The British Commonwealth of Nations, an anachronism of a time when Great Britain basically ruled the entire world, is facing a pretty hilarious problem ahead of the birth [enter small, well-behaved white rabbit, blaring a trumpet] of the Royal Infant: ‘ol John Bull has tried to hastily do away with primogeniture, an inheritance principle even more antiquated than the monarchy itself, but only three of the 15 Commonwealth nations that agree on the Queen being their nominal head of state have agreed to officially change the primogeniture law. This means that a Will and Kate first-born daughter could well become the Queen of the UK, while a second-born son could become King of Commonwealth countries like Canada and New Zealand.
At this point, you might be asking yourself: so? Does anyone in Canada seriously care about the sex of the person they nominally owe their allegiance to? The answer is no, they sure don’t, and that’s precisely why it’s been so hard for the UK to make sure the rest of the Commonwealth is on the same page about scrapping primogeniture.
In a statement to the Telegraph, Robert Hazell, director of the constitution unit at University College London's school of public policy, explained that many of the Commonwealth nations are dragging their feet because a) their constitutions are really hard to change, and b) they couldn’t give a handful of fucks who inherits the British throne:
In relation to the smallest countries, they can't see the point.
It is not that they disagree, it's just that it is pretty low on their list of priorities. At the other end of the scale, the two largest countries, Australia and Canada, have constitutions which are notoriously difficult to change.
To be clear, none of the Commonwealth countries who have yet to change the primogeniture law — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Tuvalu, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia, and the Bahamas — are particularly averse to letting a first-born daughter inherit the throne. They just haven’t gotten around to changing a law that doesn’t really matter. I mean, if you’re going to have an antiquated chain of leadership, then why not go all the way with it? Why get all progressive at this point?
So far, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Canada* have proved themselves dutiful Royal subjects and approved the change to the primogeniture law. Everyone else is getting ready for a real-life pan global Game of Thrones situation.
*Canada has merely “given assent” to the British law, rather than creating its own official bill. This has annoyed the British, who are all like, “Why the fuck is Canada so lazy?”
Image via Getty, Peter Macdiarmid