On Monday, King Charles III kicked off the process of having his only sister, 72, and youngest brother, 58, become Counsellors of State. These royal representatives can stand in for the monarch in official duties if he is abroad or unwell.
The positions typically belong to the monarch's spouse, followed by the first four people in the line of succession over the age of 21. Currently, those are Queen Camilla, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice, Andrew's eldest daughter.
Both Princess Anne and Prince Edward were previously Counsellors of State before they were overtaken in the line of succession to the throne. Prince Edward is currently 13th while Princess Anne is 16th, having moved down in the order as King Charles and Prince Andrew had children and grandchildren.
Because Harry, 38, and Andrew, 62, are no longer senior working royals, members of the British Parliament recently pointed out that their status as Counsellors of State could create a conflict of interest if deputies were needed to act on behalf of the King.
To that end, Charles, 74, pitched that Anne and Edward be added as Counsellors of State, increasing the list of people in the role to six. The request was read and approved in the House of Lords on Monday, the BBC reported, making way for a Counsellors of State Bill to eventually amend the Regency Act.
According to the outlet, the "fast-tracked move" is "intended to resolve an awkward constitutional problem" if it were to arise. With King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton expected to spend time abroad next year, "counsellors could be a necessity when they are away."
King Charles' request was also read in the House of Commons, specifying that the addition of more people in the role would "ensure continued efficiency of public business when I'm unavailable, such as while I'm undertaking official duties overseas."
The shakeup comes following the accession of Charles as King following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September.
James Manning- WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince Andrew and Prince Harry
At the end of her reign, the late Queen's Counsellors of State were then-Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew. Though time had passed — Harry stepped back as a senior working royal and relocated to California in 2020, and Andrew was stripped of his military titles and patronages due to his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in January 2022 — they remained Counsellors of State to the Queen. Public pressure to make a change increased after she fought COVID in February, The Independent reported.