ThePrincess Royalcannot act in the King’s place if he is ill or overseas, despite the fact that her younger brother theDuke of York , and his eldest daughterPrincess Beatricecan.
The only people who are able to act in the King’s place are theQueen Consort, the new Prince of Wales, theDukes of Sussexand York, and Princess Beatrice.
Other than the Queen Consort, these individuals all have the role ofCounsellor of State, which is a title that is automatically bestowed upon the four royals next in the line of succession who are older than 21.
UnderQueen Elizabeth II, the newKing Charles, as Prince of Wales, held this role.
Despite being older than her brother Andrew, 72 year old Anne is lower down in the line of succession due to the archaic rule of male-preference primogeniture.
This meant that even if the monarch’s eldest was a girl, if she had sons they would leapfrog their sister in the line of succession.
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This was changed in 2011, when the nowPrincess of Waleswas pregnant, and now a woman's place in the line of succession will not change if she has younger brothers. However, the alteration was not applied retroactively.
Many have criticised the fact that Prince Andrew continues to hold this position in spite of the revelation of his connections and friendship with the convicted paedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Earlier this year the disgraced Princesettled a civil case with Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that the he sexually assaulted her when she was trafficked by Epstein. Andrew has vehemently denied the claim.
While Andrew has publicly attended events following the death of his mother, once the mourning period is over he is expected to once again step back from royal duties and disappear from public life.
Many have suggested that Princess Anne, who was last year named 'hardest working royal' for taking 387 official engagements in 2021, should hold the role of Counsellor of State.
However, while people have criticised King Charles for this appointment, it turns out it isn’t actually the monarch’s fault.
As King he is bound to the Regency Act 1937, which determines how Counsellors of State are chosen.
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This act can only be overturned by parliament, and not be the monarch themselves.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams toldinews.co.uk that now would be the perfect time to have a “radical rethink” in parliament over how Counsellors of State are chosen.
He says: “What it needs is a radical rethink, in my view, what you need is someone like the Princess Royal or the Earl and Countess of Wessex.”
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