Our sexist monarchy

Well – I’ve referred to the Equality Commission the demotion in the line of succession to our throne of Lady Louise (daughter to Prince Edward) in favour of her newborn brother. It may not be the nuts and bolts of discrimination against women in terms of equal pay (appalling – 144,000 cases waiting for tribunal), rape conviction rates, funding for carers and so on – but it is completely unacceptable. In this day and age that a female can simply be pushed out of line by a later male addition to the Royal Family belongs in the Ark.

In fact – if I was Princess Anne – I would be mightly cheesed off at being shoved out of line by Edward and Andrew. She may not have been – who knows – but the legislation wasn’t in place then and there wasn’t an Equalities Commission to refer such a thing to. Now there is – and as this has long been on my agenda – and Nick Clegg has given me the locus to do it – I have.

Whatever one thinks of the monarchy – and this is not that debate – this is wrong and needs correction. Tackling sexism in the monarchy would send a strong symbolic message to the rest of society. And this is a good time to do it – as ridding the system of sexism now won’t immediately alter who gets on the throne – so it isn’t about the personal merits of person A versus person B. But William has a 50% chance of having a girl child first – and we don’t want to be discussing it then!

Let’s see what the Commission makes of it.

Here’s the news release:

Legality of Lady Louise Royal demotion referred to equality watchdog

James Windsor, Prince Edward’s first son, overtaking of his sister, Lady Louise, as eighth in line to the throne has today been referred to the Equality and Human Rights Commission by newly appointed Lib Dem Youth & Equalities Spokesperson Lynne Featherstone MP.

Following the common law practice of male-preference primogeniture that sees male heirs take preference over their female siblings in the line of succession, James Windsor (Viscount Severn) who was born in December now comes before his 4 year old sister in succession to the throne.

Ms. Featherstone has written to the chair of the Commission requesting an urgent investigation into the legality of displacement in the light of recent equality legislation.

Lady Louise’s displacement in favour of a male is the first amongst Queen Elizabeth II’s direct successors since the advent of laws on sexual discrimination.

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP:

“This is an arcane practice that might have suited the grey bearded king makers of old, but it is completely at odds with how a head of state should be selected in modern Britain.

“Of course who is eighth in line to the throne is slightly academic, but there is a 50/50 chance Prince William’s heir will be a woman and what then?

“More importantly, there is little hope of bringing full equality to the workplace if we can’t bring equality to the highest office in the land. Any practice that is based on the idea of making do with a woman until a man comes along must be consigned to the history books.”

0 thoughts on “Our sexist monarchy

  1. Youre joking right! Youre supposed to be working for your constituentsand youre wasting your time on this nonsense.Dont you think that the whole hereditary principle is a bit outdated and would be in breach of all employment and equal opportunities law anyway if it applied to the royals, which it clearly doesnt?If you want to do something useful start campaigning for an elected head of state, then we can subject them to the law of the land.

  2. Haven’t you got better things to do? The issue is academic. It will merely waste the time of the Equality Commission (paid for by taxpayers). But maybe you are more interested in generating publicity for yourself than in doing anythign of practical value?

  3. Ha, ha, very funny, but it would have more impact if you had managed to spell “succession” instead of “secession” (a formal withdrawal of membership according to my dictionary).As such you look a complete twit, but that is par for the course for the Lib Dems. I have no sympathy for your constituents and the time that you are wasting on their behalf. They voted foir you but perhaps they won’t make the same mistake next time.

  4. I’m really glad to see someone taking this up – imagine what will happen when there is a woman excluded for a man from becoming our monarch. It is much better to fix this now – so thanks for thinking ahead Lynne! As for the first comment – battling sexism matters to loads of people. Shame you’re not bothered about women being discriminated against just because they are not men!!!!!

  5. really really good news. about time someone put a stop to this man is more important than a woman nonsense. go lynne go……..

  6. You are very insular. The Monarchy is not a uniquely British topic, since Her Majesty is also Queen of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Barbados, Papua-New Guinea – all in all 16 countries. Changing the law of succession is a matter of 17countries. The British Parliament could change the succession law in the UK, but unless all other countries follow, there might one day come back the situation of 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended to the throne, but the Kingdom of Hanover accepted King George V as their new King and cut off the ties with Britain.Of course there are a lot of people in Australia who would welcome Queen Anne instead of King Charles, but that is a different issue.

  7. Strangely enough, I think most other constitutional monarchies have altered their sucession rights to be based on age, rather than on gender, but it’s typical of this country to be so far behind on that sort of thing.To the anti-monarchist poster: erm the most egalitarian countries in Europe are Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. What do they have in common? Yup, they’re all monarchies!!!

  8. “”Of course who is eighth in line to the throne is slightly academic, but there is a 50/50 chance Prince William’s heir will be a woman and what then?”I suppose it’s a bit much to expect logic from a politician but the very point you’re complaining about is that if William’s first legitimate child is a daughter she won’t in fact be his heir.

  9. I suppose it’s a bit much to expect politeness or manners from a right-wing blogger, Tim.Why the needless rudeness rather than politely pointing that you interpret a sentence a different way?

  10. I see no lack of politeness nor manners there, no rudeness, needless or otherwise.And it isn’t interpretation of a sentence. An heir is, by definition, one who inherits. If they don’t inherit then they’re not an heir, are they?One other thing, am I the only person who thinks that anonymous criticism is impolite, ill-mannered, possibly even needlessly rude?Finally, I’m hardly “right-wing”. Campbell Bannerman was our man….pity there’s no political party left that follows his precepts.

  11. Tim – I thought “I suppose it’s a bit much to expect logic from a politician” was a rather sweeping insult myself! Though I do also have an instinctive dislike of anonymous comments (I do let them through as there are some cases when anonymity is ok, but my preference is against them).

  12. Listening to Woman’s Hour this morning was annoying, especially when it was asserted that only male commenters here were against the suggested change. The tiny sample size and anonymity of many commenters really render this claim misleading, in my view.Anyhow, I am a woman, and I think this attempt to alter the traditional rules on primogeniture is a waste of time. I don’t feel that it will do anything to affect the daily degradation endured by many women and girl-children in Britain let alone the rest of the world.Unfortunately, I have to say the whole thing looks just like the usual predominant focus on middle and upper class women and their rights to compete with men for well-paid and higher status jobs.

  13. Keep speaking out about this issue and don’t get sidetracked by people putting up spurious arguments. It’s about time this outmoded tradition was done away with. I am not middle class, I was brought up on a council estate and now work with homeless young women from a similar background. Of course the line of succession is not uppermost in their minds. However, in discussions they “feel” discriminated against because of their gender and I believe would be happy to see this archaic tradion swept away. Good on ya Lynne!

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