Earl of Balfour's daughter calls for an end to male primogeniture

Earl of Balfour’s daughter Lady Kinvara calls for an end to ‘unjust’ male primogeniture that ‘disregards’ women and will see her father’s seat inherited by his brother – but insists she’s not a feminist

  • Lady Kinvara Balfour, 45, is the second of the Earl of Balfour’s four daughters
  • She argued male primogeniture is ‘outdated’ and should be outlawed 
  • The Earl’s land and seat in the House of Lords will pass to his brother on his death

The daughter of the Earl of Balfour has called for the practice of male primogeniture to be outlawed, calling it ‘unfair’ and ‘unjust’.  

Lady Kinvara Balfour, 45, argued the rules, which mean land and hereditary titles are only passed down to men, violate a woman’s ‘right to fair treatment’ and mean daughters are ‘disregarded entirely’.

However she refuses to identify as a feminist, saying: ‘I cannot abide the word and all it misrepresents. If I must label myself, I am a gender equalist.’

Lady Kinvara is the second of Roderick, the Earl of Balfour’s four daughters. Under current laws her father’s family home in Essex, and his place in the House of Lords, will be passed to his brother rather than his children on his death.  

Lady Kinvara Balfour, 45, argued the rules, which mean land and hereditary titles are only passed down to men, violate a woman’s ‘right to fair treatment’ and mean daughters are ‘disregarded entirely’. Pictured, Lady Kinvara in February last year

‘The current rules don’t just malign a bunch of girls who want a jolly nice house and a title,’ Lady Kinvara wrote in the Daily Telegraph. 

‘With these titles comes the chance to be elected to one of the 92 seats still reserved for hereditary peers in the House of Lords which have been held almost exclusively by men.’

The Queen changed the law for the royal family in 2013. Under the Succession to the Crown Act, princes no longer take precedence over their sisters, bringing an end to the system of male preference primogeniture which had been in place since the Act of Settlement of 1701.

It means Princess Charlotte, five, is ahead of her brother Prince Louis, two, in the line of succession. 

However a change to how the rules operate for the rest of the country would need to be brought about by Parliament.

Lady Kinvara continued: ‘British laws should be changed so that the first-born inherits, irrespective of gender. And should that first-born wish to swap gender at any time, it should still go to that first-born.

Lady Kinvara is the second of the Earl of Balfour’s four daughters. Under current laws her father’s family home in Essex, and his place in the House of Lords, will be passed to his brother rather than his children on his death. Pictured, Earl and Countess of Balfour in 2014

‘The Government’s refusal to do this is being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights, but it is ridiculous that this is even necessary.

‘Boris Johnson has it in his power to end this injustice, bring the aristocracy into the 21st Century and give the daughters of hereditary peers a fair chance to take up seats in Parliament. It is more important than ever that he takes it.’

Lady Kinvara’s mother Tessa is the eldest daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. When her father Miles died in 2002, the dukedom was passed to Tessa’s younger brother, Edward, who was the fourth child but the only son. 

The tale of succession is supposed to have inspired Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, a close family friend, to write Lady Mary’s story in Downton Abbey, which sees Lady Mary denied the keys to the house, which passes to long-lost cousin Matthew Crawley. 

The current Earl of Balfour inherited his title from a distant cousin after he died with no male descendants. 

Lady Kinvara is a creative director, producer, writer and public speaker. She and her partner, a private jet company CEO named Sudhin Shahani, have a son.

If the law had not existed, then Lady Tessa (far right) would have inherited Arundel Castle, and Lady Kinarva (second right) would have grown up there. Instead, it was inherited by Edward (far left), Lady Tessa’s younger brother, also skipping her sisters Lady Candida (second right) and Lady Maria (centre)

What is male primogeniture?

Primogeniture is preference in inheritance that is given by law, custom, or usage to the eldest son and his issue. 

In exceptional cases, primogeniture may prescribe such preferential inheritance to the line of the eldest daughter. 

The motivation for such a practice has usually been to keep the estate of the deceased, or some part of it, whole and intact.   

The Royal Family brought to an end the system of primogeniture that had dictated the line of succession since 1701. 

Under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, princes no longer take precedence over their sisters. 

It means Princess Charlotte, five, is ahead of her brother Prince Louis, two, in the line of succession.  

Source: Read Full Article