Britain’s royal child ‘should be Anglican’
Proposed new laws allowing a first born daughter to succeed to the throne should maintain the provision that any child of a Royal marriage is brought up as an Anglican, a Tory Peer has said.
Lord Cormack argued it was very important that any constitutional measure should be “conducive to the peace and tranquility of the realm” and should anticipate difficulties.
The sovereign, he stressed, was the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and he did not think it was a role that could be adequately fulfilled by a regent during the life of a reigning monarch.
Speaking during the Succession to the Crown Bill’s report stage in the House of Lords, Lord Cormack outlined his amendment that the “statutory requirement that any child of such marriage is brought up as an Anglican is maintained”.
Such provision in the Bill, he said, would protect the status quo and ensure it was a constitutional measure to “stand the test of times”.
He said: “If we allow the heir to the throne or anyone in direct line of succession to the throne to marry a Roman Catholic, I repeat I accept that I do not oppose it, there has to be a provision whereby children of that union are brought up as Anglicans.”
He added: “I believe it is important that if we are legislating for decades maybe even centuries to come and after all the Act of Settlement was passed as long ago as 1701, we have to make adequate provision to ensure smooth continuity for the peace and tranquility of the realm.”
The Bill, which cleared the Commons in January, makes succession to the Crown no longer based on gender, so that younger sons will not displace daughters in the line of succession.
It also permits an heir to the throne to marry a Catholic but still excludes Catholics from succeeding to the throne.
The changes will mean that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, expected in July, is a girl, she can become monarch even if she later has younger brothers.
The Bishop of Guildford the Rt Rev Christopher Hill acknowledged that under the “old” rules, the Church’s position on mixed marriages was “rigid and harsh”.
But he insisted that was no longer the case. A promise that the children of mixed marriages should be brought up as Roman Catholics was not now required and sanctions could not be applied.
Advocate General for Scotland Lord Wallace of Tankerness said there was no statutory provision that an heir should be brought up as an Anglican.
He said it would be “unsatisfactory” to add a “discriminatory proviso” to the Bill, which was designed to repeal a piece of discrimina-tory legislation.
Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Lang of Monkton urged the Government to raise the number of people in the line of succession who have to get the Queen’s consent before marrying from six to 12.