In a majestic moment for gender equality, female members of the British royal family were on Friday granted the same rights as males to ascend to the British throne. The 16 Commonwealth nations that acknowledge Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch announced that male heirs will no longer take precedence over their sisters in succession.The changes mean that, regardless of gender, any first-born child of Kate Middleton (photo) and Prince William, currently second in line to become king after his father, would eventually become the monarch. The historic reform overturns a 300-year rule stating that first-born sons inherit the British throne. The only way for a woman to ascend to the throne, as Queen Elizabeth did in 1952, had been if the previous monarch had no sons. The Commonwealth leaders also scrapped the rule barring a potential monarch from marrying a Catholic, although the monarch will remain head of the Church of England. … Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, who appeared on stage Wednesday night with a black eye and bruises, said it was Montezuma’s revenge. A show planned for Tuesday in Paraguay had to be postponed a night after Tyler collapsed in his hotel-room shower, knocking out two front teeth and cutting his eye, among other things. “Quite frankly, I passed out,” the singer told Matt Lauer by phone Thursday on the “Today” show. “I was in the shower and I got nauseous and I started to get sick and I just, I fell on my face and I just passed out.” However, pictures of him looking battered onstage Wednesday sparked talk that the “American Idol” judge, who got out of rehab early last year, might be back on drugs. Tyler told Lauer that he understands why people might think that. “It still bothers me a little bit, but that’s something I have to deal with the rest of my life,” but said no drugs were involved, just food poisoning.
Names in the news, Oct. 29
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