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Friday, 1 February 2013

Mothers lock up your sons

Let us hope that the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a boy. We can’t be having all this messing about with our Constitution. The changes to the Act of Succession are being rushed through  and involve modifying a shed-load of  historic legislation: a lawyers Paradise or Hell depending perhaps on the outcome.

We are talking about The Bill of Rights 1689, the Act of Settlement 1701, the Coronation Oath Act 1689, the Act of Union with Scotland 1706, Princess Sophia's Precedence Act 1711, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the Union with Ireland Act 1800, the Accession Declaration Act 1910 and the Regency Act 1937.

Yes, I appreciate the unfairness of an elder girl being supplanted by a younger brother when it comes to who gets to rule, but do we really want to tinker with all this? And what about a little known law codified in 1351 and written in Norman French?

The Treason Act of 1351 stipulates that causing the death of a ‘son and heir’ to the throne constitutes an act of treason. So too is ‘violating’ the wife of a male heir to the throne.

Our modernisers will no doubt get their way and royal daughters will share equality with their male siblings. The 1351 Treason Act is due to be modified so that causing the death of a first born daughter of the monarch will likewise be considered  a treasonable act. 

Unfortunately that is the only part of it to be modified and our constitutional guardians have missed something of profound importance. As a result the man gets it in the neck - or somewhere else.

Why aren’t the husbands of these empowered elder daughters to be protected from 'violation.' It is not in the proposed legislation. Shouldn’t they also be protected by the amended Treason Act of 1351? If it was treason to ‘violate’ the medieval wife of an heir shouldn’t the same privilege be given now to the husband of a first born daughter? 

Alas, alack no such safeguards are yet on the statute book, nor even proposed. Should the Duchess of Cambridge give birth to a girl her future husband will be exposed to every sexual predator in the kingdom fancying his or her chance. Mothers, lock up your sons.


Maria Zannini said...

LOL! Great title.

It never occurred to me that there were so many related laws to be amended. I figured when the queen gave an order anything to do with it was modified automatically. Don't trouble her with details.

When is the baby due? Have they said? Or are they leaving it mum to give the bookies something to bet on?

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, do you honestly think I have the faintest idea when it's due? I kept forgetting when my own two were due - I still struggle over birthdays : ) But to your first point, yes, history is complicated - which is why it's such fun

Angela Brown said...

Oh dear me, I think I got lost in there somewhere with the treason, violating and was there tyranny running amok or was that just my imagination? I believe that last one had nothing to do with your post, although it does seem that genetics should have played a part in the conception of this poor child to guarantee it had two long legs and one short one, though for the manhood sake they'd not wish it too short.

Dear me, I've gone and said something possibly naughty lol!

Mike Keyton said...

That's a point, Angela. Future developments in designer babies might make the constitution irrelevant in this respect. You could guarantee a male heir. Then it becomes a matter of ethics, and a heated discussion will ensue as to which is the more unethical, abortion or designing male heirs at the expense of females. Discuss : )

Gio Clairval said...

The only thing you can't tamper with is your Constitution because, last I noticed, you don't have one.

And yes, it should be done, all the discombobulation because, come on, it's really unfair and anachronistic, too, although the first trumps the latter. *shakes her fist* Equality! And, Geronimo!

Mike Keyton said...

Gio, we have written bits and unwritten bits but no coherent whole. Anyway, the piece is largely tongue in cheek, though having said that there are more important things like the sanctity of life at both ends of the spectrum, and more unfair things. Truth be told I have no strong feelings on this either way - except for the caveat that tradition and stability is sometimes more important than perceived injustice. I'm not comparing this particular issue with Syria, but I wonder to what extent the principle is much the same. The Assad regime was a tyranny, but those fighting against it are in many cases proxies for outside interests, and I personally think the average Syrian must long for the stability and prosperity they enjoyed only a few years ago. I have had a lot of wine with my roast chicken dinner.

LD Masterson said...

Wait a minute. I know I read and commented on this post last week. But I just drifted past and my comment's gone. Well, pooh. I'm sure it was terribly witty or insightful or something.

Mike Keyton said...

Hi Linda, sorry for delay. This week has been a pig in terms of work. Ref comment, don't worry, I'll imagine its magnificence. I've checked my spam box, but it's not there either. So we'll leave it at 'Poo'! : )