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Prince Andrew’s role means that he could replace King Charles

Even before the queen’s death, there were questions about what role – if any – Prince Andrew would play in public life after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

The Duke of York is no longer an acting king who retired from public duties in November 2019 after opposing his friendship with a convicted pedophile.

But since his mother’s death last week, his status as adviser of state has been reexamined, meaning he could temporarily replace his brother King Charles.

Prince Andrzej will continue to act as state adviser

(Martin Meissner / PA)

Critics have raised concerns that Prince Andrew is returning to royal duties despite his high-profile fall from grace.

Below we take a look at the position and its meaning to the disgraced prince.

Who is a state councilor?

In the event that a monarch is temporarily unable to perform his official duties as sovereign due to illness or absence abroad, two or more advisers are appointed by the Patent Letters to act in their stead.

By law, under the Regency Act of 1937, the state advisers are the spouse of the sovereign and another four in the line of succession who are over 21 years old.

When new members of the royal family meet these requirements, they replace existing advisers.

After the queen’s death, control of the role was resumed

(Getty’s Pictures)

Which members of the royal family are advisers?

Camilla, now Queen Consort, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and the newly added Princess Beatrice are current state advisers as of September 8.

Andrew, who is now eighth to the throne, has been serving this role since 1981 when he turned 21, so this is not a new position.

Therefore, his brother Charles did not appoint an appointment after his ascension to cast, despite claims to the contrary.

Prince Andrew’s daughter, Princess Beatrice, became the newly appointed state councilor

(Owen Humphreys / PA)

Why not Princess Anna?

The king’s sister, Princess Anna, could not play this role because of a principle called “male primogeniture” which was in place at the time of her birth and meant that male heirs had a right to the throne of women, even if they were younger.

The Crown Succession Act changed this in 2013 to give women equal rights with men in the line of succession, however the new rules only apply to people born after October 28, 2011.

Princess Anne has been called the “hardest working royal” because of the number of events she attends

(Stuart Wallace / Shutterstock)

Will the rules change?

There has been debate in the past as to whether the rules should be redrafted to allow greater freedom of choice for state advisers, but it is not yet clear if this is something King Charles III is considering.

It would require the adoption of new legislation that would allow Anne to replace Andrew – but the new inclusion of Camilla and Beatrice may mean that it is less likely to investigate this route.

Harry could also potentially be removed from the role as he lives in the US and is no longer a working royal.

Camilla, the queen consort, automatically becomes one of King Charles’ advisers of state

(Niall Carson / PA)

Who stood for the queen when she was alive?

Queen Covid’s fear in February flared up the debate again at a time when her husband, Prince Philip, was an adviser of state along with Charles, William, Harry and Andrew.

During this time, Charles also fell ill with Covid, William was abroad in Dubai, Andrew permanently retired from royal life as he fought in a civil case for sexual assault, and Harry was living in the US after resigning from his job as an elder a member of the royal family.

The State Counsels are empowered to perform most of the official duties of the Sovereign, for example, attending Privy Council meetings, signing routine documents and accepting the mandates of new ambassadors to the UK.

Charles and William replaced the queen in May to open a new session of parliament when the former monarch was unable to do so due to mobility issues.

There are, however, a number of fundamental constitutional functions that cannot be delegated: Commonwealth affairs, dissolution of parliament, except as expressly ordered by His Majesty, the formation of peers and the appointment of a prime minister.

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