ceremony.jpg

No official, complete version of the line of succession is currently maintained. The exact number, in remoter collateral lines, of the people who would be eligible is uncertain. In 2001, American genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner compiled a list of 4,973 living descendants of the Electress Sophia in order of succession, but did so disregarding Roman Catholic status. [3] When updated in January 2011, the number was 5,753. [4]

William Addams Reitwiesner was an American genealogist who traced the ancestry of United States political figures, European royalty and celebrities.

The annotated list below covers the first part of this line of succession, being limited to descendants of the sons of George V, Elizabeth II's grandfather. The order of the first eighteen numbered in the list is given on the official website of the British Monarchy; [1] other list numbers and exclusions are explained by annotations (Notes and sources below) and footnotes. People named in italics are unnumbered either because they are deceased or because sources report them to be excluded from the succession.

Notes and sources
MarkSource for listing or note on exclusion from succession
1952Succession published on the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952  [6]
BListed by the official website of the British Monarchy, "Succession", retrieved 8 May 2019.
DListed on Debrett's website (as of 27 April 2018): "The Line of Succession"
WListed by Whitaker's Almanack 2015, London: Bloomsbury, ISBN   978-1-4729-0929-9, p. 22
MThese people had been excluded through marriage to a Roman Catholic. This exclusion was repealed on 26 March 2015, restoring them to the line of succession, when the Perth Agreement came into effect.
XExcluded as Roman Catholics. This exclusion is not affected by changes subsequent to the Perth Agreement.

History

England

In 1485, Henry Tudor, a female-line descendant of a legitimated branch of the royal house of Lancaster, the House of Beaufort, assumed the English crown as Henry VII, after defeating Richard III, who was killed at the battle of Bosworth when leading a charge against Henry's standard. Richard was the last king of the House of York, and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Henry declared himself king retroactively from 21 August 1485, the day before his victory over Richard at Bosworth Field, [7] and caused Richard's Titulus Regius to be repealed and expunged from the Rolls of Parliament. [8] After Henry's coronation in London in October that year, his first parliament, summoned to meet at Westminster in November, enacted that "the inheritance of the crown should be, rest, remain and abide in the most royal person of the then sovereign lord, King Henry VII, and the heirs of his body lawfully coming." [9]

Henry VII was followed by his son, Henry VIII. Though his father descended from the Lancastrians, Henry VIII could also claim the throne through the Yorkist line, as his mother Elizabeth was the sister and heiress of Edward V. In 1542 Henry also assumed the title King of Ireland; this would pass down with the monarchs of England, and later Great Britain, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate crowns into that of the United Kingdom.

Henry VIII's numerous marriages led to several complications over succession. Henry VIII was first married to Catherine of Aragon, by whom he had a daughter named Mary. His second marriage, to Anne Boleyn, resulted in a daughter named Elizabeth. Henry VIII had a son, Edward, by his third wife, Jane Seymour. An Act of Parliament passed in 1533 declared Mary illegitimate; another passed in 1536 did the same for Elizabeth. Though the two remained illegitimate, an Act of Parliament passed in 1544 allowed reinserting them, providing further "that the King should and might give, will, limit, assign, appoint or dispose the said imperial Crown and the other premises … by letters patent or last will in writing." Mary and Elizabeth, under Henry VIII's will, were to be followed by descendants of the King's deceased sister Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk (he, however, excluded his niece Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk). This will also excluded from the succession the descendants of Henry's eldest sister Margaret Tudor, who were the rulers of Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth I enthroned in Parliament Elizabeth I in Parliament.jpg
Queen Elizabeth I enthroned in Parliament

When Henry VIII died in 1547, the young Edward succeeded him, becoming Edward VI. Edward VI was the first Protestant Sovereign to succeed to the rule of England. He attempted to divert the course of succession in his will to prevent his Catholic half-sister, Mary, from inheriting the throne. He excluded Mary and Elizabeth, settling on the Duchess of Suffolk's daughter, Lady Jane Grey. Jane was also originally excluded on the premise that no woman could reign over England. Nonetheless, the will, which originally referred to Jane's heirs-male, was amended to refer to Jane and her heirs-male. Upon Edward VI's death in 1553, Jane was proclaimed Queen of England and Ireland. She was not universally recognised and after nine days she was overthrown by the popular Mary. As Henry VIII's will had been approved by an Act of Parliament in 1544, Edward's contravening will was unlawful and ignored.

Mary was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth, who broke with the precedents of many of her predecessors, and refused to name an heir. Whilst previous monarchs (including Henry VIII) had specifically been granted authority to settle uncertain successions in their wills, the Treasons Act 1571 asserted that Parliament had the right to settle disputes, and made it treason to deny Parliamentary authority. Wary of threats from other possible heirs, Parliament further passed the Act of Association 1584, which provided that any individual involved in attempts to murder the Sovereign would be disqualified from succeeding. (The Act was repealed in 1863.)

Scotland

The House of Stewart (later Stuart) had ruled in Scotland since 1371. It had followed strict rules of primogeniture until the deposition and exile of Mary I in 1567; even then she was succeeded by her son, James VI.

After the union of the crowns

Stuarts

Elizabeth I of England and Ireland was succeeded by King James VI of Scotland, her first cousin twice removed, even though his succession violated Henry VIII's will, under which Lady Anne Stanley, heiress of Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk, was supposed to succeed. James asserted that hereditary right was superior to statutory provision, and as King of Scotland was powerful enough to deter any rival. He reigned as James I of England and Ireland, thus effecting the Union of the Crowns, although England and Scotland remained separate sovereign states until 1707. His succession was rapidly ratified by Parliament. [10]

House of Stuart.png
Principal members of the house of Stuart following the 1603 Union of the Crowns.

James's eldest surviving son and successor, Charles I, was overthrown and beheaded in 1649. The monarchy itself was abolished. A few years later, it was replaced by the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell, effectively a monarch with the title of Lord Protector rather than King. Cromwell had the right to name his own successor, which he exercised on his deathbed by choosing his son, Richard Cromwell. Richard was ineffective, and was quickly forced from office. Shortly afterwards, the monarchy was restored, with Charles I's son Charles II as King.

After the death of her last child in 1700, Princess Anne became the last individual left in the line of succession determined by the Bill of Rights. Anniex.jpg
After the death of her last child in 1700, Princess Anne became the last individual left in the line of succession determined by the Bill of Rights.

James II and VII, a Roman Catholic, followed his brother Charles II, despite efforts in the late 1670s to exclude him in favour of Charles's illegitimate Protestant son, the Duke of Monmouth. James was deposed when his Protestant opponents forced him to flee from England in 1688. Parliament then deemed that James had, by fleeing the realms, abdicated the thrones and offered the Crowns not to the King's infant son James but to his Protestant daughter Mary and to her husband William, who as James's nephew was the first person in the succession not descended from him. The two became joint Sovereigns (a unique circumstance in British history) as William III of England and Ireland (and II of Scotland) and Mary II of England, Scotland and Ireland. William had insisted on this unique provision as a condition of his military leadership against James.

The English Bill of Rights passed in 1689 determined succession to the English, Scottish and Irish Thrones. First in the line were the descendants of Mary II. Next came Mary's sister Princess Anne and her descendants. Finally, the descendants of William by any future marriage were added to the line of succession. Only Protestants were allowed to succeed to the Thrones, and those who married Roman Catholics were excluded.

After Mary II died in 1694, her husband continued to reign alone until his own death in 1702. The line of succession provided for by the Bill of Rights was almost at an end; William and Mary never had any children, and Princess Anne's children had all died. Therefore, Parliament passed the Act of Settlement. The Act maintained the provision of the Bill of Rights whereby William would be succeeded by Princess Anne and her descendants, and thereafter by his own descendants from future marriages. The Act, however, declared that they would be followed by James I & VI's granddaughter Sophia, Electress Dowager of Hanover (the daughter of James's daughter Elizabeth Stuart), and her heirs. As under the Bill of Rights, non-Protestants and those who married Roman Catholics were excluded.

Electress Sophia of Hanover (1630-1714) Kurfuerstin Sophie.JPG
Electress Sophia of Hanover (1630–1714)

Upon William's death, Anne became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland. Because the Parliament of England settled on Sophia as Anne's heir-presumptive without consulting Scottish leaders, the Estates of Scotland retaliated by passing the Scottish Act of Security. The Act provided that, upon the death of Anne, the Estates would meet to select an heir to the throne of Scotland, who could not be the same person as the English Sovereign unless numerous political and economic conditions were met. Anne originally withheld the Royal Assent, but was forced to grant it when the Estates refused to raise taxes and sought to withdraw troops from the Queen's army. England's Parliament responded by passing the Alien Act 1705, which threatened to cripple Scotland's economy by cutting off trade with them. Thus, Scotland had little choice but to unite with England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707; the Crown of the new nation (along with the Crown of Ireland) was subject to the rules laid down by the English Act of Settlement.

Hanoverians and Windsors

Benjamin Harris's Protestant Tutor, a primer popular for decades and the source for the New England Primer. Edition of 1713. Hanoverian propaganda extended to books for children's education. ProtestantTutor.png
Benjamin Harris's Protestant Tutor, a primer popular for decades and the source for the New England Primer . Edition of 1713. Hanoverian propaganda extended to books for children's education.

Anne was predeceased by Sophia, Electress Dowager of Hanover, and was therefore succeeded by the latter's son, who became George I in 1714.

Attempts were made in the risings of 1715 and 1745 to restore Stuart claimants to the Throne, supported by those who recognised the Jacobite succession. The House of Hanover nonetheless remained undeposed, and the Crown descended in accordance with the appointed rules. In 1801, following the Acts of Union 1800, the separate crowns of Great Britain and Ireland were merged and became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Between 1811 and 1820, when George III was deemed unfit to rule, the Prince of Wales (later George IV) acted as his regent. Some years later the Regency Act 1830 made provision for a change in the line of succession had a child been born to William IV after his death, but this event did not come about.

George VI receiving homage at his coronation in 1937 Coronation of George VI 1937.jpg
George VI receiving homage at his coronation in 1937

In 1936 Edward VIII abdicated 11 months after he succeeded to the throne immediately on his father's death. Edward was proclaimed King in January 1936, [11] and opened (for the only time) Parliament in November 1936. Edward VIII had desired to marry Wallis Simpson, a divorcee, but the Church of England, of which the British Sovereign is Supreme Governor, would not authorize the marriage of divorcees. Consequently, Parliament passed His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, by which Edward VIII ceased to be Sovereign "immediately upon" his royal assent as King being signified in Parliament on 11 December. The Act provided that he and his descendants, if any, were not to have any "right, title or interest in or to the succession to the Throne". Edward died childless in 1972.

Edward's abdication was "a demise of the Crown" (in the words of the Act), and the Duke of York, his brother who was then next in the line, immediately succeeded to the throne and to its "rights, privileges, and dignities", taking the regnal name George VI. He in turn was succeeded in 1952 by his own elder daughter, Elizabeth II. By that time the monarch of the United Kingdom no longer reigned in the greater part of Ireland (which had become a republic in 1949), but was the monarch of a number of independent sovereign states (Commonwealth realms).

Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953, passing to the left of the Coronation Chair Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II Couronnement de la Reine Elizabeth II.jpg
Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953, passing to the left of the Coronation Chair

By the terms of the Statute of Westminster 1931, each of the Commonwealth realms has the same person as monarch and, to maintain that arrangement, they have agreed to continue the same line of succession; some realms do so through domestic succession laws, while others stipulate whoever is monarch of the United Kingdom will also be monarch of that realm. In February 1952, on her accession, Elizabeth II was proclaimed as sovereign separately throughout her realms. In October 2011, the heads of government of all 16 realms agreed unanimously at a meeting held in Perth, Australia, to proposed changes to the royal succession laws that would see the order of succession for people born after 28 October 2011 governed by absolute primogeniture—wherein succession passes to an individual's children according to birth order, regardless of sex—instead of male-preference primogeniture. They also agreed to lift a ban on those who marry Roman Catholics. The ban on Catholics themselves was retained to ensure that the monarch would be in communion with the Church of England. [12] The changes came into effect across the Commonwealth realms on 26 March 2015, after legislation was made according to each realm's constitution. [13] [14]

Following the changes coming into effect, the positions of the first 27 in line remained unchanged, including Princess Anne and her children and grandchildren, until the birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge on 2 May 2015. The first to be affected by the changes, on the day they came into effect in March, were the children of Lady Davina Lewis—her son Tāne (born 2012) and her daughter Senna (born 2010)—who were reversed in the order of succession, becoming 29th and 28th in line respectively. [15]

Current rules

The Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement (restated by the Acts of Union) still govern succession to the throne. They were amended in the United Kingdom by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which was passed mainly "to make succession to the Crown not depend on gender" and "to make provision about Royal Marriages" (according to its long title), thereby implementing the Perth Agreement in the UK and in those realms that, by their laws, have as their monarch automatically whoever is monarch of the UK. Other realms passed their own legislation.

Anyone ineligible to succeed is treated as if they were dead. That person's descendants are not also disqualified, unless they are personally ineligible.

Marriages

The Act of Settlement 1701 provides that Protestant "heirs of the body" (that is, legitimate descendants) of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, are eligible to succeed to the throne, unless otherwise disqualified. The meaning of heir of the body is determined by the common law rules of male preference primogeniture (the "male-preference" criterion is no longer applicable, in respect of succession to the throne, to persons born after 28 October 2011), whereby older children and their descendants inherit before younger children, and a male child takes precedence over a female sibling. [16] Children born out of wedlock and adopted children are not eligible to succeed. Illegitimate children whose parents subsequently marry are legitimated, but remain ineligible to inherit the Crown. [n 4]

The Royal Marriages Act 1772 (repealed by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013) further required descendants of George II to obtain the consent of the reigning monarch to marry. (The requirement did not apply to descendants of princesses who married into foreign families, as well as, from 1936, any descendants of Edward VIII, [n 5] of which there are none.) The Act provided, however, that if a dynast older than twenty-five years notified the Privy Council of his or her intention to marry without the consent of the Sovereign, then he or she may have lawfully done so after one year, unless both houses of Parliament expressly disapproved of the marriage. A marriage that contravened the Royal Marriages Act was void, and the resulting offspring illegitimate and thus ineligible to succeed, though the succession of the dynast who failed to obtain consent was not itself affected. This also had the consequence that marriage to a Roman Catholic without permission was void, so that the dynast was not disqualified from succeeding on account of being married to a Roman Catholic. Thus when the future George IV attempted to marry the Roman Catholic Maria Fitzherbert in 1785 without obtaining permission from George III he did not disqualify himself from inheriting the throne in due course. [2] A marriage voided by the 1772 act prior to its repeal remains void "for all purposes relating to the succession to the Crown" under the 2013 act. [17]

The constitutional crisis arising from Edward VIII's decision to marry a divorcee in 1936 led to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, which provided that Edward VIII and his descendants would have no claim to the throne. [18] The Act is no longer applicable, because Edward died in 1972 without issue.

Under the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act, the first six persons in line to the throne must obtain the sovereign's approval before marrying. [17] Marriage without the Sovereign's consent disqualifies the person and the person's descendants from the marriage from succeeding to the Crown, [17] but the marriage is still legally valid.

Religion

Rules relating to eligibility established by the Bill of Rights are retained under the Act of Settlement. The preamble to the Act of Settlement notes that the Bill of Rights provides "that all and every person and persons that then [at the time of the Bill of Right's passage] were, or afterwards should be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with the See or Church of Rome, or should profess the popish religion, or marry a papist, should be excluded." [19] The Act of Settlement continues, providing "that all and every Person and Persons who shall … is, are or shall be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or shall profess the Popish religion or shall marry a papist shall be subject to such Incapacities" [20] as the Bill of Rights established. The clause precludes a Roman Catholic from succeeding to the throne.

Under the Act of Settlement the monarch is required to be in communion with the Church of England, [1] so it is not only Catholics who are barred from the throne.

The Act of Settlement further provided that anyone who married a Roman Catholic was ineligible to succeed. The Act did not require that the spouse be Anglican; it only barred those who marry Roman Catholics. The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 removed the ban on individuals who marry Roman Catholics, though not on Roman Catholics themselves, because the monarch is Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Treason

Under the Treason Act 1702 and the Treason (Ireland) Act 1703, it is treason to "endeavour to deprive or hinder any person who shall be the next in succession to the crown ... from succeeding ... to the imperial crown of this realm". Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the maximum penalty has been life imprisonment.

Accession

The Accession Council normally meets in St James's Palace to proclaim the new sovereign. St Jamess Palace.jpg
The Accession Council normally meets in St James's Palace to proclaim the new sovereign.

In the Commonwealth realms, upon the death of a sovereign, the heir apparent or heir presumptive succeeds to the throne immediately, with no need for confirmation or further ceremony. [21] [n 6] Nevertheless, the Accession Council meets and decides upon the making of the accession proclamation, which by custom has for centuries been ceremonially proclaimed in public places, in London, York, Edinburgh and other cities. The anniversary is observed throughout the sovereign's reign as Accession Day, including royal gun salutes in the United Kingdom. [23]

Formerly, a new sovereign proclaimed his or her own accession. But on the death of Elizabeth I an Accession Council met to proclaim the accession of James I to the throne of England. James was then in Scotland and reigning as King James VI of Scotland. This precedent has been followed since. Now, the Accession Council normally meets in St James's Palace. Proclamations since James I's have usually been made in the name of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, the Privy Council, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and citizens of the City of London and "other principal Gentlemen of quality", though there have been variations in some proclamations. The proclamation of accession of Elizabeth II was the first to make mention of representatives of members of the Commonwealth.

Upon his or her accession, a new sovereign is required by law to make and subscribe several oaths. The Bill of Rights of 1689 first required the sovereign to make a public declaration of non-belief in Roman Catholicism. [n 7] This declaration, known as the Accession Declaration, is required to be taken at either the first meeting of parliament of his or her reign (i.e. during the State Opening of Parliament) or at his or her coronation, whichever occurs first. The current wording of this declaration was adopted in 1910 as the previous wording was deemed to be controversial and overtly anti-Catholic. Rather than denouncing Roman Catholicism, the sovereign now declares him or herself to be a Protestant and that he or she will "uphold and maintain" the Protestant succession. [24] In addition to the Accession Declaration, the new sovereign is required by the Acts of Union 1707 to make an oath to "maintain and preserve" the Church of Scotland. [25] This oath is normally made at the sovereign's first meeting of the Privy Council following his or her accession. According to the Regency Act 1937, should the sovereign be under the age of 18, such oaths and declarations required to be taken by the sovereign shall be made upon attainment of that age. [26]

After a period of mourning, [27] the new sovereign is usually consecrated and crowned in Westminster Abbey. Normally, the Archbishop of Canterbury officiates, though the sovereign may designate any other bishop of the Church of England. A coronation is not necessary for a sovereign to reign; for example, Edward VIII was never crowned, yet during his short reign was the undoubted king.

See also

Notes

  1. Succession to the Crown Act 2013, s. 3: "A person who (when the person marries) is one of the 6 persons next in the line of succession to the Crown must obtain the consent of Her Majesty before marrying."
  2. Most sources, including Whitaker's Almanack, exclude her as a confirmed Catholic, but Debrett's includes her in line.
  3. 1 2 Albert and Leopold Windsor were listed on The Official Website of the British Monarchy until 2015 and in the 2013 edition of Whitaker's Almanack as following Estella Taylor (b 2004) and eligible to succeed; MSN News, Debrett's and Whitaker's Almanack 2015 lists them after Lady Amelia Windsor and before Lady Helen Taylor. They were baptised as Catholics, and are not listed in line in editions of Whitaker's earlier than 2012.
  4. Neither the Legitimacy Act 1926 nor the Legitimacy Act 1959 changed the Law of Succession.
  5. Per the His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936.
  6. A letter from Tony Newton as Lord President of the Council to Tony Benn indicated this was the effect of the Act of Settlement after Benn had indicated he intended to block the next accession at the Privy Council. [22]
  7. This declaration was similar to what members of both Houses of Parliament were originally required to take by the Test Acts. Eventually, by the time it was changed in 1910, the monarch was the only one left required to make the declaration.

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The succession to the throne of the Principality of Monaco is currently governed by Princely Law 1.249 of 2 April 2002.

The precise style of British sovereigns has varied over the years. The present style is officially proclaimed in two languages:

The Regency Acts are Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed at various times, to provide a regent in the event of the reigning monarch being incapacitated or a minor. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were passed only when necessary to deal with a specific situation. In 1937, the Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent, and established the office of Counsellor of State, several of whom would act on the monarch's behalf when the monarch was temporarily absent from the realm. This Act forms the main law relating to regency in the United Kingdom today.

Monarchy of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its reigning monarch and head of state since 1 November 1981. As such she is Antigua and Barbuda's sovereign and officially called Queen of Antigua and Barbuda.

An order of succession or right of succession is the sequence of those entitled to hold a high office such as head of state or an honor such as a title of nobility in the order in which they stand in line to it when it becomes vacated. This sequence may be regulated through descent or by statute.

Monarchy of Belize

The monarch of Belize is the head of state of Belize. The incumbent Queen of Belize is Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 21 September 1981. The heir apparent is Elizabeth's eldest son, Prince Charles, though the Queen is the only member of the royal family with any constitutional role. She and the rest of the royal family undertake various public ceremonial functions across Belize and on behalf of Belize abroad.

Accession Declaration Act 1910

The Accession Declaration Act 1910 is an Act which was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to alter the declaration that the Sovereign is required to make at his or her accession to the throne as first required by the Bill of Rights of 1689. In it, he or she solemnly declares him or herself to be faithful to the Protestant faith. The altered declaration is as follows:

"I [here insert the name of the Sovereign] do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law."

Succession to the Crown Act 2013 act of the UK parliament amending the royal succession to implement the Perth Agreement of 2011

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which altered the laws of succession to the British throne in accordance with the 2011 Perth Agreement. The act repealed the Royal Marriages Act 1772, replacing male-preference primogeniture with absolute primogeniture for those born in the line of succession after 28 October 2011, which meant the eldest child, regardless of sex, would precede his or her brothers and sisters. The act also ended the historical disqualification of a person who married a Roman Catholic from the line of succession, and removed the requirement of those outside the first six persons in line to the throne to seek the Sovereign's approval to marry. It came into force on 26 March 2015, at the same time as the other Commonwealth realms implemented the Perth Agreement in their own laws.

Royal Succession Bills and Acts

Royal Succession Bills and Acts are pieces of (proposed) legislation to determine the legal line of succession to the Monarchy of the United Kingdom.

Succession to the Crown Act 2015 Act of the Parliament of Australia, currently registered as C2015A00023

The Succession to the Crown Act 2015 is the name of an act of the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, enacted at the request of all six Australian states under section 51(xxxvii) of the Australian Constitution. The Australian acts were the final part of the Perth Agreement's legislative program agreed by the prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms to modernise the succession to the crowns of the sixteen Commonwealth realms, while continuing to have in common the same monarch and royal line of succession. as was the case at the time of the Statute of Westminster 1931.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Succession". Official website of the Royal Family. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  2. 1 2 Bogdanor (1995), p. 55.
  3. Reitwiesner, W. A. "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2001". wargs.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2011.
  4. Lewis, David. "Persons eligible to succeed to the British Throne as of 1 Jan 2011". wargs.com. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011.
  5. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44537478
  6. "Line of succession to the throne". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 February 1952. p. 6.
  7. Chrimes, S. B. (1999). Henry VII. Yale University Press. p. 50. ISBN   9780300078831.
  8. "Rotuli Parliamentorum A.D. 1485 1 Henry VII".
  9. Smith, G. Barnett (1892). History of the English Parliament. Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co. p. 298.
  10. "Succession to the Crown Act 1603".
  11. "Prince of Wales proclaimed King Edward VIII". London: UPI. 21 January 1936.
  12. "Girls equal in British throne succession". BBC News. 28 October 2011.
  13. The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 (Commencement) Order 2015 legislation.gov.uk
  14. Clegg, Nick (26 March 2015). "Commencement of Succession to the Crown Act 2013: Written statement". UK Parliament.
  15. "What do the new royal succession changes mean?". Royal Central. 26 March 2015.[ unreliable source? ]
  16. Blackstone (1765).
  17. 1 2 3 "Succession to the Crown Act 2013". UK Parliament. Section 3.
  18. His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, section 2
  19. Act of Settlement, preamble
  20. Act of Settlement, section 2
  21. "Accession". Official website of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  22. Bogdanor (1995), p. 45.
  23. "Gun Salutes". Official website of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  24. Accession Declaration Act 1910, schedule
  25. Union with Scotland Act 1706, article XXV. "...And Lastly that after the Decease of Her Present Majesty (whom God long preserve) the Soveraign succeeding to her in the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Great Britain shall in all time comeing at his or her accession to the Crown Swear and Subscribe That they shall inviolably maintain and preserve the foresaid settlement of the True Protestant Religion with the Government Worship Discipline Right and Priviledges of this Church as above established by the Laws of this Kingdom in prosecution of the Claim of Right..."
  26. Regency Act 1937, section 1(2)
  27. "Coronation". Official website of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 7 May 2016.

Sources