"Her Majesty had no objection to the government's view that ... daughters and sons should be treated in the same way," Lord Williams of Mostyn said in announcing the queen's decision to the House of Lords. To hear those words spoken in the mustiest hall of the British establishment would have given their lordships seizures a while back. But now her majesty is the very model of a modern European monarch -- she pays taxes, invites tourists into her home and dishes out knighthoods to rock stars. Her great-grandfather Edward VII, who would have lost the throne to his sister under the new rule, must be doing cartwheels in his grave.
LONDON: The biggest family business in the world just became an equal opportunity employer. Queen Elizabeth II agreed Friday that the British throne should pass to the eldest child, regardless of sex -- sweeping aside the millenia-old tradition of primogeniture, in which sons always get first claim on the crown. Princes Charles and William can breath easy, because this makes no change to the line of succession -- they're both firstborn anyway. What this does do, however, is slap a huge royal seal on efforts to modernise the monarchy in the wake of Diana's death.