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Keywords:

  • monarchy;
  • Commonwealth;
  • realms;
  • Church of England;
  • Roman Catholics

The government plans to amend the royal succession rules by making primogeniture gender blind and ending marriage to a Roman Catholic spouse as a disqualification for succession. Achieving these goals means that the UK is dependent on the agreement of the fifteen Commonwealth countries—the ‘realms’—that also have the Queen as head of state. The article questions whether these proposals go far enough when leaving intact other religious discriminatory rules hostile to Catholics and all others who cannot be in communion with the Church of England. It is maintained that a political disinclination to address and, as necessary, challenge the real as opposed to the formal position of the Church of England vitiates the government's approach. Moreover, it is asked whether the policy process itself should not become more open and democratic both within the UK and between the realms.