Report urges end to Queen as governor of church
The Queen should no longer be Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a report published today has recommended.
The report follows a year-long inquiry into the future of the monarchy and also suggests that the centuries-old ban on a Catholic monarch should be lifted.
The wide-ranging publication by Labour think-tank the Fabian Society, which is influential with ministers, proposes two Acts of Parliament to implement its central proposals in what would be the first comprehensive reform of the British monarchy for 300 years.
Among its key recommendations the 50,000-word report ìThe Future Of The Monarchyî suggests that The position of the head of state as supreme governor of the Church of England should be ended, and that the Royal Marriages Act, forbidding members of the royal family in line of succession from marrying without the consent of the monarch, should be repealed.
It also says that the line of succession should pass to the eldest child, regardless of gender.
The independent commission says a Succession Act should replace the 1701 Act of Settlement in setting out the new rules of succession.
A Constitution Act would define the scope and exercise of the powers of the head of state and the royal prerogative powers currently exercised by ministers.
The commission took evidence from a range of people - including Buckingham Palace officials, and considered a range of subjects, including public attitudes to the Royal Family.
Prince Charles is known to be keen to modernise the monarchy and has spoken about being a "defender of faiths" rather than Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Under current rules, Charles would become head of the Church upon his succession to the throne - a move which, commentators have often remarked, casts a significant shadow over his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
The Church has strict rules on the remarriage of divorcees, and because of this, if Charles were to marry Camilla, his moral authority as head of the Church would be under threat.
The commission was led by barrister David Bean, and included Labour peer Lord Waheed Ali, constitutional historian Lord Kenneth Morgan and Professor Dawn Oliver, constitutional law expert at University College, London.
BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt has said that the challenge for the report's authors will be to persuade a hitherto reluctant government to transform their proposals into legislative action.