Succession to the Crown Bill — Third Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 22nd April 2013.

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Photo of Lord Janvrin Lord Janvrin Crossbench 3:15 pm, 22nd April 2013

I declare an interest as a former member of the Royal Household and I pay tribute to the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, to see this important point discussed in this House. What has just been said about making explicit what is implicit is important, but this amendment is not absolutely necessary. There are three reasons for that.

First, as has just been stated, we are where we are, clearly, with the Act of Settlement and the law of the land that the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England. Secondly, we have heard on several occasions that whereas there is legal certainty about where we stand in terms of the Church of England, the Catholic position on mixed marriages is more flexible and nuanced in its term that it is a pastoral matter. That is important. Thirdly, there is a precedent. There is a mixed marriage in the Royal Family where the children have been brought up as members of the Church of England.

My concern is that if we in the United Kingdom start introducing amendments that are not absolutely necessary, there may be desires in other realms to do the same and to start unravelling what is a most important piece of legislation that will strengthen the monarchy. I hope that in considering whether to go ahead with this amendment we can bear in mind that we must not allow a compromise across the realms to be undermined for the sake of something that is nice to have but not absolutely necessary.