King Charles III has personally asked the UK Parliament to add his siblings, Princess Anne – Princess Royal, and Prince Edward – the Earl of Wessex, to the list of people who can act as his deputies for official royal duties.
Charles stated on Monday, as he celebrated his 74th birthday, which was read to the House of Lords to state he would be “most content” if his sister and brother could become “Counsellors of State” – effectively the monarch’s stand-ins at events.
This will mean amending the UK’s Regency Act, which at present stipulates that Counsellors are the spouse of the monarch plus the next four royals in succession to the throne, who are over the age of 21.
The Counsellors are made up of King Charles’ wife Camilla – the Queen Consort, and Prince William – the Prince of Wales.
Two other senior royals are no longer “working royals” after the King’s younger son Prince Harry – the Duke of Sussex stepped back from frontline royalty and his younger brother Prince Andrew – the Duke of York, relinquished of his duties following a legal settlement of a sex scandal.
However, rather than remove them from the list of Counsellors of State, the King has decided to widen the pool of eligible royals.
The government is likely to introduce legislation in the House of Commons following the Lord’s reply, with a Counsellors of State Bill paving the way for the King’s proposal for two extra working substitutes. The Counsellors step in to fulfil the duties of the Head of State if the monarch is travelling or unwell or otherwise unable to attend.
In the House of Lords, Lord Parker of Minsmere delivered the statement from the King, which said that adding the extra Counsellors would “ensure the continued efficiency of public business when I’m unavailable, such as while I’m undertaking official duties overseas”.
The message was also delivered to the House of Commons, with Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt telling MPs there would be legislation to follow.
Both Princess Anne and Prince Edward have previously been Counsellors of State, before being overtaken in the order of succession. It is seen as the King, who succeeded his late mother Queen Elizabeth II in September, making a practical change as he prepares for overseas trips in the new year.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)