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CHOGM 2011: "Attitudes have changed to the Royal succession"
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CHOGM 2011: "Attitudes have changed to the Royal succession"

Amanda McClintockWorld leaders are in Perth on the west coast of Australia this week to take part in the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Amanda McClintock, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Queensland, reports on one of the key news items: that leaders of countries with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state have opted to change the rules of succession.

It was announced this weekend that the constitutional requirements and laws regarding inheritance amongst the monarchy will be changed. For many years, the inheritance of the monarch has depended upon the eldest son regardless of whether he was the first born or not.

As well as this, it was required that the monarch not marry a member of the Roman Catholic Church because the British monarch is the head of the Church of England. Prime Minister Gillard and Prime Minister Cameron that these constitutional laws would be changing announced it in a joint press conference.

It came about as a result of the 16 realms of the queen having acted in together in one single group, being joined not just by their involvement in the commonwealth but rather by sharing on head of state.  The British have been looking back at the start of the English Crown, other countries to the Bill of Rights in 1688 and others the Act of Settlement in 1701 and whilst all 16 countries share the rich, constitutional inheritance, there is great strength being demonstrated as their constitutional approach gains the momentum and ability to evolve.

Prime Minister Cameron stated that “Attitudes have changed fundamentally over the centuries and some outdated rules, like some of the rules on succession, just don’t make sense to us anymore: the idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he’s a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith, except a Catholic. This way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we’ve all become.”

“The first change to be made is that of the succession rule. From now, under the descendants of the Prince of Wales, succession will be determined only by the order of birth. As such, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to have a daughter first, she will inherit the throne ahead of any younger brother she may have. The second change to be made is to get rid of the rule that no one who marries a Roman Catholic can become monarch.

“Let me be clear, the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England, because he or she is the head of that church. But it is simply wrong that they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so. After all, they’re already quite free to marry someone of any other faith. We agreed today that this has to change.”

Ending his statements the British Prime Minister finished by saying “At the same time, we hope individuals and businesses across the Commonwealth may also choose to mark the Jubilee by supporting the Trust in their own way. Together, we will help make this a fitting tribute to a very, very special anniversary.”

The question that now remains is how will the public of the commonwealth react to these changes in the monarchy and how will this affect the commonwealth and the monarchy long term. Whilst there is no definitive answer to this as of yet, the answers will become clear in the near future as this news spreads throughout the world and these 16 realms put these changes into action together as one body, under the commonwealth, under the monarchy, under the Queen.

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About me:

“I am a working-class girl, full-time university student and mental health advocate from sunny south-east Queensland.

“Living in a small country town after growing up in the city only increased my passion for making a difference in my community and further afield, and for speaking up about the issues that matter most. Youth have a voice and it needs to be heard. Stand Up, Speak Up and Be Heard!”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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