The British Monarchy's Progressive New Move

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If Buckingham Palace had any glass ceilings, they just got shattered today.

Queen Elizabeth II has decreed that if Prince William and Kate Middleton's baby is a girl, she'll be called "Her Royal Highness" and "Princess."

If you're wondering how this is news, here's a quick recap on the monarchy's interesting naming conventions: Up until now, there was a bit of a gender double standard. In the original 1917 decree, a boy would have been called "Prince" but a girl would have been named "Lady" as she wouldn't be first in line to the throne.

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The new decree, however, states: "The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title, and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honor."

This formal declaration is in line with Parliament's plan to allow for any royal baby, regardless of gender, to become the heir to the throne of England. It means that the potential daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has rights to the throne — a big step toward gender equality in the line of succession.

The announcement was made yesterday, which happened to be Kate's 31st birthday. Quite a gift!

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