Royal Succession

There is nothing like an impending Royal baby to fuel a frenzy.

Even those most subdued souls, England's lawyers, have been rubbing their hands with glee. For the first child of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will, one day, become King or Queen of England.

It no longer matters if it's a boy or a girl. Because a whole set of laws are about to be changed to take the gender question right out of the Royal succession. We've got teams of Attorneys blowing the dust off the Bill of Rights 1689, the Act of Settlement 1701, the Coronation Oath Act 1689, the Act of Union with Scotland 1706, Princess Sophia's Precedence Act 1711, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the Union with Ireland Act 1800, the Accession Declaration Act 1910 and the Regency Act of 1937. They've all got to be altered and the lawyers are loving it - in all corners of the world.

Because the British Monarch also reigns in: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and tiny Tuvalu. They've all got laws that need fixing before a new Royal daughter can become their Queen.

Of course, if equal rights to the throne had existed in the past, history might be very different. No King Henry VIII or King Charles I. Instead of Henry - who married in haste and chopped off the heads of two of his wives - England would have been ruled by his big sister Margaret, who was much more interested in embroidery than setting up the Church of England. Charles I's reign in the 17th century led to a bloody civil war over here. But he also had a big sister, Elizabeth, a peace-loving tree-hugger by all accounts.

More recently, Queen Victoria's first-born was also a girl. She married the German Emperor. But if she'd become our Queen, the crown would have automatically passed to her son - the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Germany and England under the same Royal ruler? We might well have avoided two ghastly World Wars. Think about it. This is Ed Boyle for CBS News in London.

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