LONDON - Britain has received formal consent from the other Commonwealth realms for new laws ending male precedence in the line of succession to the throne, London said Tuesday — just in time for news that Prince William’s wife is expecting. By what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called “wonderful coincidence”, final consent from all the 15 other Commonwealth countries was received on Monday, the day it was announced that Prince William’s wife Kate is pregnant with their first child. Britain’s monarch is separately the head of state in the other realms, which include Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica.

The laws ending male primogeniture would mean that if William and Kate’s baby is a girl, she could not be overtaken in the line by any future younger brothers. The baby will be third in line to the throne, behind Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest child, Prince Charles, and William, his eldest child. The measures were agreed in principle by prime ministers of the 16 countries at a Commonwealth summit in Perth, Australia in October 2011. When legislation comes in, it will apply to any children born from then onwards. Any unilateral British changes could have led to different sovereigns in different countries, not to mention constitutional tangles. “The legislation is now a step closer as the governments of the realms have confirmed that they will be able to take the necessary measures in their own countries before the UK legislation comes into effect — a crucial step following the Perth agreement,” the Cabinet Office ministry said.