Change of law coming to allow Anne and Edward to stand in for the King

Split image. Left image: Princess Anne. Right image: Prince Edward.
King Charles wishes to name Princess Anne and Prince Edward as stand-ins for himself. Credit: PA

Prince Harry and Prince Andrew will be sidelined as stand-ins for the King after the House of Lords confirmed it will seek to change the law.

This morning, members of the Lords replied to the King to tell him they will "without delay" look at amending the Regency Acts so the monarch’s sister, Princess Anne, and his youngest brother, Prince Edward, can deputise for him in his absence.

A small number of senior royals can be called upon to act as counsellors of state, effectively standing in for the sovereign when he, or she, is away or otherwise incapacitated.

Counsellors of state are limited to the spouse of the monarch, currently Camilla, the Queen Consort, and the next four in the line of succession who are over 21 years of age.

Right now, those four are Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice.

But, for different and well-documented reasons, both Prince Andrew and Prince Harry are no longer working members of the royal family - even though they retain their place in the line of succession.

Yesterday, the King sent a message to the upper chamber of Parliament asking that "the number of people who may be called upon to act as counsellors of state … be increased".

The King said "should Parliament see fit" he would like the Regency Acts to be amended "to include my sister and brother, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex and Forfar, both of whom have previously undertaken this role".

MPs in the House of Commons vote to approve King Charles' request to amend the Regency Act to the next stage of its journey through Parliament

Princess Anne was a counsellor of state from 1971 to 2003 and Prince Edward from 1985 to 2005, before they were replaced by Prince William and then Prince Harry when they turned 21.

Buckingham Palace is keen to get the changes made before the King’s first overseas tour.

He is likely to travel with the Queen Consort so the counsellor of state role would then be taken up by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, even though Harry lives on the west coast of the USA.

If Prince William were to be away at the same time as his father, Prince Andrew would be called upon to stand in for the King, despite leaving the royal family over his friendship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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Royal insiders stress that Harry and Andrew are not being removed from the list, rather it is being expanded to include the late Queen’s other children, Anne and Edward.

Today, both the House of Lords and House of Commons agreed a Humble Address - which is the name of the formal communication from the either house of parliament to the Monarch.

In the Lords, the Humble Address said they will “without delay, proceed to discuss this important matter and will provide such measures as may appear necessary or expedient for securing the purpose set out by His Majesty".

The amendments to the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953 will be suggested by government and then the legislation will be passed to the House of Commons and House of Lords for approval.