Re: The Fife succession
User logged in as Johan
I don't think what the peers want is an argument in any democracy. I assume that HM does not pretend this is something only she as sovereign decides about either. As a constitutional monarch she knows it's up to the government to decide. This is not changing the letters patent for one peerage but about the entire peerage.
I agree that the complexity of getting this done is probably going to be the reason why it won't happen any time soon especially as there are many other pressing issues demanding a solution. Yet after the recent murder and response to that it might be a way of showing that this government is concerned about women and their rights so someone might actually take it on.
As for the Queen approving it or not, she did allow the same change in the royal succession so what would keep her from opposing doing the same thing to peerages?
Like the succession of the crown the solution may be that they set a date and children born before that date go to male preferred leaving younger brothers to succeed ahead of their older sisters but remove uncles and first cousins in case a peer only has daughters. Children born after the set date would go fully gender neutral.
If some peerages are lost because the last male died before the change but his daughter(s) are still alive a new peerage could always be created if the family would apply for it.
But at this point im learning towards it's too complex and takes too much effort to alter when there are more pressing issues so it will be pushed forward. That in time something will change is inevitable. If the peerage in the UK is to survive it will have to go gender neutral.
The technical piece of carrying this out makes it somewhat less attractive. All of the hereditary titles (there are over a thousand) would have to have new Letters Patent issued. That would then draw in the question who defines the Peerage, the Sovereign or the Government. Then the thorny question of making it retroactive or not (not practical to do). And finally the question, Do the peers what this? I doubt the majority does.
I just don't see it happening.
The government is looking into making ALL hereditary peerages gender neutral. Im not sure how committed they are to that considering what the pandemic, Brexit and potential independence or at least the struggle for independence of Scotland and possibly other parts of the union do to the economy. My guess is that there is more urgent stuff on people's agenda for the time being. But yes like in Spain the UK could see a change to a gender neutral succession but im assuming that is more something that might happen in 10 years time than in the next 2 years.
Do you think this might apply even to the dukedom of Fife? Not that it's in danger of extinction; but I've always thought it odd that the crown can be inherited by females, but high peerages cannot. To be sure, there have been occasional instances whereby Parliament or Letters Patent allowed a dukedom to be inherited by or through a female for one generation (e.g. Marlborough and Fife); there afterward, succession would revert to the male line.
If I understand correctly, once a high peerage becomes extinct (because the male line is extinct), it reverts to the crown. This presumably is what would have happened to the dukedom of Fife, had Alexandra and Maud, between them, failed to produce a single male heir to ensure the succession. As it was, it became a moot point, since both daughters of Princess Louise married; although each produced only one child, the said child was male.
Maud, however, didn't give birth to her only child until six years after marriage (she was 30 in 1923, an age when a woman is past the prime years of fertility). One presumes that everybody (especially her mother, husband, and father-in-law) was thrilled when in 1929, at the age of 36, she was delivered of a male heir -- important not only for the Fife succession but also, the earldom of Southesk.
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