13 Mar 2005 Morganatic Marriage
Ed Haislmaier writes to add some scholarship to my post about solving the civil marriage conundrum faced by Prince Charles and Mrs. Parker-Bowles:
…there is a long-standing word for what you are proposing – “morganatic.” Here are two definitions listed on dictionary.com:
morganatic adj. Of or being a legal marriage between a person of royal or noble birth and a partner of lower rank, in which it is agreed that no titles or estates of the royal or noble partner are to be shared by the partner of inferior rank nor by any of the offspring of the marriage. [New Latin morganaticus, from Medieval Latin (matrimonium ad) morganaticam, (marriage for the) morning-gift, of Germanic origin.] morga nati cal ly adv.Source: The American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, (c) 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
morganatic adj: (of marriages) of a marriage between one of royal or noble birth and one of lower rank; valid but with the understanding that the rank of the inferior remains unchanged and offspring do not succeed to titles or property of the superior [syn: left-handed]
Source: WordNet (r) 2.0, (c) 2003 Princeton University
Thus, the effect of your proposed Act of Parliament would be that any (purely) civil marriage entered into by a member of the British royal family would be automatically deemed a morganatic marriage.