First-born child will now take British throne

London: 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 under an agreement to be sealed by Commonwealth leaders next week in Australia.

Under the present rules of primogeniture, a male child takes precedence in succession, but the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting will agree to changes to the Act of
Settlement and other ancient laws dictating the succession next week, The Daily Telegraph said quoting ministers.

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.


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