The deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg, has insisted in parliament that if ‘the birds and the bees’ bless William and Kate with a firstborn daughter, she will be Queen, even if proposed legislation to formalise the new succession rules have not been passed.
Mr Clegg’s comments came in response to a question from a Conservative MP Helen Grant, who asked: "If the birds and the bees of the very romantic Isle of Anglesey were to conspire and bless our future King of England and his wife with the patter of tiny feet before this law was enacted, and if that royal baby turned out to be a little girl, would she succeed to the throne?"
Her questions followed a line of questioning suggested by a recent guest post on the Royalist blog by writer Robert Lacey.
Mr Clegg replied: "If the birds and bees were to deliver that blessing to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and indeed the nation, then that little girl would be covered by the provisions of these changes of the rules of succession because they operate from the time of the declaration of the Commonwealth summit last October.
"It is very important to remember that the rules are de facto in place, even though they have yet to be implemented through legislation in the way that I have described."
However writer Robert Lacey pointed out in his guest post on The Royalist that awkwardness could ensue if twins are born, a significant probability given the incidence of twins in Kate’s family.
Labour MP Paul Flynn – a republican - asked if other candidates could stand as head of state “given the misgivings about King Charles III”.
Clegg, however, ignored the question, telling Flynn not “to belittle the enormity” of the Australian agreement.
“We are getting rid of some very long- standing, discriminatory anomalies.”
The changes will also allow a royal heir to marry a Catholic, but a monarch must continue to declare that he or she is “a faithful Protestant” and “in communion with the Church of England”.
The law barring marriage to a Catholic dates back to the 1701 Act of Settlement when Protestant England fretted that the death of William of Orange could see a return of the Catholic Stuarts.
In a report last year, however, MPs noted that the decision to abolish the ban barring monarchs-to-be from marrying Catholics could have “one possible consequence”.
“The proposal thus raises the prospect of the children of a monarch being brought up in a faith which would not allow them to be in communion with the Church of England,” said the Commons Political and Constitutional Committee.