As the world, and more particularly the United Kingdom, is eagerly awaiting the birth of Prince William and Princess Catherine’s second child, we thought it topical to clarify the delicate matter of the order of succession to the British throne.

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In the United Kingdom, succession is governed by the Act of   Union of 1800, which reinstated the Act of Settlement of 1701  and the Bill of Rights of 1689.

 

These stated that Protestant heirs of Princess Sophia, grand    daughter of King James Ist only may become monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Catholics, individuals who marry a Catholic or individuals born out of wedlock cannot remain in the line of succession.

In practice, the crown was passed from the monarch to the eldest son. If a monarch had sons, they took precedence over the daughters.  In the case of Elisabeth II, King George VI had no sons and the crown was handed down to his eldest daughter. In turn, the crown will be handed down to her eldest son, Prince Charles of Wales.  This meant that even though, the Princess Royal, Princess Ann, is older than her brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, they come before her in the line of succession.

However, a law passed on March 26th 2015 has removed the male bias from the succession rules, which means that the future Princess of Cambridge will not lose her place in the line of succession even if she were to have one or more younger brothers.

The current line of succession is the following.

  1. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
  2. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
  3. Prince George of Cambridge
  4. Princess (?) of Cambridge
  5. Prince Henry of Wales
  6. Prince Andrew, Duke of York
  7. Princess Beatrice of York
  8. Princess Eugenie of York
  9. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
  10. James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn
  11. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
  12. Princess Ann, the Princess Royal

Incidentally, thanks to the new law, both Prince George and his little sister will also be able to marry Catholics without losing their place in the line of succession.

 

 

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The 8th of May, also known as VE Day, is a public holiday held to mark the end of World War II in Europe, and the Allied forces formal acceptance of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and its armed forces.speeches_churchill

As Adolf Hitler had commited suicide on April 30th, his successor Karl Dönitz decided to surrender and travelled to Reims to sign the act of military surrender on the 7th of May.

In the United Kingdom, where the cost of war had been high with half a million homes destroyed, thousands of civilians killed and millions of lives disrupted, people went in the street to party and rejoice when they heard on the wireless at 3pm that Germany had surrendered.

On the 8th of May, huge crowds gathered in London in Trafalgar square and up the Mall all the way to Buckingham Palace to see King George VI, Queen Elisabeth and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appear on the balcony palace. The king and his wife appeared 8 times in all on the balcony to the cheers of the crowd.

The two princesses, Elisabeth and Margaret were allowed to leave the palace incognito and take part in the street celebrations.

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Germany’s surrender and 3 days of festivities are planned across Britain.

A national two-minute silence will be held at the Cenotaph at 3pm on 8 May, marking the moment prime minister Winston Churchill broadcast his historic speech to formally announce the end of the war, before the lighting of more than 100 beacons, stretching across the country from Newcastle to Cornwall.

On the 9th of May, cathedrals across the country will ring bells at 11am in celebration. In London, stars will perform at a 1940s-themed concert held on Horse Guards Parade in the evening.

On the 10th of May, there will be a service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey attended by veterans and their families, members of the royal family, politicians, members of the Armed Forces and representatives of Allied nations and Commonwealth countries that fought alongside Britain.

 

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