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The Rights and Wrongs of Royal Marriage: how the law has led to heartbreak, farce and confusion, and why it must be changed Paperback – 15 Mar 2011
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Top customer reviews
It's so refreshing to read something by a highly regarded academic that is written in a beautifully clear and concise style. You get the impression that Prof Probert considers the 'cut and paste' style of so much popular academic writing these days as not being real research, and I think she's spot on. If she only decided to write this book once William and Kate announced their engagement, she must have spent weeks on end in the National Archives up to her neck in government files.
The result is always eye-opening, often quite worrying, and sometimes very funny - the arguments in 2005 about whether or not Charles and Camilla could legally marry in a civil ceremony are painstakingly dissected and prove to be far more farcical than I'd appreciated (and I'm a fully paid-up cynic when it comes to theories about government incompetence!); but Prof Probert then draws out the logical conclusions of Charles' civil marriage and gently points out that using the Human Rights Act to prevent him being discriminated against must also mean that the anti-Catholic effects of the Act of Settlement and the need for the Queen's consent under the Royal Marriages Act are even more contrary to human rights law. I hope somebody in a position of authority fully digests the implications of this.
Then there's the laugh-out-loud anecdote on how Harold Macmillan, when informed by his officials that according to the laws on royal marriage Prince Philip would either be illegitimate or not a royal, effectively told them to let sleeping dogs lie, as nobody else had noticed. Another gem is that the Civil Partnerships Act doesn't affect any of the other royal marriage laws, so a gay royal wouldn't need the monarch's consent to enter into a same-sex civil partnership, and would be able to 'marry' a Catholic without the Act of Settlement preventing them from becoming King and 'Queen'!
This is a well-structured and nicely balanced book that explains everything anyone could need to know about the law of royal marriage without once coming across as biased or partisan.