Act of Settlement 1700


Whereas in the first year of the reign of Your Majesty, and of our late Most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Mary (of blessed memory), an Act of Parliament was made, intituled “An Act for declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and for settling the Succession of the Crown”, wherein it was (amongst other things) enacted, established, and declared, that the Crown and regal government of the kingdoms of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, should be and continue to Your Majesty and the said late Queen, during the joint lives of Your Majesty and the said Queen, and to the survivor: And that, after the decease of Your Majesty and of the said Queen, the said Crown and regal government should be and remain to the heirs of the body of the said late Queen; and, for default of such issue, to Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark, and the heirs of her body; and, for default of such issue, to the heirs of the body of Your Majesty; And it was thereby further enacted that all and every person and persons that then were or afterwards should be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with, the See or Church of Rome, or should profess the Popish religion, or marry a Papist, should be excluded, and are by that Act made for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown and government of this realm and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, or any part of the same, or to have, use, or exercise any regal power, authority, or jurisdiction within the same: And in all and every such case and cases the people of these realms shall be and are thereby absolved of their allegiance: And that the said Crown and government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person or persons, being Protestants, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case the said person or persons, so reconciled, holding communion, professing, or marrying as aforesaid, were naturally dead: After the making of which Statute, and the settlement therein contained, Your Majesty’s good subjects who were restored to the full and free possession and enjoyment of their religion, rights, and liberties, by the providence of God giving success to Your Majesty’s just undertakings and unwearied endeavours for that purpose, had no greater temporal felicity to hope or wish for than to see a royal progeny descending from Your Majesty, to whom (under God) they owe their tranquillity, and whose ancestors have for many years been principal asserters of the Reformed religion and the liberties of Europe, and from our said Most Gracious Sovereign Lady, whose memory will always be precious to the subjects of these realms: And it having since pleased Almighty God to take away our said Sovereign Lady, and also the most hopeful Prince William Duke of Gloucester (the only surviving issue of Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark), to the unspeakable grief and sorrow of Your Majesty and your said good subjects, who, under such losses being sensibly put in mind that it stands wholly in the pleasure of Almighty God to prolong the lives of Your Majesty and of Her Royal Highness, and to grant to Your Majesty, or to Her Royal Highness, such issue as may be inheritable to the Crown and regal government aforesaid, by the respective limitations in the said recited Act contained, do constantly implore the Divine mercy for those blessings: And Your Majesty’s said subjects having daily experience of your royal care and concern for the present and future welfare of these kingdoms, and particularly recommending from your Throne a further provision to be made for the succession of the Crown in the Protestant line, for the happiness of the nation and the security of our religion; and it being absolutely necessary, for the safety, peace, and quiet of this realm, to obviate all doubts and contentions in the same by reason of any pretended title to the Crown, and to maintain a certainty in the succession thereof, to which your subjects may safely have recourse for their protection, in case the limitations in the said recited Act should determine.

Preamble: this Act continues to be part of the laws of New Zealand, but as if it had been amended by deleting from this Preamble “or marry a Papist” and “or marrying”, at 1 pm on 26 March 2015, by section 11(a) of the Royal Succession Act 2013 (2013 No 149).