A reminder of the Act of Settlement and Religious Discrimination in Europe

Lord Nicholas Windsor, 40, who lost his place in the line of succession when he became a Roman Catholic, has written a controversial article in which he claims that abortion is a bigger threat to Europe than al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism.

He describes abortion as “the single most grievous moral deficit in contemporary life” and calls for a “new abolitionism for Europe” in which abortion, like the slave trade, can be abolished.  While the threat of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda calls for “robust and, where necessary, lethal response”, he claims in the American religious journal First Things that “these are not threats that appear existential and have not as yet provoked a real sense of public crisis”.

In 2006, Lord Nicholas, whose father, the Duke of Kent, is a cousin of the Queen, became the first member of the Royal family to marry in the Vatican since the Reformation. His wife, Paola, gave birth to their first child, Albert, in 2007, and the couple had a second son, Leopold, last year.

The Act of Settlement in 1701 ensured that only Anglicans could ascend to the throne of England. There is a complicated legal formula which ensures that Commonwealth Countries with the Queen of England as Head of State have retained the same rules. A court case in Canada found that this discrimination in the constitution superceded the Bill of Rights.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden—whose constitutions compel their monarchs to be Lutherans—and the Netherlands‘ constitution which insists their monarchs be through the Protestant House of Orange, and also the Spanish and Belgian constitutions which include provisions for the succession through Roman Catholic houses indicates that this Monarchy business operates outside the rules of Universal Civil and Religious Liberty. In certain circumstances, discrimination is all right then! As James Brown said “This is a mad mad world”.