Royal law change imminent despite MP’s opposition

Sir Peter Tapsell.
Sir Peter Tapsell.

The government looks set to force through a change to the Royal succession laws, despite Louth MP Sir Peter Tapsell causing a stir with his fervent opposition.

Ministers want to change the 300-year-old Crown Bill which currently dictates that male heirs are automatically first in line for the throne ahead of females, even if they are the younger sibling.

But Sir Peter, the Father of the House of Commons, told deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a commons debate in November that such a rule, if they had been in place in the past, would have taken the Royal family in a very different direction.

“But for our law of male primogeniture, the German Kaiser would have become King of England, which would have produced almost as interesting a coalition as the present one,” he said.

“We always rely on my right hon. Friend for such erudition and grasp of history, which he possesses but unfortunately I do not,” Mr Clegg replied.

Coalition ministers are eager for the law change to be in place in time for the expected birth of the child of William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Reports also suggest Prince Charles is less than favourable over the planned law change, but officially Buckingham Palace and the Commonwealth governments have backed the proposal.

The bill would also allow the heir to marry a Catholic, something which has never before been allowed.