The Duke of Sussex, 37, quit as a senior working royal along with his wife Meghan Meghan in 2020. Despite stepping back from duties, he still holds a position as one of the four individuals on the Queen’s Counsellors of State.
The royal website details what the position actually entails writing: “in the event that The Queen cannot undertake her official duties as Sovereign on a temporary basis due to illness or absence abroad, two or more Counsellors of State are appointed by Letters Patent to act in Her Majesty’s place.”
According to the law, the individuals who make up the Counsellors of State are the monarch’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21.
At this present time, the positions are held by Prince Andrew, Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry.
Currently, Prince William is in the Caribbean with his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge for an eight-day royal tour to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Their tour started in Belize last Saturday and is now in its second leg in Jamaica.
While the heir apparent, Prince Charles, is currently in Northern Ireland with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on a two-day visit.
Former BBC correspondent and presenter Peter Hunt pointed out that currently as both Charles and William are overseas if the Queen was unable to complete her duties due to illness or absence then it would fall to Prince Andrew to fill in on her behalf – a feat he deemed “an unthinkable move for many”.
He also pointed out that Charles could be forced to fly back to fill in, but claimed it appeared the Royal Family had “no fool-proof plan” if the monarch couldn’t carry out her responsibilities.
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On Twitter, Mr Hunt wrote: “Both Charles and William are abroad. If the Queen becomes ill, either Charles flies home or Andrew steps in – an unthinkable move for many.
“This is the reality of having no fool-proof plan to cover all scenarios for when a 95-year-old head of state can’t carry out her duties.”
The tweet was retweeted by the Daily Mail’s diarist and staunch critic of the Sussexes Richard Eden who claimed such a circumstance should see both Harry and his uncle being stripped from the crucial royal role.
In a tweet to his 27.9k followers, he wrote: “This is why #PrinceAndrew and #PrinceHarry must be stripped of their roles as Counsellors of State immediately. #royal”.
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Counsellors of State need to meet certain requirements such as being a British citizen and living in the UK.
Harry could be removed from the Counsellors of State in a matter of years due to UK law, as he could lose his domiciled status and be “ineligible”.
The UK law states you lose domiciled status if you leave the UK, and are a non-UK resident for six tax years.
Harry could be succeeded in his position by his cousins Princess Beatrice or Princess Eugenie, depending on who is the reigning monarch at the time.
The holders of this position are determined by legislation and thus can only be changed by an act of Parliament.
Prince Andrew remains in his role despite the fallout with his association with the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
He also retains the position after recently reaching a settlement in the sex abuse case brought against him in New York by Virginia Giuffre.
Andrew neither admitted to nor denied Giuffre’s claims in a letter submitted to the court confirming the settlement arrangement.
In 2019, the Duke of York said he was stepping back from royal duties for the “foreseeable future”.
The Duke faced growing backlash following his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview at the time.