United Kingdom

Women Get Equal Rights to Throne

Rob Griffith / AP Photo

Queen Elizabeth II smiles during a state reception at the government house in Perth, Australia, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011.

The British royal family is joining modernity. Female heirs will be given equality with men in the rules governing succession to the throne, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday. The changes to the centuries-old rule were agreed to unanimously by the 16 nations of which Queen Elizabeth II is monarch, and the queen has indicated she supports changing the succession rules. In laymen’s terms, the firstborn child of Prince William and Kate Middleton will become fourth in line to the throne, regardless of gender—something denied to Princess Anne, the queen’s second child, who follows her younger brothers and their children in the line of succession. Cameron said the historic rules were “at odds with the modern countries that we have become.” The 16 nations also agreed to cancel a law which banned the spouse of a Roman Catholic from taking the throne.