The royal family has had a bit of a shift in recent years, after Prince Harry left the royal family to set up life in America in 2020, though it has been rumoured he may return to London. While Prince Andrew who was stripped of his HRH titles and stepped down from royal engagements following the sex assault claims made against him by Virginia Giuffre, which have since been settled with a financial agreement out of court.
Currently there are four members of the royal family who can step in for the Queen, including Prince Charles and Prince William, who presented the Queen’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament earlier this week in Her Majesty’s absence. Prince Harry and Prince Andrew are also included in the line up, but now they are no longer working royals, combined with the fact Harry does not reside in the UK, is reportedly problematic if a stand-in for the Queen is needed.
Royal experts have claimed this is “dangerous” for the Queen, and other royals should be considered to replace the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex to stick to the status quo and deputise for Her Majesty.
Under the Regency Act the 96-year-old royal is allowed to appoint Counsellors of State to carry out duties on behalf of the sovereign. The Counsellors of State include the sovereign’s spouse, who would have been the late Prince Philip, who tragically passed away in April last year, and the next four in line to the throne – as long as they are over the age of 21.
With two members of the royal family to call on, the Queen has been urged to decide on the fifth Counsellor of State.
Speaking to the i royal expert, Richard Fitzwilliams, said: “The dangerous point is the Counsellors of State, there’s Charles and William but there’s also Harry and Andrew.”
Although Fitzwilliams believes it is “most unlikely” the latter will be relied on “given the exceptional circumstances”.
He continued: “The most sensible thing to do would be to add an extra one.”
Although Prince Harry and Prince Andrew are not currently working members of the royal family, to remove them as a named Counsellor would mean new legislation is required.
It has been claimed if a new Counsellor of State was added to the line-up, it would most likely be Princess Beatrice, then Princess Eugenie, as they are the next adults in the line of succession.
However, there have been no changes as yet.