There have been reports that the Church of England has blocked plans to lift the ban on Roman Catholics within the British monarchy.
Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg was considering changes to the Act of Settlement, but the Church of England is believed to have pointed out some ‘insurmountable’ constitutional problems.
According to reports, the Church of England says the move could lead to a loss of sovereignty, with the British monarch being ultimately answerable to the Pope in Rome.
The Vatican would also insist that a Roman Catholic monarch’s children should be raised as Roman Catholics.
A spokesman for Nick Clegg has told journalists that the problems raised in discussions with the Church of England are complex and difficult.
A spokesman for the Church of England said while the Church remained the established religion, the monarch and Supreme Governor could not owe a higher loyalty elsewhere.
He pointed out that a Roman Catholic monarch would not be able to join in communion with the Church of England as its Supreme Governor, without going against Roman Catholic teaching.
The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is believed to be “relaxed” about the continuing existence of the Act.
The Act of Settlement 1701 was originally passed to prevent the descendants of the Roman Catholic James II from ascending the throne.
He was deposed in the 1688 Glorious Revolution by supporters of the Protestant William and Mary.
The 300-year-old legislation has been the basis for the UK’s constitutional monarchy ever since.