The British government seems poised to end primogeniture, a practice in place since feudal times guaranteeing that male children receive preference in the Royal succession. In the current system, a male child will always be first in line for the British throne, even if he has older female siblings. For example, this is how King Henry VIII’s youngest child, Edward VI, hopscotched over both his sisters Mary and Elizabeth to the crown, even though he was only nine years old at the time of his father’s death.
Only when there is no male heir at all is it possible for a female child to ascend the throne. Queen Elizabeth II became Queen only because she had no male siblings.
Now, however, Parliament and Prime Minister David Cameron are moving toward making significant changes to the law of succession. Cameron has written to British Commonwealth leaders proposing that the law which ensures male children automatically take precedence in the line of succession be altered. (The 16 nations who recognize the Queen as their monarch have to agree to any changes.) This proposed change would apply to any children produced by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, guaranteeing that if their first child is a daughter, she would be at the head of the line for the throne behind her father and take precedence over any subsequent sons.
More Royal-related rambling after the jump!