Princess Anne and Prince Edward: Proposed as Counselors of State

King Charles III (74) has begun to increase the number of people who can represent the monarch in official functions.

Princess Anne and Prince Edward: Proposed as Counselors of State

King Charles III (74) has begun to increase the number of people who can represent the monarch in official functions. He has proposed his sister Princess Anne (72) and youngest brother Prince Edward (58) as additional Counselors of State.

Currently, the Councilors of State are King's wife Camilla (75), heir to the throne Prince William (40), his brother Prince Harry (38), Charles' other brother Prince Andrew (62) and his daughter Princess Beatrice (34). Two of those, Andrew and Harry, are no longer available as working royals but are expected to remain on the list.

The change requested by the King was read to the House of Lords on Monday, the new monarch's 74th birthday. As the "BBC" further reports, it is expected that the Lords will respond on Tuesday. The government could table a bill in the House of Commons later that day, paving the way for the King's proposal for two additional working deputies.

This swift move in Parliament seeks to resolve a thorny constitutional issue of who can represent the king when he is abroad or unwell and unable to perform his duties as head of state.

Currently, two of the five are effectively barred: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has largely retired from royal duties over his alleged connection to US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (1953-2019). And Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, lives in the United States with his family and has voluntarily retired from the role of senior royal.

Rather than removing them from the Council of State list, it has been proposed that the royal circle be expanded so that the de facto unavailability of Prince Andrew and Prince Harry is no longer an issue. This would mean changing the Regency Act, which currently provides that the monarch's spouse and the next four over-21s in the line of succession to the throne are Counselors of State.

Both Princess Anne and Prince Edward were Councilors of State before they were overtaken in the line of succession.

The Counselors of State may perform official duties such as opening Parliament, signing documents, receiving ambassadors, or attending Privy Council meetings when the monarch is temporarily ill or abroad.

The King and Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to be traveling abroad over the next year, so representatives may be necessary during their absence.

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