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The queen’s grandson Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is second in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. His wife, Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant. Under the present rules, if her first child were to be a daughter and they subsequently had a boy, the boy would automatically become the next in the line of succession.

The British government has decided that the present succession rule is out of date and does not conform to the principle of gender equality. This view is shared by all Commonwealth countries, which have retained the queen as their head of state. Legislation will accordingly be brought forward to change the rule before the Duchess’s baby is born.

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