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Girls to get equal right to reign

world Updated: Oct 29, 2011 02:12 IST

Heralding an end to over 300 years of English Constitutional tradition, Commonwealth nations on Friday approved changes to the rules of succession, which passed the Crown to the oldest male heir, to allow first-born daughters to inherit the British throne.

“We will end the male primogeniture rule so that in future the order of succession should be determined simply by the order of birth,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said after a summit of the 16 Commonwealth countries of which Queen Elizabeth II is head of state.

The changes to the outdated laws would also allow heirs who marry Roman Catholics to inherit the throne. “We have agreed to scrap the rule which says that no one that marries a Roman Catholic can become monarch,” Cameron said at a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Cameron said the changes would apply to descendents of the Prince of Wales and they will not be applied retrospectively.

There has long been discussion about changing the archaic and discriminatory rules, but the issue took on fresh urgency after Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, married Kate Middleton in April.

The changes mean that if Prince William and his wife Kate were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.

Queen Elizabeth II is head of state of 16 Commonwealth “realms”, including UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.