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Shannen Findlay

The bizarre rule that could stop Prince William and Prince George claiming the throne

The bizarre rule that could stop Prince William and Prince George claiming the throne

When Queen Elizabeth's reign ends, it is expected that Prince Charles will take the throne, with his eldest son Prince William, 37, next in line and then his 6-year-old grandson, Prince George. 

Following Charles, William and George is Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Prince Harry, baby Archie, Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

However, there is a bizarre rule laid out in the laws of succession to the British throne which could spell the end of Prince William and Prince George’s claim to it. 

While birth order is important, succession can ultimately be determined in the constitutional developments of the 17th century, which resulted in the Bill of Rights (1989) and the Act of Settlement (1701).

Both these acts forbid “Roman Catholic” people to be specifically excluded from succession to the throne. 

The royals are all members of the Church of England, a Protestant Anglican Church, and have been since the 16th century.

While we are sure the royal heirs will not turn their back on the Church of England, if they did it could mean they lose claim to the throne. 

British royals have never had the ability to exercise religious freedom in their own lives, and when it comes to the younger royals, there is yet to be an issue. 

The Royal Family website explains the religious requirements expected of the British family. 

"Parliament, under the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, also laid down various conditions which the Sovereign must meet.

"A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the throne.

"The Sovereign must, in addition, be in communion with the Church of England and must swear to preserve the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland.

"The Sovereign must also promise to uphold the Protestant succession."

The Succession of the Crown Act came into force in 2013 and ensures that if a royal member marries someone from the Roman Catholic church, they can still ascend to the throne – just as long as their children are raised in the Church of England.