A centuries-old law stating that only sons can inherit peerages, meaning only Harry and Meghan’s son could be bestowed with a dukedom, is being debated in the European Court of Human Rights.
They may have only recently tied the knot but the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s potential child is already being debated.
So, if the royal couple were to have a daughter, she wouldn’t be given a royal title, according to the law. Dissatisfied with this (and rightly so), pressure group, Daughter’s Rights, are set on changing it.
Charlotte Carew Pole is heading up the organisation and we were keen to find out everything about her incredible campaign.
What is the campaign?
“In the house of Lords, there are 92 seats reserved for hereditary peers and in order to be allowed to stand for election to one of those hereditary peers, you need to have inherited a title – and in order to have inherited a title, you need to be male.
“So, only sons can inherit titles meaning there are 92 seats that are effectively reserved for men.
“We are campaigning that women should inherit titles, so instead of sons inheriting over daughters, it is the first-born that inherits, meaning that there should be an equal number of men and women in the House of Lords.
“We think it is absolutely appalling that the government is making companies publish lists of women on boards and they are highlighting gender pay gaps and they are telling ethic communities that women are better – which are all very admirable things, but at the same time, there is a group of women who are systemically discriminated against on their gender and are not allowed to stand for election to our upper house, just because they’re girls.”
Why the Duchess of Sussex will appreciate my campaign
“The new Duchess of Sussex is a self-proclaimed feminist. If she has a daughter, her daughter will not inherit anything from her.
“I would have thought that Meghan would be horrified that a daughter of hers would not be entitled to the same kind of privilege her son was. You can only speculate but as someone who has come out and said she is a proud feminist, I would be astonished if she would think this was an acceptable series of affairs in 2018.
“And if she didn’t think titles were worth it, then she could have said ‘no thank you, I don’t need to be Duchess of Sussex’ – that would have held some weight to this.”
The ideal situation
“We are campaigning for the government to create a piece of legislation that is very simple: it removes the word ‘male’ from ‘Male – Premenditure’ and allows the first-born to inherit whatever that may be. By doing that, daughters will be able to stand in the House of Lords as well so it would achieve all the political ambitions I would like and it would modernise the royal family once and for all.
“It’s extraordinary that not everyone is aware of the situation. Yes, it’s a pretty niche subject, but it’s amazing when people think about it. Everyone is astonished that it can still go on in this day and age.
“You could argue that the House of Lords should be abolished anyway – and that may well be the case – but while it still exists in its current format, it needs to be gender equal and needs to have the gender bias removed.
“It’s been 100 years since women got the vote but still don’t have the same political rights as men.”
We couldn’t agree more, Charlotte.