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Will-Kate's first-born will take British throne

The first born child of Prince William and Kate Middleton -- be it a boy or a girl -- will be able to ascend the British throne, with Commonwealth leaders expected to give a go-ahead next week to the scrapping of archaic succession laws that give precedence to male heirs.

world Updated: Oct 23, 2011 17:27 IST

The first born child of Prince William and Kate Middleton -- be it a boy or a girl -- will be able to ascend the British throne, with Commonwealth leaders expected to give a go-ahead next week to the scrapping of archaic succession laws that give precedence to male heirs.

Under the present rules of primogeniture, a male child takes precedence in succession even if he has an elder sister, but the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting is all set to change this.

The leaders of the former British colonies will agree to changes to the Act of Settlement and other ancient laws dictating the succession as they meet in the Australian city of Perth next week, The Daily Telegraph said.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said those rules should be changed, but since the British monarch remains head of state of 16 other Commonwealth countries, they would all have to agree to any change.

The Prime Minister wrote this month to fellow Commonwealth leaders describing the succession rules as "an anomaly" that should be ended.

The changes to the law will mean that the first born child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would take the throne --be it a son or a daughter -- making redundant the older rule that a son would become King even if he had an older sister.

The Queen, who arrived in Australia this week, will attend the meeting.

Cameron has also suggested a change in the rules to allow members of the Royal family who marry a Roman Catholic to be eligible to succeed to the throne. Another proposed change would cut the number of Royal family members who must gain the monarch's consent to marry.

The rules on the succession are set down in laws passed in the 17th and 18th centuries, including the Act of Settlement, the Bill of Rights, the Royal Marriages Act and Princess Sophia's Precedence Act.