The Royal Family are currently facing a “constitutional headache” due to the absence of Prince Harry as a working royal, as he can no longer carry out his duty as Counsellor of State. Under the current royal constitution, four members of the family are entitled to be ‘Counsellors of State’, meaning that they can carry out engagements on behalf of the Queen if she is unwell. As he is no longer living in the UK, this position could be reassigned to Princess Beatrice, who is next in line to the throne after her father, Prince Andrew.
Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London and the author of Monarchy And The Constitution, said: “A Counsellor not domiciled in the UK cannot act, so that excludes Harry.
“The next in line and over the required age of 21 would be Princess Beatrice.
“However, most of the functions of the Head of State can be devolved.
“It is not, for example, constitutionally necessary for the Queen to attend the State Opening of Parliament.”
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Express.co.uk contacted Buckingham Palace but they declined to comment.
The current counsellors are Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, chosen because they are the four next in line to the throne and at least over the age of 18.
As well as Prince Harry, Prince Andrew’s position is in doubt after he stepped away from public duties in 2019 after sexual abuse allegations were made against him in the US.
According to the MailOnline, palace aides are also considering elevating Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, into the group of elite top royals.
In recent years, she has taken on a greater role within the Royal Family, and has massively increased her popularity with the British public since marrying Prince Charles in 2005.
A source close to the Palace told the MailOnline: “This is a constitutional headache. With an ageing monarch there are talks about what will happen if the Queen is unable to work for some reason.
“You can’t have Andrew and Harry do it and Charles and William are extremely busy.”
Counsellors of State have previously played a crucial role in the running of the monarchy. In 1974, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret stepped in to approve the dissolvement of Ted Heath’s Government, whilst the Queen and Prince Philip were away on tour in New Zealand.
Princess Beatrice is currently tenth in the line of succession, and whilst she is not classed as a working royal and does not receive an allowance from the Sovereign Grant, she still maintains a relationship with a number of charities and has accompanied the Queen to official engagements.
She is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at software company Afiniti and resides in St James’s Palace with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and their baby daughter, Sienna Elizabeth.
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The Queen is currently resting at Windsor Castle under medical advice, after she fell ill on October 20.
After leading a busy month of royal engagements, she was forced to cancel a trip to Northern Ireland at the last minute and it was subsequently revealed that she had spent the evening in hospital.
Buckingham Palace then announced that she had “regretfully” decided against travelling to Glasgow for the COP26 summit, where had been due to attend a diplomatic reception on November 1.
Her illness is not Covid-related and she is currently undertaking “light desk-based duties” from Windsor and has cancelled her engagements for the next two weeks.
Palace officials however made it clear that it was her “firm intention” to attend the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph on November 14.
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