Crown will pass to women

The crown will pass to female heirs, under new proposals being drawn up by the government, opening up the door to Prince William’s heir being a woman, if his firstborn is a girl.

The proposals form the centrepiece of a series of reforms to the constitutional arrangements governing the monarchy.

Ministers also want the 300-year-old exclusion of Catholics to be removed and the powers of privy council as arbiter in disputes between Scotland or Wales and the UK government to be reduced.

“This is a long overdue move, and must be welcomed,” said Liberal Democrat equalities spokesperson Lynne Featherstone.

“This modernisation ends the outrageous discrimination against Catholics and women.”

The plans were formulated by the man responsible for implementing Gordon Brown’s constitutional renewal agenda, Chris Bryant.

Constitutional groups were briefed and consulted on the plans during the Labour conference, indicating Number 10 is keen on completing the reform.

Under current arrangements, Catholics and people married to Catholics are barred from becoming monarch, with the individual concerned forced to reject Catholicism on accession.