The debate was understandable but academic. The line of succession isn’t drawn up and posted in an official pronouncement. Everyone’s place in it is automatic upon birth. This week, seven weeks after her birth, the website was updated, with Lilibet added in at No. 8.
Dated website aside, the list based on birth is sacrosanct. Even the Queen can’t choose who succeeds her. The very essence of constitutional monarchy is that the head of state isn’t elected and therefore avoids the political baggage that comes with being elected as head of state. British republicans say the system is fundamentally undemocratic and should be scrapped, but they’ve never gained enough public support to make it happen.
Ultimately, only Parliament has the power to replace the monarch with a president but there’s never been serious debate about that in Westminster. The argument you often hear from politicians is that you wouldn’t invent the system as it is now, but why change it?
Much of the credit for making it work goes to Queen Elizabeth, who is widely revered for the steadfast way she has carried out the role. Time will tell if Prince Charles commands the same respect. Another notion bandied about is that the Queen should hand the crown straight to the more popular Prince William.
But that would undermine the whole principle that the British head of state isn’t chosen and, again, only Parliament would have the power to make that happen.
Lilibet’s place in the line of succession has always been as assured as Charles’. The chances of her actually making it to the throne, however, are as unrealistic as the idea that the Buckingham Palace webmaster decides who the successors are.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
Harry and Meghan back UK journalists.
Charles dedicates new national police memorial.
The Prince of Wales appeared at the dedication ceremony for the new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Wednesday. Charles paid tribute to those who have died in the protection of others by laying a wreath, before addressing attendees, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel. “On behalf of the nation, I would particularly like to express my profound gratitude for the valor and sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives to keep us safe, to remember their families who mourn, and to recognize those who continue to serve in order to safeguard our freedoms,” he said.
A new royal show to binge this weekend?
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Prince Charles was on hand in Sandringham, the Queen’s countryside bolt hole, on Tuesday as the estate released a threatened species of bird on the grounds. He joined Natural England’s chair, Tony Juniper, as 80 Eurasian curlew chicks were released in an effort to boost the birds’ population in the east of England. The Prince of Wales expressed his delight at Sandringham’s involvement in the project as he’d “always cherished the evocative call of the curlew, but it is now dangerously close to being something that our grandchildren will never have the chance to enjoy.” The passionate environmentalist added: “Every curlew nest is something to prize, nurture and protect, and it is utterly vital that we work together to turn this iconic bird’s fortunes around.”
FROM THE ROYAL VAULT
We thought we’d have a look back at that momentous royal moment four decades ago. Take a look for yourself…