News story

Sons and daughters will have equal right to the throne

The prime minister announced today that all 16 Commonwealth countries have agreed it is time to do away with outdated rules governing succession to the throne.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The change will mean that a younger son will no longer become a monarch instead of an elder sister simply because he is a man.

Commonwealth heads of government agreement

Speaking at the  press conference with the Australian Minister Julia Gillard in Perth today, David Cameron said: ‘The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man just isn’t acceptable any more. Nor does it make any sense that a potential monarch can marry someone of any faith other than Catholic. The thinking behind these rules is wrong. That’s why people have been talking about changing them for some time.’

Outlawing discrimination

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: ‘The time for change has arrived.  Women should have equal rights to men in every aspect of life, including our Monarchy. I welcome this change and I am proud that this government is unafraid to tackle this issue.’

The Government has long accepted there are provisions in the laws on succession which could be discriminatory and do not reflect the values we hold today as a society.

The UK has secured broad consensus in all of the countries that amendments should be made to the laws and all have agreed to take this foward.

Updates to this page

Published 28 October 2011