A Roman Catholic commentator has said David Cameron should “tread carefully” with controversial proposals affecting the monarchy.
Charles Moore, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, gave a warning about the plans – which include allowing future heirs to the throne to marry Roman Catholics.
Mr Moore implied that the changes could pose a threat to the Church of England as the established church and noted that the plans still have to be voted on by 16 countries in the Commonwealth, including the UK.
He raised questions that “any self-respecting Member of Parliament” could ask when the proposals come to be voted on in the UK: “‘Wait a minute! You are trying to change the rules by which our head of state is chosen and controlled. Is this good for her and her heirs? Is it good for our country?'”
Mr Moore pointed to the difficulties: “Suppose the heir to the throne does marry a Catholic, which, under the new rules, he/she will be permitted to do.
“Suppose that they have a child. Suppose the child, as the Catholic Church requires, is brought up a Catholic.
“Under the law, even as reformed, that child cannot become Monarch. ‘Are you asking me,’ the doubting MP might inquire, ‘to vote for a reform which could precipitate a constitutional-cum-religious crisis?'”
Mr Moore added that if the law was changed to allow Roman Catholics to come to the throne, “there would be a lot more questions”.
He said: “What would happen to the monarch’s headship of the Church of England? How would he/she be crowned?
“‘Are you proposing, Prime Minister,’ the awkward MP could ask, ‘to disestablish the Church? If so, please lay before us your legislation for doing so.’
“Untune that string, as Shakespeare famously put it, and hark what discord follows.”
Mr Moore said David Cameron “should tread carefully when he starts fiddling with the system that decides who should wear the Crown”.
The proposed changes to the rules of royal succession were announced by the Prime Minister in October at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia.