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Daughters of the gentry call for equal rights to inherit titles following change to royal succession lawNew law of royal succession would see the royal baby become third in line to the throne regardless of sexCurrent rules see younger brothers inherit titles ahead of older sisters
Traditions mean a title will die out rather than
be passed to a woman
09:10 GMT, 17 December 2012
The proposed law changes to ensure that a daughter born to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge can succeed to the throne, should apply to titles as well, daughters of the aristocracy have said.
The current tradition follows the previous royal succession law which sees a male heir inherit over a female.
Now daughters of the gentry are calling for a equal rights to inherit titles as the new law would leave the aristocracy ‘two steps behind’ the royal family.
Born to rule: A change in the law will see the child of Prince William and his wife Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, become third in line to the throne, whether it is a girl or a boy
The aristocracy’s current rules are
even harsher than those of the crown, as a title will die out rather than
be passed onto a female heir.
Clare Kerr whose father is Tory politician Michael Ancram, is the 13th
Marquess of Lothian, will miss out on inheriting her father's title due to the aristocracy’s rules.
is certainly a conversation to be had with regard to moving even one
step forward to where the Royal Family were before this recent change,’
she told The Independent on Sunday.
the absence of a son there should be no reason a daughter should not
inherit – and once that has been established it is difficult to argue
against girls inheriting if they are the firstborn.’
Missing out: Lady Clare Kerr cannot inherit her father's title under the current rules
In Lady Clare’s case, her father’s title will eventually be passed on to her uncle.
Among those being passed over under inheritance rules are the three daughters of the Duke of Rutland: Lady Violet Manners, 19, and her sisters Lady Alice and Lady Eliza.
The heir to their family seat, Belvoir Castle, is their 13-year-old brother Charles, the Marquess of Granby, The Telegraph reported.
Peter Yorke, author of the Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, said there is no reason why a title cannot be passed on to a daughter in modern society.
‘What mattered was that the estate goes to one person who will take care of it for the next generation,’ he told The Telegraph
‘But now the daughters often go off to Harvard and places like that – there is no reason why a daughter who has done three years of law and then maybe gone off to PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, should not be able to run a great estate.’
MPs will meet today to start rewriting
660-year-old laws to ensure that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's
have a girl she will become Queen, even if she has a young brother.
Ministers are to prioritise the law change with the urgency usually reserved for anti-terror laws.
Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: ‘This Bill will bring to an end
centuries of discrimination against women so that the first born is next
in line to the throne, regardless of whether they’re a boy or a girl.'
Fictional fraction: One of the main storylines on ITV drama Downton Abbey has been Lady Edith and Lady Mary being unable to inherit the estate from their father Lord Grantham
The Liberal Democrat leader added: ‘I’m delighted that all of the Queen’s realms have agreed to this historic piece of legislation, that will enact in law what we agreed back in 2011 – that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a baby girl, she can one day be our Queen even if she has younger brothers.
‘We’re pressing ahead with this as quickly as we can – it’s clearly something the entire country can get behind towards the close of this momentous Jubilee year.’
The four-page Bill states that in future ‘succession to the Crown not to depend on gender’ and rewrites the Treason Act 1351 to replace ‘first son and heir’ to mean ‘eldest child and heir’.
Other laws affected include the Bill of Rights, Act of Settlement and the Regency Act 1937.