12/07/2012 03:41 pm ET Updated Jul 19, 2013

Table Talk: Kate Middleton's Pregnancy And The British Monarchy

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

There was big news from the UK this week: Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, is pregnant!

We don’t know when the royal couple's baby is due yet -- nor, of course, its gender or potential name -- but the news is already generating excitement around the world.

Kate and William's son or daughter will be third in line to the British throne. In centuries past, women could only take the throne if there were no men in the line of succession -- so for example, if a king and queen had two daughters and a younger son, the son would automatically take power after his father, even though his sisters were born first. As of last October, however, the laws have changed to allow the first child of a royal couple -- boy or girl -- to take the throne.

Even though British kings and queens no longer have complete political control -- the government is run by a Prime Minister and Parliament -- they are public and ceremonial figures who attract attention from all over the world. Tonight, let's talk about what royalty means in 2012 -- and why it's important that men and women are finally seen as equally fit to rule.

Questions for discussion:
  • Why do you think it took so long for the UK to change its rules about who can take the throne?
  • Which famous kings and queens have you heard of from history, books or movies?
  • Are kings and queens important in the modern age, even if they don’t have political power?

In her recent cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.



Kate Middleton's 2012 Outfits