Sons and daughters of any future UK monarch will have equal right to the throne, after Commonwealth leaders agreed to change succession laws.
The leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state unanimously approved the changes at a summit in Perth, Australia.
It means a first-born daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will take precedence over younger brothers.
The ban on the monarch being married to a Roman Catholic was also lifted.
Under the old succession laws, dating back more than 300 years, the heir to the throne is the first-born son of the monarch. Only when there are no sons, as in the case of the Queen's father George VI, does the crown pass to the eldest daughter.Announcing the changes had been passed, Prime Minister David Cameron said they would apply to descendents of the Prince of Wales. They will not be applied retrospectively.
"Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen," he said.
"The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic - this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we have become."
Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said it was an extraordinary moment: "I'm very enthusiastic about it. You would expect the first Australian woman prime minister to be very enthusiastic about a change which equals equality for women in a new area."
On scrapping the ban on future monarch's marrying Roman Catholics, Mr Cameron said: "Let me be clear, the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England because he or she is the head of that Church. But it is simply wrong they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so. After all, they are already quite free to marry someone of any other faith."
In her opening speech to the summit, the Queen did not directly mention the royal succession laws, but said women should have a greater role in society.
"It encourages us to find ways to show girls and women to play their full part," she said.
The BBC's royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, said this was a hint that the Queen herself backed the change.
The Queen will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee next year and there are already two generations of kings-in-waiting - Prince Charles and his son Prince William.
The royal author Robert Hardman said there had been 11 attempts in recent years by individual MPs and peers to change the succession laws.
The laws are not a matter for the 54-nation Commonwealth as a whole, only for the 16 countries which have the Queen as their head of state, known as realms.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) are held every two years, and present an opportunity for the 54 nations with current or former ties to Britain to discuss a range of issues.
The CHOGM summit will also discuss economic growth, climate change and human rights at this year's meeting.
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