Commentary on Article II

II. Hanoverian Succession

THAT the Succession of the Monarchy to the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and of the Dominions thereto belonging, after Her Most Sacred Majesty, and in Default of Issue of Her Majesty, be, remain, and continue to the Most Excellent Princess Sophia, Electoress and Dutchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Heirs of her Body being Protestants, upon whom the Crown of England is settled by an Act of Parliament made in England in the twelfth Year of the Reign of his late Majesty King William the Third, Intituled, An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject: And that all Papists, and Persons marrying Papists, shall be excluded from, and forever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Imperial Crown of Great Britain, and the Dominions thereunto belonging, or any Part thereof, and in every such Case the Crown and Government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by such Person being a Protestant, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case such Papist or Person marrying a Papist, was naturally Dead according to the Provision for the Descent of the Crown of England, made by another Act of Parliament in England in the first Year of the Reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary entituled An Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the Succession of the Crown.
One kingdom needed a single, settled law of succession, but a crisis was in the air. Queen Anne had borne several children who died in infancy, and Prince George had finally succumbed in 1700 at the age of 11, leaving no direct heir to either kingdom. The line of Charles I ended with no legitimate Protestant descendants beyond Queen Anne, and so the succession looked back to the children of James VI & I. The English Parliament had passed the Act of Settlement in 1701 which settled the succession upon Sophia of Hanover, King James’s granddaughter, and this was confirmed for the new kingdom.