King Charles has asked Parliament to consider adding new Counsellors of State to the list of people who can act on his behalf.
His Majesty has said he would like his sister, The Princess Royal, and his brother, Prince Edward, to fulfil the duty as well.
In a letter, The King said ‘’To ensure continued efficiency of public business when I’m unavailable, such as while I’m undertaking official duties overseas, I confirm that I would be most content should Parliament see fit for the number of people who may be called upon to act as Counsellors of State under the terms of The Regency acts 1937 to 1963 to be increased to include my sister and brother, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex and Forfar. Both of whom have previously undertaken this role.’’
Counsellors of State undertake certain duties for the Monarch when they are unable to – such as when they are overseas or temporarily unwell. Two Counsellors of State must act together – the role can’t be exercised individually. The current rules stipulate that the Monarch’s spouse and the first four adults in the line of succession may take up the role. Currently, that means that Queen Camilla can be a Counsellor of State along with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice.
All five of those people would still be able to exercise the function, if The King’s request is granted, but Princess Anne and Prince Edward would also be able to take up the role.
There has been concern that the current list is too limited. The majority – three of the five – aren’t working royals. The Duke of Sussex lives in the United States while the Duke of York has withdrawn from public life following a court case.