Tomorrow Montrealer Autumn Kelly will marry Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne (and the first of the present Queen’s grandchildren to marry) at Windsor Castle.
Recently the Sun newspaper ran a headline: “Royal’s girl to ditch Catholics.” The headline referred to the fact that Autumn Kelly, who grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Pointe Claire, had abandoned her ancestral faith and joined the Church of England so that her husband-to-be would not have to give up his place (number 11) in the line of succession to the British throne. The 1701 Act of Settlement bars monarchs or their heirs from becoming or marrying Catholics. In other words, it is part of the British constitution that the monarch must be a Protestant.
The irony here is that Peter Phillips has more chance of being hit by a double-decker bus that he has of ascending the throne from his eleventh position in line. Which begs the question why would Autumn Kelly apostatize from her faith to marry a royal who had little or no chance of ever becoming the monarch in any case?
This curious case leaves a blot on tomorrow’s royal wedding. There have been calls to abolish the Act of Settlement, which is deeply controversial among Catholics. Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O”Connr, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales told the Daily Telegraph the Act was ‘clearly discriminatory against Catholics.” After all, Catholics pay taxes and fight in Britain’s wars. Supporters of the Act argue that, because the monarch is head of the Church of England, he or she must be Anglican.
After her engagement was announced Autumn Kelly’s mother was quoted as saying her daughter “is very proud of her faith.” So proud, apparently, she was willing to trade it in for a sinecure in the bosom of the royals.
Do you think Autumn Kelly should have become an apostate to please her royal groom?
Do you think the Act of Settlement, barring Catholics from the British throne, should be repealed?