Any story about the British Royals, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, will go viral and if it is related to the former declining the throne, then it goes all the more viral beyond anybody’s expectations.
Exactly, the same kind of a hoax report with speculation is doing rounds currently when Globe magazine reported boldly that Prince William has declined the throne citing his wife’s pregnancy and even added the fact he preferred his father, the rightful heir to the throne, be given the chance.
The story is false as the Queen has little role to decide who should succeed her. It was enshrined in an Act of Parliament that the eldest male heir would be the next king and Prince Charles is the automatic choice unless he himself declines.
The basis for the succession was determined in the constitutional developments of the 17th century, which culminated in the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701).
In fact, parliament can only decide whether the heir to the throne be denied his right to succession. When James II fled the country in 1688, Parliament held that he had ‘abdicated the government’ and that the throne offered not to James’s young son, but to his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange, as joint rulers.
So, the tradition entailed that the Sovereign may rule through Parliament, but that the succession to the throne can be regulated by Parliament, and that a Sovereign can be deprived of his title on the grounds of mis-government.
The succession to the throne is regulated not only through descent, but also by statute; the Act of Settlement confirmed that it was for Parliament which will determine the title to the throne. The Act further laid down that only Protestant descendants of Princess Sophia – the Electress of Hanover and granddaughter of James I – are eligible to succeed. Subsequent Acts have confirmed this.
Parliament, under the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, also laid down various conditions which the Sovereign must meet. A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the throne; nor may the Sovereign marry a Roman Catholic. Neither is the case with Prince Charles to deny him the throne by the Queen.
The Sovereign must, in addition, be in communion with the Church of England and must swear to preserve the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland. The Sovereign must also promise to uphold the Protestant succession.
THE LINE OF SUCCESSION AS OF JULY 2013:
1. The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles)
2. The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William).
Hence, the report does not make sense nor logic in speculating drastic changes in the rules of succession and the ailing Queen cannot decide against the spirit of the constitution. By reporting that Prince William has given up the throne, it was rallying popular sympathy for the couple at the cost of the legal heir-apparent Prince Charles, whose emotions were given a go-by as was the case by the media ever since his first wife Diana died in an accident.
The Globe magazine report further said that Prince William’s decision was apparently forced by his wife Princes Kate Middleton’s ill health being a pregnant. In an explosive summary, the magazine said: “Prince William stunned the Royal Family by revealing that he’s giving up the throne for the love of his beautiful wife, Kate.”
The magazine went ahead saying that the Queen had, in fact, decided Prince William to succeed her, instead of Prince Charles but not substantiating it further how she could decide unilaterally without taking the government into confidence.
“The order of succession is the sequence of members of the Royal Family in the order in which they stand in line to the throne. This sequence is regulated not only through descent, but also by Parliamentary statute,” says the Royal website too on its opening page.
“Ailing Queen Elizabeth had bypassed her eldest son Prince Charles, in favor of her 32-year-old grandson as she prepared to step down and end her 61-year reign. But William has officially informed Her Majesty the pressures of royal life and raising a family at the same time have become too much for his pregnant wife and he has reluctantly made the decision to step aside – for now,” Globe magazine reported. So, where is the news?
Moreover, the report is ubiquitously silent on the rules of succession enshrined in the Act of Parliament, which require amendment, if the Queen decides to go for Prince William. Or else, Prince Charles should disown the throne in favour of his son, which cannot be expected as his wife Camilla Parker is waiting in the wings to be the next queen to King Charles, perhaps for over 40 years.