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Friday, January 04, 2013

Peerages and styles and titles of the Royal Family

With the Succession the Crown Bill 2013 I envisage a serious shake-up of styles and titles associated with the royal family.

Clearly the Letters Patent of George V (1917) must now be revised. If the succession to the Crown is now gender blind then surely all future peerages awarded to children of the Sovereign should be similarly entailed.

We are told that the Earl of Wessex will be created Duke of Edinburgh on his brother's accession. The eldest child of the Earl and Countess of Wessex is a daughter, Lady Louise Windsor. The Letters Patent of the Earldom of Wessex and Viscounctcy of Severn state that the peerages will pass to the heirs male of the Wessexes, lawfully begotten, and the son, James, styled Viscount Severn, will on his father's death succeed.

The future Dukedom of Edinburgh (with some subsidiary peerages) should be created with a nod to the new Act and the Letters Patent should, like the new act, be 'gender blind' and state that the peerage will pass to heirs of whatever sex in order of birth. With the death of Prince Edward his Dukedom of Edinburgh would pass to his eldest child, Lady Louise Windsor, and the Earldom of Wessex and Viscountcy of Severn would be inherited by his younger child, James.

If all children of the Sovereign are to be regarded as equal under the law then surely this should also apply to grandchildren of the Sovereign? Children of a future daughter of a Sovereign should be of equal rank to the children of the sons of the Sovereign.
 
In the next reign, the King, having no daughters, his grandchildren under the Letters Patent of 1917 will all be HRH Princes or Princesses. Andy changes I propose will only effect the descendants of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

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