The shameful outdated laws that will NOT allow Princess Anne to stand in for King Charles
The inclusion of Andrew and the omission of Anne has sparked a discussion over whether the rules should be changed
LONDON, UK: An archaic law that is still in place would allow Prince Andrew to step in for King Charles and perform royal duties but not Princess Anne.
The role of Counsellor of State is automatically granted to the four royals next in the line of succession who are older than 21, aside from the monarch's spouse. The five people who currently have the authority to represent the King are Queen Consort Camilla, Princes William, Harry, Andrew, and his eldest daughter, Princess Beatrice. There has been some backlash to the appointment of Andrew, who was stripped of his royal titles in 2020 amid sex abuse allegations that he vehemently denies. However, it wasn't Charles's choice considering the King is bound by the Regency Act of 1937, and only parliament has the power to amend the legislation.
Now, the inclusion of Andrew and the omission of Princess Anne has sparked a discussion over whether the rules should be changed so the Princess Royal can serve as one of the Counsellors. Anne, who was named the "hardest working royal" last year for taking 387 official engagements, did not qualify for the position due to a rule known as "male royal primogeniture", which gives female royals fewer succession rights. In 2013, the late Queen overturned the rule under the Succession to the Crown Act, thereby granting equal succession rights to women. However, the order was not implemented retroactively. It's worth noting that Princess Anne is 16th in line for the throne.
Speaking to iNews, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said it was the perfect time to consider a "radical rethink" in parliament about how Counsellors of State are chosen. "What it needs is a radical rethink, in my view, what you need is someone like the Princess Royal or the Earl and Countess of Wessex," he told the newspaper. "I would have thought that was a more practical solution to this because they're all senior working royals and there is no controversy to them in any way. I would have thought that in the coming period, this was an opportunity to actually assess how the counsellors of state are chosen."
King Charles faced backlash after news about the appointments emerged, despite the fact that he was bound by the Regency Act. The critics did not, however, consider that Andrew had remained a Counsellor of State even during the late Queen's reign, despite stepping back from royal duties and being stripped of his titles and patronages.
That said, the title doesn't necessarily mean Princes Andrew or Harry will ever be called upon to act on behalf of the King. According to the rules, the five chosen royals can carry out most official duties of the monarch barring a few key decisions. According to the Daily Mail, the counsellors are not permitted to deal with Commonwealth matters, appoint a prime minister, or dissolve a parliament unless they receive a direct order from the King.
The limits of the special role were established by King George VI in the Regency Act of 1937 after he ascended the throne in 1936. William is most likely to be tasked with carrying out such duties considering he's next in line to the throne. It's worth noting that the last time Counsellors of State were called upon to represent the monarch was in May this year at the Opening of Parliament. Then-Prince Charles and his son represented the late monarch at the time to read the traditional Queen's Speech.