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Clegg: Catholic royal spouses no problem

Jan. 9, 2013 at 12:25 AM

LONDON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The ban on Catholic spouses for British monarchs and their heirs is an 18th-century anachronism, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Tuesday.

Addressing members of Parliament, Clegg said changes to the law of royal succession, adopted when Queen Anne was on the throne, do not endanger the independence of the Church of England, The Daily Telegraph reported. Some members of Parliament brought up concerns reportedly raised privately by Prince Charles.

"I can give him complete reassurance that these proposals will not in any way alter the status of the established Church or the status of the monarch as head as head of the church," Clegg said. "There is absolutely nothing in these proposals to alter the status of the church."

Britain and Commonwealth nations where Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state have agreed to make the succession gender neutral with the oldest child of a monarch becoming the heir. Under the current rules, Princess Anne could only become queen if her brothers and all of their children die before her.

The law on religion applies only to Roman Catholics. Clegg pointed out it was adopted when Britain felt threatened by the powerful and Catholic Louis XIV of France.

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