Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

Princess Beatrice faced ‘messy situation’ with Queen over engagement

Princess Beatrice shows off baby bump at Wimbledon

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Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary over the weekend. The pair married in a low-key ceremony, made smaller yet intimate due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only friends and family were in attendance, including a brief appearance from the Queen and Prince Philip.

Looking back at subtle law changes concerning the Royal Family, Beatrice’s romance could have sparked serious problems with the Queen.

Beatrice is currently 10th in line to the throne but was put into a “messy” position after the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act passed.

Before, anyone in the line of succession had to ask the permission of the monarch to marry.

The 2013 Act limited the requirement to the first six heirs in line.

Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, at the time argued that the Act left the legal position of heirs like Beatrice in “just a mess”.

Lawmakers decided on capping the requirement at number six after looking through historical records.

Lord Wallace, speaking in the House of Lords, explained the process of arriving at the number, and said: “A balance has to be found between mitigating against catastrophic but remote hypothetical events of a line being wiped out and the risk of impinging unnecessarily upon the lives of those who are distant from the throne.”

However, he added: “I suggest that it would not be beyond the realms of possibility for a person who is number seven or number eight to be careful in such matters.”

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Mark Durkan MP said that “being careful” meant: “Get married quickly before anything happens that means you become number six and therefore have to get the monarch’s consent.”

Many others interpreted Lord Wallace’s words as meaning that royal heirs close to the throne should take the precaution of asking the Queen’s permission to marry regardless of their distance from the top spot.

Neil Parpworth, a researcher, writing in the Modern Law Review at the time, noted: “Although not under a legal duty to do so, such course of action would ensure that their place in the line of royal succession was not lost.”

This means that Beatrice’s place in the line to succession would be secured and any children that may come from her marriage.

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Of course, in recent years, Beatrice’s place has dropped significantly.

The birth of Princes George and Louis, and Princess Charlotte, as well as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s children Archie and Lilibet have all knocked her down.

It leaves her in a position where she no longer requires the monarch’s permission to marry.

Although as previously noted, given her closeness to the Queen, it may be something that is still expected of her.

This is in stark contrast to Prince William and Harry, who both had to ask if they could marry Kate Middleton and Meghan.

The monarch’s consent is particularly important because it means that any children born in the marriage can take their own places in the line of succession.

Elsewhere, the Act also had implications for Beatrice’s last significant long-term relationship.

She dated Dave Clark for 10 years from 2006, meaning she was in a position to potentially marry her long-term lover while close enough to the throne to be required to ask the Queen for permission.

Royal commentators have long suggested that the Queen would not have given her consent.

A source told the Daily Mail in 2015: “William isn’t a huge fan of Dave.

“It’s fair to say that if Beatrice had asked the Queen for permission to marry Dave, and she in turn asked William privately for his view, she may not have been given a glowing report.”

The centre of Prince William’s consternation was reportedly that he worried over Mr Clark being “indiscreet”.

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