THE Queen could strip Prince Harry of a key role after he moved to LA three years ago – despite him “renewing his Frogmore Cottage lease.”
The Duke of Sussex may not be allowed to stand in as a Counsellor of State since he no longer resides in the country, new papers revealed.
Prince Harry does not reside in the UK, so he may be excluded from being Counsellor of State[/caption]
The House of Commons Library this week published the guidance on what happens if a monarch is unable to perform their royal duties.
The Regency Acts of 1937 and 1953 allocate four Counsellors of State to step in if the monarch can’t go about their duties.
Following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh last May, the current Counsellors of State are Prince Charles, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York.
But crucially, the newly-published guidance states: “Under the 1937 Act, a Counsellor of State must be domiciled in ‘some part’ of the UK.”
It states: “The Regency Act 1943 added the discretionary provision that if it ‘appears to the Sovereign’ that any eligible Counsellor will be ‘absent from the United Kingdom or intends to be so absent during the whole or any part of the period of such delegation’, then Letters Patent [a legal tool available to the monarch] ‘may make provision’ for excepting that person.”
Harry hasn’t lived in the UK since late 2019, when he and his wife Meghan Markle sensationally quit the royal family and moved to the US.
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And according to the new guidance, Counsellors ought to be present in the UK when they are needed – but with Harry’s family now based in California, this may be a barrier for him.
The Duke is no longer a working royal, but he is still within the line of succession.
As it stands, he is the third of the four Counsellor – because Prince William’s children are not yet over the age of 21.
This means that if called upon, Harry can undertake “public business” in the place of the Queen – including granting royal assent to acts of parliament and approving public appointments.
And Harry and Meghan have renewed their lease on Frogmore Cottage, it’s understood – after the Duke insisted the UK is still “home”.
The couple haven’t lived in the Windsor property since they left the UK for America, and it’s now being used by Princess Eugenie, husband Jack Brooksbank and their baby August.
OUT OF LINE
However, the Sussexes have reportedly decided to extend their lease when it expires on March 31.
The 37-year-old is a UK citizen – and may be able to continue to act as Counsellor because he can argue he qualifies as being domiciled in Britain – thanks to his old address in Windsor.
Two Counsellors of state are needed to act together for crucial functions – such as providing royal assent to bills passing through Parliament.
Without this, no bill could ever be enacted.
This comes as the Queen this week tested positive for coronavirus -as Her Majesty is experiencing ‘mild’ symptoms.
There had been fears for her health after she was in direct contact with Prince Charles two days before he tested positive for coronavirus during a routine lateral flow on February 10.
Officials say she will “continue to receive medical attention” from her team of royal physicians.