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Prince Andrew to Carry Out Royal Duties on Behalf of King Charles Despite Public Backlash

The disgraced Duke will keep his role as Counsellor of State under his brother, King Charles III.

Credit: Alessia Pierdomenico / Frederic Legrand both via ShutterStock

The disgraced Duke is one of the King’s five Counsellors of State, which means he can temporarily step in on behalf of the King should he fall ill.

Counselors of state have been a long-standing tradition. Under the 1937 Regency Act, King Charles III must appoint five Counsellors of State to stand in for him should he fall ill, become unable to travel, or go overseas.

According to the act, passed the year after George VI came to the throne, Counsellors of State include the spouse of the king or queen and the next four people in line to the throne who are over 21.

It means that for King Charles, the Counsellors of State are his wife, the Queen Consort Camilla, his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, his brother Prince Andrew, and his niece Princess Beatrice.

Charle’s sister, Princess Anne, is excluded. When she was born, male heirs had first right to the throne over females – a rule known as male royal primogeniture.

Although the late Queen Elizabeth II overturned this law in 2013 when Prince William and his wife, Princess Katherine were expecting their first child. The Succession to the Crown Act, which gave women equal rights to men in the line of succession, only applies to those born after October 2011. As this law is retrospective, Anne, 71, misses out.

Prince Andrew with his late mother Queen Elizabeth II, and brother, newly-appointed King Charles III
Credit: Karl Weller / ShutterStock

However, many are not pleased with Prince Andrew’s selection, especially given his recent scandals, court case, and close ties to infamous child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York is no longer a working royal, having stepped back from public duties in November 2019 following backlash to his friendship with the convicted pedophile.

Prince Andrew served as Counsellor for State under his mother, his father Prince Phillip (until his death), brother Charles, and nephews William and Harry. But since his mother’s death last week, there has been fresh scrutiny of his status, a role which means he could temporarily deputize for his brother King Charles.

Critics have raised concerns about Prince Andrew resuming royal duties despite his high-profile fall from grace.

Since the Queen’s passing, her second son has adopted a more visible role in the past few days, which is expected to end following her state funeral on Monday.

On Monday 12th September, his presence was met with some criticism as one heckler shouted, “Andrew, you’re a sick old man” as he walked behind his mother’s coffin in Edinburgh.

Credit: @jrc1921 via Twitter

The 22-year-old man was subsequently arrested and charged with a “breach of the peace” on the Royal Mile.

What Is a Counsellor of State?

Should a monarch cannot undertake their official duties on a temporary basis, such as illness or absence abroad, Letters Patent appoints two or more counselors to act in their place.

By law, under the Regency Act 1937, Counsellors of State include the monarch’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21.

As new royals fill those requirements, they replace previous counselors.

However, there are several core constitutional functions that cannot be delegated, such as: dissolving parliament, the creation of peers and appointing a prime minister.

Who are the Current Counsellors of State?

Camilla, now Queen Consort, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and newly added Princess Beatrice (as of 8th September).

The Royal Family
Credit: Lorna Robert / ShutterStock

Andrew, who is currently 8th in line to the throne, has been in the role since 1981 when he turned 21.

Why Not Princess Anne?

As mentioned, the King’s sister cannot take on the role because of male primogeniture (male heirs took succession over female heirs even if they were younger), which applied when she was born.

Despite the passing of the Succession of the Crown Act in 2013, which gave women equal rights to the line of succession, Anne’s law is not applicable.

However, many feel that Princess Anne deserves the title, as she is continuously referred to as the “hardest working royal”, and has proven herself to be trustworthy and duty-bound.

Will the Rules Change?

In the past few years, there has been much debate about whether laws should be rewritten to give more freedom to the selection of Counsellors of State. However, it it not yet clear if this is something King Charles III wishes to consider.

It would require new legislation to be passed, allowing Anne to replace Andrew (as she is older), but with the new additions of Camilla and Beatrice, this could mean that it is less likely to be explored.

In addition, Harry could potentially be removed from the role as he is no longer classed as a working royal.

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Content Writer and freelance journalist with an MA in Creative Writing. Passionate about films, books and general media.

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