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Monarchy special: The big questions

Who should be the next king? How could Britain become a republic? Constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor explains the rules

By Vernon Bogdanor   April 2011

1. If the Queen wished to step down, could she?

It would require an act of parliament, but the Queen is also sovereign of 15 other Commonwealth monarchies (see box p32), and any change requires the consent of all of these countries too. In Canada, this would involve the consent of every province including Quebec, and would raise anew the separatism issue. Australia would require a referendum. The law of succession has been changed only once in recent times, by the abdication in 1936. That was so traumatic it is unlikely to be repeated. A Regency, however, is possible: were…

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