Prince William, Duchess Catherine, Kate Middleton

Phil Noble / Reuters

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For anyone wondering if Kate Middleton's entry into the British royal family would really do anything to modernize the monarchy, the answer is a resounding, history-making yes.

A long-fought, precedent-defying change to the rules of royal succession got the green light today, paving the way for the firstborn of Prince William and Kate Middleton to assume the throne. And that's whether it's a boy or a girl.

Score one—a major, unparalleled, equal-opportunity one—for progress!

The issue has come up several times over the years, but never had been fought for quite as hard as this year since the government was certainly fighting against the clock (Kate's biological clock) to change the law before the royal newlyweds started procreating.

Under the previous law, the immediate heir—meaning the child who would one day succeed Will as king—was the firstborn son of the monarch.

Now, the law has finally caught up with the times and will change to allow the firstborn child of the monarch—boy or girl—to take the throne. Which means should the couple welcome a daughter first, she will now be eligible to become queen.

The decision was a long time coming and only passed this morning once the leaders of the 16 governments of the Commonwealth unanimously agreed to change the laws in each of their realms.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had the honor of formally announcing the historic change.

"Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen."

Rather fittingly, the announcement came on the very day that Queen Elizabeth II gave a speech to the heads of Australian government at a leadership conference, the theme of which was "Woman as Agents of Change."

Well done, Britain. Jolly good.

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