Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Do they still care about that?

Succession? Does it matter? The BBC has a "Royal correspondent?"

Why the monarchy discriminates

By Nicholas Witchell
Royal correspondent, BBC News

"A BBC poll shows overwhelming public support for changes to the rules of succession to the British throne.

"Meanwhile Downing St confirms that it has discussed plans to change the rule of succession with Buckingham Palace.

"But why does the current law discriminate against women and Roman Catholics?

"The monarchy in Britain is an ancient institution which, for more than a thousand years, has been dominated by men.

"Yet few would disagree that three of the country's most successful monarchs have been women...

"The Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris believes Britain is ready to accept changes to these ancient provisions.

"He is introducing a Private Member's Bill to parliament to reverse what he regards as centuries of discrimination against women and Roman Catholics.

"Under his bill, men and women would be granted equal rights of succession to the throne, and the ban on the heir to the throne marrying a Roman Catholic would be ended...

"Absurd though these antique rules may seem, the task of correcting them would be an inordinately complicated one, requiring not merely legislation at Westminster, but in the 15 other countries of which the British monarch is also head of state..."

See also:

What You Need to Know -- a study guide for AP Comparative Government and Politics

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