King Charles seeks to change the law on who can act as an official replacement

King Charles seeks to change the law on who can act as an official replacement

King Charles II - AFP

King Charles II – AFP

The king wants the law to be changed so that councilors of state are active members of the royal family, according to the Telegraph.

The move would see the Duke of York, the Duke of Sussex and Princess Beatrice all relieved of their duties as the ruler’s official replacements if he were indisposed.

Under the Regency Act of 1937, a monarch’s spouse and four subsequent adults in line to the throne can be employed as councilors of state for official affairs.

When Queen Elizabeth was still on the throne, those roles were filled by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York, while the Duke of Edinburgh had also acted as such before his death.

The change in the line of succession means that the new queen consort now has the right to be a councilor of state, as does Princess Beatrice as the next adult in the line.

Buckingham Palace has long been under pressure to expel Prince Harry and Prince Andrew from their roles and install other working family members in their place.

The king is believed to recognize the incongruity of having a trio of non-working royalty able to put themselves in his shoes whether he is overseas or unable.

The Earl of Wessex and the Royal Princess could take on the role

It is thought to take the necessary steps to change the law as soon as possible, raising the prospect that the Earl of Wessex and the royal princess may be elevated to the position.

This move may be part of a broader redefinition of real workers and non-workers.

As such, if not determined solely by line of succession as is currently the case, the Princess of Wales may also be included.

State councilors are seldom called, but not unprecedented.

In May, then Prince Charles and Prince William attended the opening of the state parliament on behalf of the late queen, opening the new session after being deployed in her stead.

Then Prince Charles and then the Prince of Wales during the opening of the state parliament - AFP

Then Prince Charles and then the Prince of Wales during the opening of the state parliament – AFP

To be constitutionally sound it was necessary to have two councilors.

Any legislative changes should be enacted by the Houses of Parliament.

In the past, MPs have made changes to the Regency Act in response to a formal “message from the queen,” asking MPs to consider particular amendments.

In 1953, the monarch proposed to include a provision ensuring that if a son of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh ascended the throne before he turned 18, Prince Philip would become regent.

The amendments were presented in Parliament as a new Regency Act, by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, the then Minister of the Interior.

The move prompted John McGovern, a Labor MP, to complain that “members are seen as robots to carry out the will of the monarchy whenever change is desired.” Approval has also been requested by Commonwealth countries.

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