- Change in law will allow the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex to stand in for the king
- Sources said the legislative move came after King requested the change
- Counselors of State may deputize for the monarch if she is on an official visit.
Peers have questioned the ‘curious’ decision to allow Princes Harry and Andrew to deputize for King Charles.
Counselors of state, who can deputize for the monarch if she is abroad on an official trip or ill, include the Duke of Sussex, who lives in California after stepping down as a working royal, and the disgraced Duke of York. Duke.
Meanwhile, a former courtier told Parliament a change in law to enable the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex to stand in for the king would ‘give the bench much needed strength and depth’.
Lord Genwyn, who served as private secretary to the late Queen between 1999 and 2007, made a football analogy against the backdrop of the World Cup as peers debated the Councilors of State Bill, which is being fast-tracked at Westminster .
The legislative move comes after the king requested the change, as he marked his 74th birthday, to ‘ensure the continued efficiency of public business while I am unavailable’.
A change in law to enable the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex to stand in for the King. From right to left: Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and Princess Anne, The Princess Royal
Provisions for counselors are made under the Regency Act 1937 to 1953 and those who can currently stand in for Charles include the Queen Consort and the four most senior adults in the line of succession – the Prince of Wales, Harry, Andrew and Princess Beatrice Huh.
The bill would add Anne and Edward to the list, but stop the removal of Andrew and Harry.
However, the House of Lords heard that only ‘working members’ of the Royal Family would be called upon to act as Counselors of State.
Speaking on the bill’s second reading, Lord Jenwyn, an independent crossbencher, said: ‘The current pool of working members of the Royal Family who are qualified and available to become Counselors of State is, for reasons that are little known.
‘Besides the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal makes pretty good practical sense.
‘If I can, when many minds are on football, it will give much-needed strength and depth to the bench.’
The theme was continued by fellow crossbencher and chief counsel Lord Panick, who told the upper chamber in reference to Harry and Andrew: ‘It is a curious feature of this Bill to retain two people on the team sheet who are not going to play either. Huh. Took part in the match, but of course I understand why.
He called on the government to review existing arrangements ‘to see whether they are fit for the modern world’.
The legislative move comes after the king requested the change as he celebrated his 74th birthday
Welcoming the bill, Labor peer Lord Berkeley said: ‘It is very necessary to ensure that the machinery of government can continue while the monarch is abroad or unwell.’
But questioning the position of the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex, he said: “In the context of this Bill, it substantially adds two more members, so possibly it could also exclude two members, which I would suggest.” that they are no longer working members”
Baroness Jones, Moulscombe’s Green Party colleague, said: ‘It seems ridiculous that we still have this system.’
She said: ‘It is so insignificant to the lives of the vast majority of people who are struggling to live and work at the moment.’
Labor peer Viscount Stansgate, son of the late left-wing firebrand Tony Benn, said: ‘This is an essential Bill and it must be passed. It is also the case that we know why it is necessary.
‘The monarch may not always be available to perform his duties and according to a centuries-long tradition and more recently established in law others are appointed from within the royal household to assist the sovereign. Has gone.’
Counselors of state, who can deputize for the monarch if she is abroad on an official trip or ill, include the Duke of Sussex, who lives in California after stepping down as a working royal, and the disgraced Duke of York. Duke
But he added: ‘I think there are many people in this country who will find this current list a bizarre mix.’
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Newby said: ‘The British constitution is a very strange beast and this Bill shines a light on one of its darkest corners.
‘How many people in the general public know that there are such things as Counselors of State? How many people could take his name and if they heard who he was, how many would think that this was a sensible existing system?’
On the Bill, he said: ‘It lifts us out of a hole which would be a good idea to fill.’
Baroness Smith of Basildon, Labor leader in the Lords, said: ‘I can think of no more suitable member of the royal household to take these two positions as Additional Counselors of State.’
Lord Privy Seal Lord True told peers: ‘This Bill represents a practical solution and safeguard to ensure that the machinery of government can continue.’
He insisted: ‘The royal household has confirmed that in practice working members of the royal family – working members – will be called upon to act as counselors of state and diary arrangements will be made to make this practical.’
The bill underwent a second reading and plans to complete its remaining stages on Wednesday before going to the Commons.
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