Royal REVELATION: What Prince George can do that no monarch has done for 350 YEARS

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PRINCE GEORGE and his siblings Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – and the new Sussex royal baby – are the first royal generation to be allowed to marry a Catholic since the reign of King James II almost 350 years ago.

Prince George is third-in-line to the throne, behind his father Prince William and grandfather Prince Charles. The birth of his sister Princess Charlotte in 2015 was revolutionary, as she was the first royal baby born since the 2013 Succession of the Crown Act which meant that she would take her place in the line of succession based on her order of birth and not on her gender. However, the same law also means that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and their new Sussex cousin could be the very first royal generation since 1688 to marry someone of the Catholic faith.

The 1701 Act of Settlement was passed to ensure the English and Irish crowns would only pass on to Protestants.

It meant that anyone who became a Roman Catholic, or who married one, would be disqualified from inheriting the throne.

This was originally brought into law after the reign of the unpopular Catholic monarch James II was brought to an end and English courtiers invited Protestant William of Orange and James’ daughter Mary to take the throne in what has since been called the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

James was exiled and his son, also called James, was barred from the line of succession which brought on the Jacobite revolts, with Bonnie Prince Charlie coming the closest to reclaiming the throne in 1745.

The 1701 Act of Settlement was passed to ensure the English and Irish crowns would only pass on to Protestants.

It meant that anyone who became a Roman Catholic, or who married one, would be disqualified from inheriting the throne.

Prince George with his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge photo C gettty imagees
Prince George with his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge photo C gettty imagees

This was originally brought into law after the reign of the unpopular Catholic monarch James II was brought to an end and English courtiers invited Protestant William of Orange and James’ daughter Mary to take the throne in what has since been called the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

James was exiled and his son, also called James, was barred from the line of succession which brought on the Jacobite revolts, with Bonnie Prince Charlie coming the closest to reclaiming the throne in 1745.

Prince george and his siblings ar ethe first royal generation since to be allowed to marry Cat photo C getty images
Prince george and his siblings ar ethe first royal generation since to be allowed to marry Cat photo C getty images

Neither Mary, or her successor Anne, produced any surviving heirs but the Act of Settlement was passed to keep the crown in Protestant hands.

After Anne’s death the House of Hanover was then invited to ascend the throne, with George I ruling from 1714 to 1727 and his heirs forming the Georgian age until the reign of Queen Victoria.

Because of this ancient law, Autumn Kelly, before she married Peter Phillips, Princess Anne’s son, renounced her Catholic faith in 2008.

Princess Charlottes birth in was the change in primogeniture rules for royal sucession photo C getty images
Princess Charlottes birth in was the change in primogeniture rules for royal sucession photo C getty images

Lord Nicholas Windsor, the youngest son of the Duke of Kent, was removed from the line of succession when he converted to Catholicism in 2001.

His child, Albert, was the first member of the Royal Family to be baptised a Catholic since 1688.

However, the Succession of the Crown Act came into force in 2013 and ended the generations-old disqualification to the throne.

ames II was deposed in in what became known as the Glorious Revolution photo C getty images
ames II was deposed in in what became known as the Glorious Revolution photo C getty images

Speaking to Express.co.uk, royal historian Richard Fitzwilliams explained: “This meant that though a monarch could marry a Catholic, as he or she was Supreme Governor of the Church in England they must remain in Communion with the Church of England.

“Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis could marry a Catholic but their children would have to be brought up in the Church of England if they were to retain their place in the line of succession.”

However, Mr Fitzwilliams continued, there will be no move in the foreseeable future to further reform the rules governing who can ascend the throne, which some have mooted with Prince Charles’ stated preference to include all faiths in his coronation vow.

James II married Anne Hyde left who converted to Catholicism and devout Catholic Mary of Modena pphoto C getty images
James II married Anne Hyde left who converted to Catholicism and devout Catholic Mary of Modena pphoto C getty images

Mr Fitzwilliams said: “To alter the status of the Church of England, the state church since 1534, would mean a seismic change in the rituals of British public life and would considerably affect the status of the monarchy.

“With so much political chaos at present, this is emphatically not on the agenda, [however] in a future reign this may well alter.”

Queen Mary II left and Queen Anne were James II daughters neither produced any living heirs photo C getty images
Queen Mary II left and Queen Anne were James II daughters neither produced any living heirs photo C getty images

The requirement for an heir to the throne to marry a Protestant has caused some ripples in the lives of the Royal Family, however.

Source: express co uk