The Act of Settlement

The Act of Settlement

The Act of Settlement, under which King Charles reigns, was passed in 1701 in the reign of William III. The Act was designed to ensure a Protestant succession to the throne. As William was childless, the throne was to pass on his death to Queen Anne, whose only child to survive infancy had recently died. Then, in default of any issue, to the next Protestant descendant of the Royal House, the Electress Sophia of Hanover, niece of Charles I, and her descendants, being Protestants. This cut out the Roman Catholic descendants of James II. As Sophia predeceased Queen Anne, the Crown passed in 1714 to Sophia’s son George I, first of the House of Hanover to ascend to the Throne.

The Act provides for a perpetual Protestant succession by debarring any person in line to the throne from reigning if he or she be a Roman Catholic or has married one. This question arose on the marriage of Prince Michael of Kent when he lost his right of succession through his marriage to a Roman Catholic, but according to the announcement from Buckingham Palace, their children and descendants remain in succession, provided that they are in communion with the Church of England. 

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 updated the rules regarding Roman Catholics, specifically that marrying a Catholic does not now exclude a person from the Line of Succession.   

Removal of disqualification arising from marriage to a Roman Catholic  

(1) A person is not disqualified from succeeding to the Crown or from possessing it as a result of marrying a person of the Roman Catholic faith.  

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in relation to marriages occurring before the time of the coming into force of this section where the person concerned is alive at that time (as well as in relation to marriages occurring after that time).  

Succession of the Crown Act 2013 – chapter 20 

Image, top: 1720s portrait of King George I by Georg Wilhelm Lafontaine, the first ruler of the House of Hanover following the Act of Settlement.

READ NEXT

MPA House
66 Baker Street
Weybridge KT13 8AL
United Kingdom
FOLLOW US
Get In Touch
Membership Enquiries
enquiries@membership.debretts.com
+44 (0)330 3339699
General Enquiries
+44 (0)20 3950 5240
Join our weekly newsletter
Subscription Form
FOLLOW US
MPA House
66 Baker Street
Weybridge KT13 8AL
United Kingdom
Designed by Anna Ocipinska. Developed by BuiltByGo. © 2022 Debrett’s. All Rights Reserved
menu
error: Alert: Content is protected !!
My cart
Your cart is empty.

Looks like you haven't made a choice yet.