Princes Andrew and Harry will have their last royal roles. But there is a catch CNN


A version of this story appeared in the Nov. 18 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch that brings you the inside track on Britain’s royal family. Please register here.


When King Charles III celebrated his birthday earlier this week, headlines focused on the new monarch taking on the new park ranger position held by his father, Prince Philip.

Then, of course, there was Military band performing “Happy Birthday” during the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace. And many in the family posted celebratory notes and photos on official social media accounts. All these will probably help make the day memorable.

But separately, the king also moved to address a dilemma that had been unresolved since long before Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

On Monday, Charles asked the UK Parliament to allow his siblings, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, to become counselors of state. This move will empower them to temporarily act for him when directed to do so. The king said in a message read to the upper chamber, the House of Lords, that maintaining the smooth running of the government was behind the request.

“In order to ensure the continued efficiency of public business when I am unavailable, such as when I am on official duty abroad, I ensure that as many people as may be called upon to act in Parliament will be most pleased to do so as I see fit. Under the terms of the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953 the Councilors of State will be extended to include my sister and brother, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex and Forfar, both of whom have previously assumed this role,” the king wrote.

A similar message was read in the Commons, the lower house.

Currently, by law, the group of members of the royal family who can fill in for the sovereign’s number of five is limited to the king’s consort and first four family members over the age of 21. Two advisers could be appointed to work by letters patent from the king and help keep the state ticking over. Currently, that means the entourage includes Queen Consort Camilla as well as the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice.

Experts have long suggested that the existing pool of counselors is too small, while public debate over the issue increased towards the end of the late queen’s reign as she became increasingly frail. Charles and William were allowed to act as counselors during the Queen’s illness. But it wasn’t lost on many that her other two mentors were Princes Harry and Andrew, albeit not family members – for very different, well-covered reasons.

Usually, the machinations of royal duties remained behind the walls of the palace. But the issue has been raised again with Charles’ accession, and as any change to the Regency Act requires legislation, it was discussed in the House of Lords for the first time late last month.

Labor peer Viscount Stansgate challenged Andrew and Harry’s regency powers, commenting that the Duke of York had “left public life”, while the Duke of Sussex had “left the country”. He asked whether it was “time to go to the King to see if a reasonable amendment could be made to this Act?” In response, the Lord Privy Seal, Lord True, said he would not divulge “any private conversations” with the monarch or the royal family but that “the Government will always consider what measures are needed to ensure our resilience. Constitutional arrangements.”

Princess Anne and Prince Edward are to become counselors of state.

The king’s moves this week confirm the palace is mulling over the dilemma and available options. And adding official stand-ins to the group is not unprecedented, having previously been done for the Queen Mother after Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1953.

In practice, there appears to be a desire within Parliament to resolve the issue quickly. A day after Charles’ request, the members of the Lords replied to the king, assuring him that they would act “without delay” and “provide such measures as may seem necessary or expedient to secure the object set forth by His Majesty.”

And the Lords weren’t kidding when they offered the opportunity, with the Councilors of State Bill 2022-23 whipping through the Palace of Westminster at breakneck speed. It was given its first reading by Tuesday afternoon and is set to have its second reading and debate next week.

An elegant solution to a potential constitutional crisis is to expand the party of royals in the absence of the king. This provides for more flexibility while perhaps going some way to avoid family discomfort and protects the two dukes from public embarrassment if they are stripped of their positions. Charles’ approach means both are still technically mentors on paper but has firmly ended speculation over whether Harry or Andrew will be called upon.

Prince William presented the iconic number 7 shirt to England winger Jack Grealish.

William sent England into the World Cup in style.

The Prince of Wales visited the England football team at the team’s headquarters at St George’s Park on Monday ahead of their trip to Qatar for the World Cup, which starts this weekend. Just before the Three Lions swapped the chilly winter weather for the heat of Doha, William was on hand to wish the team well. “I’m really here to show that the rest of the country is behind you,” he told the squad, as he gave each player their shirt number. “We’re all rooting for you, enjoy it.”

While William served as president of the Football Association of England, many Welsh fans on social media suggested the visit was out of tact for the Prince of Wales title holder and questioned his loyalty.

William has never been shy about being a passionate England fan, as we mentioned last week. And he attended the Wembley stands with his son George, cheering on the team at previous tournaments. However, he sought to address the criticism mid-week during a visit to the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff. “I tell everyone I support both, of course. I can’t lose,” he said. “I’ve been able to play carefully with my accessories because I think otherwise if I suddenly drop England to support Wales it doesn’t look right for the game.”

William continued that when he was growing up, Wales didn’t qualify for many football tournaments and so he chose England. But he’ll be cheering on both teams in their first game on Monday, and more broadly, he’s found a way to support both countries over the years. “I supported England [football] As I am quite young, but I support Welsh rugby. That’s my way of doing it.”

The tournament is Wales’ first World Cup in more than half a century. The two teams will meet in the group stage on November 29.

King Charles shares ‘concern’ after Australia floods

The king late last week sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressing his concern after flash floods devastated parts of the country’s southeastern state of Victoria. “Our heartfelt thoughts are with all affected and for those affected,” Charles wrote. “It has been particularly inspiring how communities have come together to protect homes and livestock and support each other during these incredibly difficult times,” he added. Flooding is the latest threat posed by climate change in recent years as Australia battles bushfires for months in 2020. “Climate change matters. It’s about the survival of our way of life,” he said.

Kate meets Ukrainian refugees who have been resettled in the UK.

The Princess of Wales visited Reading Ukrainian Community Center on Thursday to meet displaced Ukrainian families who have arrived in the UK following Russia’s invasion of their home country. After hearing the story of this family – whose lives at the end of the year are unrecognizable from how they were at the beginning – Kate joins the Ukrainian children by attending an art session. Kate’s visit follows a virtual roundtable she hosted last week, where she discussed with Ukraine’s first lady how to provide mental health support to Ukrainians amid the ongoing conflict.

Kate attended an art class with young Ukrainian refugees.

Harry writes deeply personal letters to bereaved military children.

Prince Harry may not have been in the UK for Remembrance Day last weekend but he found his own way to mark the occasion. The Duke of Sussex wrote a letter to bereaved military children through British charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers, offering his condolences and sharing how he navigated his grief. “We share a bond even without meeting each other, because we have lost parents. I know first-hand the pain and grief that comes with loss and want you to know you are not alone,” he wrote. The charity supports children whose parents have died serving in the British Armed Forces. On Remembrance Sunday, dozens of these brave children will donate to the charity. The organization marched through London wearing black and yellow scarves. Harry wrote knowingly that “hard feelings” can stir up acts of remembrance. “Whenever you need a reminder of this, I encourage you to lean in with your friends at Scotty’s Little Soldier,” She said. “I couldn’t be more grateful and relieved to have amazing people walking beside you throughout your journey.” In the US, Harry celebrated Veterans Day by attending a memorial service at Pearl Harbor, while on his Archwell Foundation website, he and Wife Megan praised the “courageous men and women” who “made extraordinary sacrifices and embodied responsibility and service. Read Harry’s full letter here.

Prince William visited the Welsh Parliament, known as the Seanad, on Wednesday.

Being grilled about his football allegiance was not William’s main reason for moving to Cardiff. The Prince of Wales visited the Seanad on Wednesday to meet representatives of the Welsh Parliament and hear the issues most important to the Welsh people. William also met with the Welsh Youth Parliament, whose members discussed the future leaders of their generation.

King Charles attended the Remembrance Sunday service at The Cenotaph in London.

Charles III led Britain’s annual Remembrance Sunday service for the first time as monarch last weekend. The King attended the service with Camilla, the Queen Consort and other members of the royal family at the Cenotaph monument in central London. The new king laid a wreath, the design of which paid homage to the wreaths of his grandfather, King George VI, and his mother, the late Queen. Camilla joined other senior members of the royal family, including the princess, to watch the moment from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office overlooking the war memorial. For the first time, wreaths were laid by the Queen Consort. Learn more in our story.

“Over the past few months, my husband and I have been and continue to be greatly comforted by the messages of condolence we have received from all four corners of the world. They remind us that the written word has a unique ability to connect, to heal, to reassure, and to offer hope even in the midst of grief.”

The Queen Consort paid tribute to her “dear mother-in-law” during a reception for the winners of the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2022.

The speech during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Thursday was the first time Camilla has spoken publicly in her role as Queen Consort.