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.”