Proposed amendments to rules governing the line of succession

Perth, Australia
28 October 2011

The Harper Government supports initiatives that ensure that the Crown remains a modern and vital institution that reflects the values of Canadians.

In keeping with this goal, Canada welcomed the proposals put forward by United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron to the 16 Realms of which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State to modernize the rules governing the line of succession to the Throne.

The proposed changes would put an end to the practice of placing male children before their elder sisters in the line of succession and remove legal provisions that heirs marrying Roman Catholics would be ineligible to succeed to the Throne.

The Realms met today in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, to discuss these proposed changes, and agreed to work together on a coordinated approach to amend the rules governing the royal line of succession.  The Realms would advise The Queen of their views and seek her agreement. 

These rules are based in common law as well as in British legislation such as the Act of Settlement, which contains provisions on who may succeed to the Throne of the UK as well as that of Canada and the other Realms.

While British legislation would amend the rules, the UK Government is seeking the agreement of the Realms for the proposed changes. The 16 Realms are the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Belize, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Papua New Guinea.