Men are to be banned from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales as part of an unprecedented effort to rewrite more than 700 years of law to prevent unintended consequences of gay marriage. Even a 14th Century act declaring it high treason to have an affair with the monarch’s husband or wife is included in the sweeping redrafting exercise. The order makes clear that a clause in the Act giving gay and heterosexual marriage the same legal effect does not apply to the rights of anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”. It also makes clear that were a future Prince of Wales to marry a man his husband could not be called Princess of Wales.
More immediately, the order rules out the possibility of Dukes, Earls and other male peers who marry other men making their husbands Duchess, Countess or Lady. Meanwhile dozens of other laws are to be excluded from the remit of the Act. They include the Second Statute of Westminster from 1285, which deals with inheritance matters, and even the Treason Act of 1351. It makes it high treason to “violate the King’s companion” – meaning the husband or wife of the monarch – or that of the heir. A Government spokeswoman explained that it would still be considered high treason to have sex with a king’s wife – but not his husband.
Britain’s anti-gay groups are mocking the changes, of course.