Princes Andrew and Harry will not stand in for the King even if he is too ill to perform his duties, the Royal Family has confirmed. Members of the House of Lords were today told this measure will act as a “practical solution and safeguard to ensure that the machinery of government can continue”.
Buckingham Palace has told the Government that when Charles III is abroad, or should he become too ill to perform his duties, non-working members of the Royal Family will not be called up to fill in.
Instead, only working members of the family will be expected to act as Counsellors of State.
Discussing a new Bill, the Lord Privy Seal today told Parliament’s upper house: “The functions Counsellors of State undertake can include, for example, indicating assent to legislation, formally approving appointments, and providing authority for the affixing of the Great Seal to documents, such as royal proclamations. The role can also include convening Privy Council meetings where necessary.
“The Bill represents a practical solution and safeguard to ensure that the machinery of government can continue.
“The Royal Household has confirmed that, in practice, working members – I repeat that – of the Royal Family will be called upon to act as Counsellors of State, and that diaries will be arranged to make this practicable.”
Both Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Anne, Princess Royal, have been added to the list of those who may be called upon to act as Councillor of State.
The Lord Privy Seal said: “They will undertake those roles for their lifetimes.
“By doing so, the Bill will provide greater resilience in our constitutional arrangements by widening the pool of Counsellors of State.”
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“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”
The Duke of Sussex later, in January 2020, followed suit, citing the desire of himself and his wife, Meghan Markle, to “work to become financially independent”.
Commenting on the new Bill, Labour’s Viscount Stansgate said: “This is a necessary Bill, and it should pass. It is also the case that we know why it is necessary.”
He also described the current list of people who can be called up to act as Counsellors of State – including Princes Andrew and Harry – as a “curious mixture”.
Others commended the addition of the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal to the royal list.