Ahead of the first gay couples being able to wed next month, laws are being changed to ban men from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act is due to take place on 29 March, and civil servants are currently drafting lists of laws and regulations to be changed.
According to the Telegraph, some 700-year-old laws dating back as far as 1285 will be redrafted, as proposals will be debated by MPs as early as next week.
In order to stop any confusion, legal experts have said the exercise is to “tidy up” the law, and clarify regulations on awarding courtesy and royal titles.
The new regulations will specify that despite the equalisation of legal marriage rights for gay and straight couples, the same legal rights do not apply to anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”.
It also specifies that if in the future, a Prince of Wales married a man, his husband would not inherit the title Princess of Wales.
The Treason Act of 1351 will also be altered meaning it is still treason to have sex with a King’s wife – but that it would not be treason to have sex with his husband.
The words “widow” or “husband” will be altered or deleted from statutes in order to clarify, and take into account the new law.
Julian Lipson, head of the family law practice at Withers LLP, told the Telegraph: “The route the Government has chosen seems to be to admit that the equalness of same-sex marriage has its limits,
“They presumably don’t want to end up with the situation of, for example, there being two duchesses or a man with the title of duchess.
“It seems that they are getting it all tidied up before these changes take effect to avoid uncertainties.”
He went on to say that these changes are unlikely to affect anyone currently in the monarchy, but should the issue arise in 100 years, that the question would be answerable.
During the consultation phase for the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act, Out4Marriage called for a review of courtesy titles given to a spouse when their husband is knighted or made a peer. Under current rules, the wife of a peer or a knight is known as “Lady” when her husband becomes a Lord or Sir. The husband of a woman who becomes a Dame or a Baroness currently receives no courtesy title, nor do civil partners.
The Coalition for Marriage which appeared to go quiet despite assertions that it was on “high alert”, claimed that these regulatory changes were being “sneaked” through by the Government.
C4M described the changes as “damaging” to those who believe in “traditional marriage”, saying the Government is trying to “airbrush out words like husband, wife and widow.”