Conservatives to introduce bill that would change rules for royal succession

OTTAWA – The Harper government is bringing in legislation that will change the rules of royal succession to end discrimination against female heirs to the throne.

The bill follows an agreement last fall among Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state to change the centuries-old tradition that favoured male heirs over their older sisters.

Each country promised to legislate changes to give females equal status and end a 300-year-old rule that bans the monarch from marriage to a Roman Catholic.

In 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to Commonwealth leaders telling them he planned to make these changes and asking for their agreement.

The issue took on more urgency with the news that Prince William and his wife are expecting their first child.

The legislation means that the child, girl or boy, will be next in line for the throne after William.

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