There may be changes in the rules
The law provides that the advisor of state is the monarch’s spouse and that the first four in the line of succession who are of full age (over 21) and domiciled in the UK can assume this responsibility. The successor becomes the counselor of the state from the age of 18. Since it is regulated by law, Parliament can make changes in it. In 1953, after Elizabeth II became Queen, the Regency Act 1953 made the Queen Mother an additional Counsel of State for the rest of her life. The death of her husband George VI in 1952 meant that she was no longer an advisor to the state, as she was no longer the emperor’s wife.
The late Queen’s extensive foreign travel (which led some newspapers to refer to her as the “Jet Age Queen” in the 1950s) meant that state counselors were often needed, and for most of her reign these were twice a year. Bars were appointed. His important place on the world stage would not have been possible without counselors from the state, ensuring that matters were taken care of by his side on the domestic front. During the first few decades of Elizabeth’s reign, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret often acted as advisers to the state. In 1974, high inflation, prolonged industrial disputes with miners and railroad workers, as well as concerns over oil supplies meant that politics reached a difficult period. With the Queen in New Zealand for the Commonwealth Games, the pair acted on government advice to declare a state of emergency. And when Prime Minister Edward Heath asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament via telegram, that too was done by the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
King Charles Challenges
Now that Charles III has become King, he is no longer the Counselor of the Kingdom. In this role are Camilla the Queen Consort, William the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex, Prince Andrew the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice. Two of these names are particularly controversial. Prince Andrew has not performed public duties since his controversial TV interview in 2019, and was stripped of his remaining military titles in early 2022 after he struck an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre. Prince Harry is no longer a senior royal member since he decided not to perform royal duties and stay in the US. He remains Counsel to the State as he maintains his British domicile while retaining the lease of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
Prince William will be responsible
Princess Beatrice has never performed public duties, and the Queen usually travels with the King. This means that in these circumstances, only Prince William can act as state counsel when the king travels abroad, when legally, two advisers would be required to perform the king’s duties. However, the king cannot easily change the advisors of the state. Their role is a matter of law, at least until Parliament passes a law to replace it. No such legislation has been proposed over the years, although royal commentator Robert Hardman suggested it was considered over the summer.
The turmoil in British politics with the death of the Queen has prevented any possible negotiations, it is expected that legislation will be made before the King travels abroad for any extended period. When the matter was taken up in the House of Lords in October, the government signaled that legislation was on the way. The question is, what form will this law take? One possibility would be to specifically remove Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice, with the next three taking their place in the line of succession. But that would include Princess Eugenie, who doesn’t even perform royal duties. In time, this will also include the children of Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex – Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn – who are unlikely to perform their public duties.
now what will be the solution
A better solution is to follow the Regency Act 1953, and specifically include more members of the Royal Family as state counselors, as was done with the Queen Mother. Those who perform royal duties, such as Prince Edward and Princess Anne, are obvious candidates. Having three active advisors to the kingdom would create the necessary flexibility so that Prince William, if he so desires, travels abroad on the same lines as the king.
The law may also consider adding the Princess of Wales as counsel to the state. In any case, when her husband becomes king she will be able to. This also raises the possibility that William and Catherine may work together, giving the country a glimpse of the next king and queen. The king’s reign has just begun, but given his age of 73, it is not too early to start thinking about the transition to the next reign.