Amid all the fanfare and trumpets, some old-fashioned religious prejudice is at the heart of the birth of George, the new heir to the British throne.

The new royal prince George will someday become King of Britain probably around 2050 (he might be minus Scotland and, who knows, Northern Ireland by then.)

That is unless he decides to become a Catholic, in which case he will lose his crown.

The Act of Settlement of 1701 was designed to secure the Protestant succession to the British throne.

The act was finally altered in 2013 to allow the future king to marry a Catholic, but he cannot become one himself.

Nor could his first born, if he wanted to, succeed to the throne even though, no doubt, the Vatican would insist the children be raised Catholic.

The decision by the British government to allow their monarch to marry a Catholic is only 400 years or so long in coming.

Up until the decision the monarch would absolutely lose the throne if a papist was his/her consort.

Just a papist mind you. Marriage to a Hindu, Muslim or Jew was not considered disqualifying. 

It was a remarkable piece of discrimination that lasted centuries and was originally brought in after Henry VIII dumped the church to create his own.

Henry famously established his church on the basis of his need to get married, seeking a son and heir, and a non-compliant Catholic Church interfered with his plans.

But the monarch himself/herself can never become a Catholic as that conflicts with their role as head of the Church of England.

Which really makes England a theocracy more than a monarchy in some ways.

It is still a country where its people are subjects, not citizens.

And while the massive PR offensive behind the latest royal prince is in full flow, the reality is that an ugly piece of discrimination is still on the books.

It clearly means that the king or queen has to be an Anglican and will lose his/her crown if they decide to suddenly become a Catholic.

It means the first born child can not be baptized Catholic even if the mother and father wished it. if they want to succeed to the throne.

Which is outright religious discrimination.

The Vatican always seeks for a child of a mixed marriage couple to be brought up a Catholic.

It could lead too an extraordinary stand-off between church and state at some point in the future.

Which seems ridiculous in this day and age.

The new royal faces a privileged life and will have all the trappings of power, but there is no mistaking the reality that clear discrimination is at the heart of the British royal family.