UK lawmaker calls for prince to reform monarchy

Wed Mar 2, 2011 1:10pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - An opposition lawmaker has called on Prince William to support a campaign to modernize the British monarchy to give any daughters he has with future bride Kate Middleton the same rights as any sons.

Labor member of parliament (MP) Tristram Hunt said William should lend his weight to attempts to overhaul the 300-year-old Act of Settlement Law which asserts the primacy of male heirs to the British throne.

"Perhaps it would be worth the young Prince William subtly showing his support for the ongoing campaign to repeal the Act of Settlement," Hunt wrote in an essay for the Institute for Public Policy Research's magazine.

"As the son of Princess Diana, who struggled against the same archaic elements of palace protocol, such a signal would seem almost natural."

In January another Labor MP Keith Vaz used a special parliamentary procedure to win permission to introduce draft legislation to remove the distinction between the sexes in determining future monarchs.

While it passed its first parliamentary hurdle, it stands little chance of becoming law because of limited time.

Hunt said this legal discrimination would be exposed should any first child of William and Middleton, who marry on April 29, be a girl.

"He should use the coming months to signal the end of male primogeniture and if -- God Willing -- he and Catherine have children then his eldest child of whichever sex should succeed him," Hunt wrote.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton listen to speeches during their visit St. Andrews University in Fife, Scotland February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>