Commonwealth to discuss royal succession: Cameron

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Commonwealth leaders will discuss proposals to change the rules of succession for the British throne when they meet in Australia later this month, Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday.

Cameron said he had written to the leaders of the 16 Commonwealth realms which have Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state about allowing first-born daughters and heirs who marry Catholics to inherit the throne.

There has long been discussion about changing the archaic and discriminatory rules, but the issue has taken on fresh urgency since the marriage of Prince William, the second in line to the throne, to the former Kate Middleton in May.

Proposals to change the law, which must be approved by all the affected realms, will now be discussed at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Perth, western Australia, from October 28 to 30.

"I have written to the heads of state, the prime ministers of the other realms concerned. We will be having a meeting about this at the Commonwealth heads of government conference," Cameron told the House of Commons.

"It isn't an easy issue to sort -- for many of them there may be issues and worries about starting a parliamentary or other legal process.

"But I'm very clear it's an issue that we ought to get sorted and I'd be delighted to play a part in doing that."

Labour lawmaker Keith Vaz urged the prime minister to act quickly, saying: "Does he not agree that it's better that we resolve this matter before rather than after any future royal children are born?"

A government spokesman repeated the warning that it was a "complex and difficult issue -- it needs careful thought and consideration".

The queen will attend the Commonwealth meeting in Perth but a spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: "This is a matter for government, in consultation with Commonwealth realms."

© 2011 AFP

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