“So it would be left to Harry and Andrew, which is not what you want.
“If I was Buckingham Palace now I’d be drawing up their resignation letters.”
Mr Morton, who famously penned in 1992 a groundbreaking biography of Princess Diana while being secretly helped by the Princess of Wales, said it is “quite feasible” to have both William and Charles at the same time outside of the country for royal duties, given their prominent position within the Firm and the reduced number of working royals able to travel abroad to represent the Queen.
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew are both Counsellors of State
Prince Harry is sixth-in-line to the throne
A similar scenario, he said, would currently trigger the drafting of the other two Counsellors of State if the Queen was incapacitated to undertake her official duties.
This, Mr Morton said, would be “just a ludicrous state of affairs”.
According to the rule established in the Regency Act 1937, two or more Counsellors step in when the monarch can’t undertake duties on a temporary basis due to illness or absence abroad.
These representatives of the sovereign are appointed by Letters Patent to act in Her Majesty’s place.
Prince Andrew is ninth-in-line to the throne
While members of the Royal Family can be Counsellors regardless of their status within the Firm, to be eligible for the role they must be domiciled in the UK and not disqualified from becoming monarch.
This means the current Counsellors of State are Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew.
The Duke of Sussex, who is sixth-in-line, stopped being a working member of the Firm at the end of March 2020, just a few days before he relocated with his family to California.
Prince Andrew is the Queen’s second son
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle photographed in March 2020
While he and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have established their new lives in the States, the Duke is still a Counsellor as he is believed not to have lost his domicile in the UK as he reportedly renewed his lease for Frogmore Cottage, the Sussexes’ official residence in Britain, in March.
Prince Andrew, who is ninth-in-line, announced in November 2019 that he would temporarily step back from public duties, in the wake of his interview with Emily Maitlis focused on his association with Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duke of York returned his military and royal patronages to the Queen in January this year, and Buckingham Palace announced in a statement he would continue not to undertake official engagements.
Following the Dukes’ decisions to step down, the Royal Family can currently count on 11 working members of the Firm able to support the Queen and the Crown through duties and engagements.
The removal of one or more people from the position of Counsellors of State requires legislation.
The Queen Mother was reinstated as a Counsellor with the Regency Act 1953, one year after she had lost her eligibility for the role due to becoming a widow.
The next royal eligible to become a Counsellor of State is Princess Beatrice, who is 10th in the line of succession to the throne.
Prince Charles and Prince William represented the Queen during the last State Opening of Parliament
Once Prince Charles accedes to the throne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will also take the title of Counsellor as the consort of the sovereign.
The last time Her Majesty had to issue a Letters Patent to have two Counsellors replace her was in May, when due to her episodic mobility issues she skipped the State Opening of Parliament and tasked the Prince of Wales to read the Queen’s Speech while Prince William looked on.
Counsellors are authorised to carry out most of the official duties of the sovereign, including attending Privy Council meetings, signing routine documents and receiving the credentials of new ambassadors to the UK.
Among the core constitutional duties that can’t be delegated to these title holders are Commonwealth matters, the creation of peers and the appointment of a Prime Minister.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK