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Edward and Princess Anne to step up as ‘counsellors of state’ as Harry and Andrew out

This Morning: Hosts discuss who will take over Queen's duties

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The Queen’s children, Anne and Edward may be given the roles amid the Queen’s recent health scare. By law, Counsellors of State include the Sovereign’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21. Counsellors of State are authorised to carry out most of the official duties of the Sovereign, for example, attending Privy Council meetings, signing routine documents and receiving the credentials of new ambassadors to the United Kingdom.

Under current rules, Princes Charles, Andrew, William and Harry are classed as ‘Counsellors of State.”

This requires them to step in if the Queen is unable to perform her duties “due to illness or absence abroad”.

Prince Andrew retired from royal duties last year as he continues to deny sex abuse claims that are currently in court.

Prince Harry stepped down as a working royal in January 2020, and now lives in the United States, meaning he can no longer undertake the role of counsellor. 

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Former politician Gyles Brandreth discussed who will take over the Queen’s duties on This Morning.

He said: “Camilla is already doing much more than she used to do, she is reguarly standing in for the Queen.”

“This issue is to do with Counsellors of State. If they Queen is unable to fulfil her duties, a Counsellor of State has to do it.”

“There are currently four, Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York.”

“The Duke of Sussex is away, the Duke of York is lying low. If Prince Charles is out of the country, for example he will be in Egypt and Jordan in a couple of weeks time, and Prince William isn’t available, I suspect they could include Princess Anne or Princess Edward.”

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Dr Craig Prescott, a constitutional expert at Bangor University, said: “The Counsellors of State are a Plan B from a constitutional point of view, but what happens when Plan B isn’t quite ideal?”

“The Queen may look to add the Duchess of Cornwall, who would become a Counsellor of State when Charles is King anyway.”

“Or they could go down the line to Princesses Beatrice or Eugenie, or add more members of the family, like Princess Anne or Prince Edward to the list.”

The concern comes after it was announced that the Queen is under doctor’s orders to rest for two weeks amid a recent health scare. 

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The 95-year-old sovereign spent a night in a London hospital earlier this month while she underwent “preliminary tests.”

She has cancelled a handful of engagements that have sparked worry throughout the UK. 

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