Harry and Andrew effectively out as Counsellors of State – Anne and Edward to be honoured

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Prince Harry and Prince Andrew have both been relegated as King Charles officially replaces them as counsellors of state. Traditionally, the counsellors of state are able to stand in for the monarch on official duties. Currently, there are a number of royals holding the position, including Camilla, the Queen Consort, and both the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York. But with Harry and Andrew stepping down as working royals, this leaves the King with a limited selection of counsellors.

As such, the King has formally requested the change, with the request being read to the House of Lords in November. It specified that Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, should be added as extra substitutes.

The Counsellors of State Bill has now passed through both houses and is now awaiting Royal Assent.

It will mean both Princess Anne and Prince Edward can step in for their brother, the King, for formal duties.

This fast-tracked move in Parliament is intended to resolve an awkward constitutional problem about who could deputise for the King if he was not available to carry out his duties as head of state.

As it stands, the current counsellors are Camilla, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and his daughter Princess Beatrice.

Counsellors can carry out official duties which could include the state opening of Parliament, signing documents, receiving ambassadors or attending Privy Council meetings, if the monarch is temporarily ill or abroad.

In October the issue was raised in the House of Lords, with Labour peer Viscount Stansgate challenging how Prince Andrew and Prince Harry could be two of the five replacements when one had “left public life” and the other had “left the country”.

Viscount Stansgate welcomed the planned change and called for it to be enacted quickly.



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