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Words in the News
 
Wednesday 16 July 2003
 
The future of the British Monarchy
 
Queen The British Queen should no longer be head of the Church of England according to an influential left-wing organisation. The Fabian Society has published a report into the future of the monarchy and it says that the monarchy needs to properly represent the country's different religions. This report from Jane Little:
 
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The report calls for a comprehensive modernisation of the monarchy to bring it more into line with other European constitutional monarchies. It says that members of the royal family should have to pay inheritance tax and the Queen's role in the annual state opening of parliament should be changed.

But its biggest challenge to the current form of monarchy is to its entanglement with the Church of England. It argues that the Queen should no longer be the Supreme Governor of the church. It also urges the overturning of the controversial Act of Settlement. Under that law passed in 1701, no Catholic or anyone married to a catholic can succeed to the throne.

These changes would be the most radical in five hundred years, since Henry the Eighth broke away from the Roman Catholic faith and became head of the Church of England. But there is considerable pressure for changes to a system many regard as out of step with modern, multi-cultural Britain. The Queen has herself said the monarchy needs to adapt to modern times, while the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, has in the past declared his desire to be the "defender of faiths" rather than "the faith".

Jane Little, Religious Affairs Correspondent
 
 
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calls for
 
formally demands
 
comprehensive
 
complete, including everything
 
constitutional monarchies
 
countries which have a king or queen who are head of state but also has a democratically elected government. The king or queen does not take part in the process of government
 
the annual state opening of parliament
 
the historic ceremony in which the British king or queen formally opens parliament after the summer break
 
its entanglement with
 
its close relationship with
 
overturning
 
here, removing, ending a law
 
succeed to the throne
 
become king or queen
 
broke away from
 
formally stopped being a part of
 
out of step with
 
here, old-fashioned and not relevant to
 
the heir to the throne
 
the person who will be king or queen next because of their birthright
 
 
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