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Act of Settlement in United Kingdom

“Act of parliament (1701) settling the succession to the throne. The Bill of Rights (1689) had limited the succession -in accordance to Bamber Gascoigne´ Encyclopedia of Britain about “Act of Settlement”– to the children of Mary and Anne (the daughters of James II) and of their cousin William III. But by 1701 Queen Mary had already died, childless, and her husband William III showed no likelihood of remarrying. Anne, next in line to the throne, had no living heir in spite of 15 pregnancies. Parliament’s main concern was to ensure that no Catholic descendant of the Stuarts should inherit. So they settled the inheritance on the heirs of Sophia, a Protestant grandaughter of James I (see the *royal house), who had married the elector of Hanover. Her son became king, on the death of Queen Anne in 1714, as the first ruler of the house of Hanover, George I. The act also imposed certain lasting restrictions on the (british) royal family.”

Act of Settlement and the Parliament

The statute of 1701 which provided for the Protestant succession and for the disqualification of any future successor not in communion with the Church of England.

The Act also provided:

  • that the nation should not engage in any war for the defence of territories not belonging to the English Crown without the consent of Parliament;
  • that the Sovereign should not leave the kingdom without the consent of Parliament;
  • that matters cognizable in the Privy Council should be transacted there, and all resolutions signed by those of the Privy Council who had advised them, a provision which was designed to subordinate the Cabinet;
  • that no foreigner should be eligible to sit in the Privy Council or in either House of Parliament, or to hold office under or receive any grant from the Crown;
  • that no office holder or person receiving a pension from the Crown should be eligible to sit in the House of Commons;
  • that no pardon under the Great Seal of England be pleadable to an impeachment by the Commons in Parliament.

Of these provisions the first, fourth, and sixth remain upon the Statute Book, although the latter can have no practical effect to-day as the practice of impeachment has fallen into disuse. The second provision was repealed in 17l6 and the third in 1705. The fifth, had it remained in force, would have excluded all ministers from the House of Commons. It was first revised in 1705, when it was provided that Members of Parliament appointed to ministerial offices must vacate their seats but could submit themselves for re-election. This condition remained in force until it was abolished by the Re-election of Ministers Act, 1919, as amended 1926. [1]


See Also

  • Parliament
  • Private Acts
  • Public General Acts


  1. Wilding, N. and Laundy, P., An Encyclopaedia of Parliament, 4th ed., London: Cassell & Company Ltd., 1972

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Act of Settlement
  • Author: International
  • Description: Act of parliament (1701) settling the succession to the throne. The Bill of Rights (1689) had limited the succession -in [...]

This entry was last updated: July 8, 2017


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