Commonwealth gives green light to reform law on royal succession

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ALL Commonwealth realms have agreed to reverse ancient laws discriminating against women in the line of succession to the British throne, it was announced yesterday as the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge spent her second day in hospital.

The Duchess remains at London’s King Edward VII Hospital where she is being treated for severe morning sickness – a condition which can indicate twins are on the way.

The announcement of consent from Commonwealth realms by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg means her first child will succeed to the throne, regardless of its sex.

Mr Clegg said ministers would introduce the Succession to the Crown Bill in the House of Commons at the “earliest opportunity” available in the parliamentary timetable. The legislation will also end the bar on anyone in the line of succession marrying a Roman Catholic.

“This is a historic moment for our country and our monarchy,” he added. “People across the realms of the Commonwealth will be celebrating the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child.

“We can also all celebrate that whether the baby is a boy or a girl, they will have an equal claim to the throne. It’s a wonderful coincidence that the final confirmation from the other realms arrived on the very day that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their announcement.”

The new rules will apply to any child born in the line of succession after October 2011, when the 16 countries which have the British monarch as their head of state first agreed in principle to the change.

The Duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which can leave women unable to keep down food and fluids.

The Duke spent his second day yesterday at his wife’s hospital bed while the world’s media camped outside waiting for news of their unborn child.

Kate feeling better: Page 5.