On the face of it this looks like a welcome change tin modern society toward greater gender parity.
Of course, it’s still a damn fool idea:
One of the UK’s most senior hereditary peers, who had been a leading critic of reform, has performed an about turn by calling for a change in law so daughters can inherit their titles.
Despite voting down such a Bill in 1994, the Earl of Shrewsbury will use a debate on Tuesday to insist the system “should and must” be changed.
There are around 2,000 hereditary titles in the UK and, apart from some Scottish titles, virtually all can only be handed down to sons, not daughters.
As is obvious from that point about Scottish titles and “almost” it was actually possible, when the title was granted, for female inheritance to be included. Often it wasn’t. So, it’s sons all the way down.
And if we decide to change that? Well, that initial claim was that sons all the way down should be honoured and given a place to rule over the rest of us. Changing the initial claim to allow daughters to do so opens up that box of changing the claim, doesn’t it? And we no longer do believe that children all the way down should be honoured and given a place to rule over us.
We have long, long, done the royal and King or Queen bit by female inheritance. But not the aristocratic titles. And if we’re to reopen that debate then there’s a very good argument that the titles themselves – and the honour and the ruling – should go along with the primogeniture.
And even if not that then why only the firstborn? Leaving aside the point that that’s the only one that paternity is reasonable assured of in the aristocracy.