London: A first-born daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton would be entitled to inherit one of Britain’s wealthiest estates, under a change in the royal succession laws passed by the British Government.
According to the new law giving female heirs equal rights, the couple’s daughter will inherit the 700million pounds Duchy of Cornwall.
It could also pave the way for her to succeed the throne instead of having to stand aside for younger brothers.
The Sovereign Grant Bill, which revolutionises the way the Royal Family is funded, was passed by the House of Lords last week and is now set to become law.
Clause nine ensures that an heir to the throne who is not the Duke of Cornwall can receive revenues from the Duchy of Cornwall.
Constitutional expert Lord St John-Stevas welcomed the modernising of the law in favour of female heirs.
“The principle that should run through all these issues is that men and women are treated equally,” the Daily Express quoted John-Stevas as saying.
The Duchy of Cornwall, which covers huge swathes of land in 23 counties, mainly across South-west England, is valued at 712million pounds and provides an annual income of almost 18million pounds to Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall.
The new legislation will be the most radical overhaul of royal household finances in 250 years and is the result of years of lobbying by the Queen’s accountants for a deal that reflects inflation.
For the first time, it will open up palace accounts to scrutiny by the National Audit Office, though the private incomes of the Queen and Prince Charles will not be externally audited.