King Charles is said to have distanced himself from a shooting party on the Windsor estate last weekend, according to sources. The event had included Prince Andrew and his two other siblings, Princess Anne and Prince Edward – two days before His Majesty turned 74. However, the apparent show of support for the disgraced Duke of York did not resonate well with the King, who had distanced himself from the meet-up, it is claimed. The breakdown in relations comes as the King plans to “sideline” Prince Andrew and Prince Harry as royals is being rushed through the House of Lords as part of wider proposals to slim down his cohort.
The source, who divulged last weekend’s reported situation with the Mail on Sunday said that King Charles had turned down an offer to attend the shoot, and was disappointed at Andrew’s invitation.
The source said: “King Charles was said to be displeased that Edward and Anne had been publicly meeting up with Andrew and wanted it made clear that he had not been part of the shoot. Anne and Edward had been privately concerned about Andrew and wanted to check on him.
“But Charles’s view is that he should not be in the public eye. His Majesty was not thrilled at all.”
Andrew is expected to be received by the King at Sandringham for Christmas – but will not be part of the Royal Family’s annual walk to St Mary Magdalene Church on the day itself.
The King’s frustration comes as sources claim Prince Andrew is eyeing up an unofficial government role as a mediator for Bahrain, having reportedly recently taken a secret private jet out to the country and staying in a luxurious hotel.
Relations between the King and his other brother, Prince Edward, are also reportedly on the rocks due to the latter still waiting to receive a particular title. Edward was expected by many to inherit the role of Duke of Edinburgh, after Prince Philip died a year and a half ago.
He was even briefly listed on the Royal website as having the title, even though it has yet to be officially announced.
One source claimed: “It hasn’t gone unnoticed”.
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However, King Charles does appear to be prioritising Edward and their sister, Princess Anne, for another key role – that of counsellor of state. Last week the government introduced legislation in the House of Lords to allow the monarch’s sister and youngest brother to act in his place if he is abroad or ill.
This includes enabling them to undertake the legal and constitutional roles of the King in such a scenario. They could be asked to open or dissolve Parliament, approve the appointment of Government ministers or judges, preside over the Privy Council, meet ambassadors, and sign legislation into law.
It will be debated in full by the Lords on Monday, and all other stages will be completed on Wednesday next week before going to the Commons and then heading back to the Lords before receiving Royal Assent to make it law.
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Proposing the Bill, the Lord Privy Seal Lord True said peers would have “maximum latitude … to make their opinions felt”, including the tabling of amendments. This comes ahead of plans for the King, and Queen Camilla, to go on their first overseas tour, which is expected to come in the spring.
Under the 1937 and 1953 Regency Acts, two members of the family from a pool of five are required at any one time to stand in if the monarch is abroad or too ill to work. As it stands, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew could both theoretically be called for this role as being among first four adults in the line of succession.
Therefore, pushing for legislation to bring Princess Anne and Prince Edward into the fold has been seen by some as an effort to sideline the two royals who no longer carry out royal duties.