Move to remove law that bars Catholics from marrying into British royal family Robert Winnett, TELEGRAPH, London March 27, 2009 BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown has opened talks with Buckingham Palace on removing the 308-year-old law that bars members of the royal family from marrying Catholics. Discrimination against female heirs to the throne would also be scrapped under proposals expected to be introduced next year. If the law was to be made retrospective, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, would move ahead of the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, in the line of succession. Members of the royal family are forbidden by the Act of Settlement from converting to Catholicism or marrying a Catholic unless they agree to removal from the order of succession. Male members of the royal family take precedence over their female relatives, putting the Princess further down the line of succession than her younger brothers and their children. The Prime Minister is understood to be in favour of overhauling the laws on succession, and Buckingham Palace is thought to be open to the plans. Two of the main impediments the need to secure the consent of the Commonwealth, and concerns about the monarch's status as head of the Church of England have been discussed. The marriage rule began during the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Catholic King James VII and II was overthrown in favour of the Protestant William of Orange. The prohibition is enshrined in the Bill of Rights passed that year, and the 1701 Act of Settlement. Rewriting that act requires the consent of all 53 Commonwealth countries, and Mr Brown hopes to discuss the proposal at the Commonwealth summit in November. He has already held private talks about his plans with some of the countries' leaders. Sources close to the Prime Minister said the monarch would retain the role of head of the Church of England. During Queen Elizabeth II's reign, two members of the royal family, Prince Michael of Kent and the Earl of St Andrews, have renounced their rights of succession after marrying Catholics.