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British duke's son forfeits royal line to become Catholic

Another member of the British Royal Family has left the Church of England and become a Catholic.

Lord Nicholas Windsor, the younger son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, has forfeited his 25th place in line to the throne as a result of his decision. He follows in the footsteps of his mother, who embraced Catholicism in 1994, becoming the highest profile royal convert in recent times. His brother, the Earl of St Andrews, is also ruled out of the line of succession because he married Silvana Tomaselli, a Canadian academic who is a Catholic. Their uncle, Prince Michael of Kent, lost his right of succession to the throne when he married a Catholic, Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz (now known as Princess Michael), in 1978.

According to the Act of Settlement of 1701, no Roman Catholic can accede to the throne and nobody in line can remain in succession if he or she marries or becomes a Roman Catholic.

On Saturday, Nicholas, 31, confirmed that he had become a Catholic. "I can confirm that it is true, but I would prefer to say no more than that," he said. "I consider the time and place to be a private matter."

The reception is understood to have taken place last Easter. It is likely to have been part of the church's rite of Christian initiation for adults, whereby a group seeking admission to the church is prepared and received together.

Recently friends have commented on his deepening interest in the Christian faith. He has become a regular visitor to Heythrop College, a Jesuit foundation within the University of London.

Senior figures in the Church of England, including the Archbishop of York, as well as senior Labour politicians are sympathetic to amending the act to remove the prohibition on Roman Catholics occupying the throne.

Sunday Times (London)