Clause 1 – Succession to the Crown not to depend on gender
The move to amend the rules of succession, to enable the first born child of any person in line to the throne to take their place in the line of succession regardless of gender, is welcome.
Clause 2 – Removal of disqualification arising from marriage to a Roman Catholic
For the Church of England the key issue is the current statutory requirement that the Sovereign join in communion with the Church of England. The Bill leaves that unchanged. Future Sovereigns will therefore continue to be able to take their place as Supreme Governor of the Established Church.
The present prohibition on anyone remaining in the line of succession or succeeding to the Crown as a result of marrying a Roman Catholic is not necessary to support the requirement that the Sovereign join in communion with the Church of England. Its proposed removal is a welcome symbolic and practical measure consistent with respect for the principle of religious liberty. It reflects the sea change in ecumenical relations over recent decades.