Pending all the proper approvals, the next king or queen of England will be oldest child of the last monarch, regardless of gender, and she or he can have a Roman Catholic spouse or parent, too. But remember, the Archbishop of Canterbury warns, future monarchs must be brought up Church of England.
Which is okay, because the Roman Catholics apparently don’t want to be the state church again anyway.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said last Friday that there needed to be a “clear understanding” that a future heir to the throne should be brought up “in an Anglican environment”. His comments were made after the Prime Minister announced that future heirs to the throne would be allowed to marry a Roman Catholic.
In a statement issued after a meeting of all 16 realms last Friday, David Cameron said: “We have agreed to scrap the rule which says that no one who marries a Roman Catholic can become monarch. Let me be clear, the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England because he or she is the head of that Church. “But it is simply wrong that they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so. After all, they are already quite free to marry someone of any other faith.”
Vatican Radio reported Dr Williams as saying, in Assisi last Friday: “My immediate reaction is that the possibility for the monarch to marry a [Roman] Catholic is not something I lose any sleep over, but the constitutional question . . . is the upbringing of any heir to the throne in an Anglican environment, given that the heir to the throne will be the Supreme Governor, under law, of the Church of England.”
Dr Williams welcomed “supportive comments about the establishment of the Church of England” made by the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, who said that the move would “eliminate a point of unjust discrimination against Catholics”. Archbishop Nichols’s statement read: “I fully recognise the importance of the position of the Established Church in protecting and fostering the role of faith in our society today.”
Dr Williams said: “I think if we’re quite clear that, so long as the monarch is Supreme Governor of Church of England, there needs to be a clear understanding that the heir is brought up in that environment, all well and good.”