A version of this story appeared in the November 18 issue of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly publication that brings you the inside track of Britain’s royal family. Register here.
When King Charles III celebrated his birthday earlier this week, headlines focused on the new king’s encounter with L Another new Park Ranger It was previously occupied by his father, Prince Philip.
Then there was of course Military teams lead Happy Birthday outside Buckingham Palace at the Changing of the Guard. Several family members posted celebratory notes and photos on their official social media accounts. Perhaps all of this helped make today a memorable one.
Separately, however, the monarch has also moved to address a dilemma that remained unresolved long before the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
On Monday, Charles asked the British parliament to allow his siblings, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, to take over as state counsellor. This move will enable them to intervene on his behalf temporarily when directed to do so. In a message read out in the upper chamber of the House of Lords, the King said that maintaining the smooth running of government was behind the request.
“To ensure continued efficiency of public business when I am not available, for example while on official business abroad, I assure that I will be more satisfied if Parliament considers fit the number of persons who may be called upon to serve as Counselors of State under the provisions of the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953 will be augmented to include my sister and two brothers the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex and Forfar, both of whom have previously held the role.”
The same letter was read in the House of Commons.
Currently, by law, a pool of royals can be appointed who can fill the sovereign number five – limited to the monarch’s spouse and the first four family members in the line of succession over the age of 21. On behalf of the king through letters patent and help maintain the state halted. Right now, that means the group includes Queen Consort Camilla as well as the Prince of Wales, Duke of Sussex, Duke of York, and Princess Beatrice.
Experts have long suggested The pool of advisors that exists is very small, while public debate on the subject grew towards the latter part of the Queen’s late reign as she became increasingly weak. Charles and William Ear to act as advisors on occasion when the Queen is unwell. But it’s not lost on many that her other two advisors are Princes Harry and Andrew, although they are no longer working members of the family – albeit for very different, well-covered reasons.
Normally, the machinations of royal duties were kept behind the palace walls. But the topic has resurfaced with Charles’ accession, and because any changes to the guardianship law would require legislation, debate in the House of Lords first came up late last month.
The Labor peer Viscount Stansgate challenged Andrew and Harry’s powers in the regency, stating that the Duke of York had “quit public life”, while the Duke of Sussex had “left the country”. Was it time, he asked, “to turn to the King to see if a reasonable modification of this law could be made?” In response, the Lord Private Seal, Lord Trew, said he would not disclose “any private conversations” he might have had with the King or the Royal Family, but that “the Government will always consider arrangements to ensure flexibility in our constitutional arrangements”.
The king’s moves this week confirm that the palace was thinking about the dilemma and the available options. Adding to the unprecedented array of official positions, it was once made for the Queen Mother in 1953 after Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.
Practically, there seems 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 “make such measures as may seem necessary or expedient to secure the purpose which His Majesty has set”.
And the lords weren’t kidding when they offered expediency, with State Counsel Bill 2022-23 whipping up the Palace of Westminster at breakneck speed. It was given its first reading on Tuesday afternoon and its second reading and discussion is scheduled for next week.
Expanding the pool of royals who can deputize for the king in his absence is an elegant solution to a potential constitutional crisis. It provides more flexibility while perhaps going some way to avoid family embarrassment and shielding the dukes from the public embarrassment that would have arisen had they been stripped of their office. Charles’ approach means both are still technical advisors on paper but puts an end to speculation about whether Harry or Andrew will be called upon.
William sends England to the World Cup in style.
The Prince of Wales visited the England football team on Monday at St George’s Park, the team’s home base, before they depart for the World Cup in Qatar, which kicks off this weekend. Before the Three Lions traded the rainy winter weather for Doha’s heat, William was on hand to wish the team well. “I’m really here to signal that the rest of the country is behind you,” he tells the team, as he presents each player with their jersey number. “We’re all cheering for you, enjoy it.”
While William is President of the Football Association, many Welsh fans on social media have indicated that the visit was tactless for the reigning Prince of Wales and questioned his loyalty.
William was never shy about being a passionate England fan We mentioned it last week. He has been present in the stands at Wembley, along with his son, George, to cheer on the team in previous tournaments. However, he sought to address the criticism midweek during a trip to the Parliament of Wales in Cardiff. “I tell everyone I support both of them, for sure,” he said. “I have to be able to play carefully with my affiliations because I get anxious or else if I suddenly leave England to support Wales, it just doesn’t seem right for the sport.”
William continued that while he was growing up, Wales had not qualified for many football tournaments and so he chose England. But he will be rooting for both teams in their first matches on Monday and more broadly, he has found a way to support both countries over the years. I supported England [football] Since I was very young, however I support Welsh Rugby. That’s kind of my way of doing it.”
This year’s tournament is the first World Cup for Wales in more than half a century. The two teams are scheduled to meet in the group stage on November 29.
King Charles shares ‘concern’ after Australia’s floods.
The king sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese late last week to express his concern after flash floods swept parts of the southeastern state of Victoria. Charles wrote: “Our heartfelt thoughts are with all those affected and the losses that have been incurred.” “It has been particularly inspiring to see how communities are coming together to protect homes and livestock and support each other during this very difficult time,” he added. Floods are the latest climate change threat Australia has faced in recent years – after the fight Forest fires for months in 2020. According to PA Media, Albanese said in September that he would be “very comfortable” with King expressing his opinions about the “importance of climate change. It’s about the survival of our very way of life,” he said.
Kate visits Ukrainian refugees who have been resettled in the UK.
The Princess of Wales visited the Reading Ukrainian Community Center on Thursday, to meet displaced Ukrainian families who arrived in the UK following the Russian invasion of their home country. After hearing the stories of these families – whose lives are less recognizable at the end of the year than they were at the beginning – Kate joins Ukrainian children taking part in an art session. Kate’s visit followed a virtual roundtable she hosted last week, where she discussed with the First Lady of Ukraine how best to provide mental health support to Ukrainians amid the ongoing conflict.
Harry Pens is a deeply personal message to bereaved military children.
Prince Harry may not have been in the UK for Remembrance Day this past weekend, but he found his own way to celebrate the occasion. The Duke of Sussex has written a letter to bereaved military children through British charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers, offering his sympathy and sharing how he overcame his grief. “We share a bond without even seeing each other, because we share the loss of a parent. I know firsthand the pain and grief that comes with loss and I want you to know that you are not alone,” he wrote. The charity supports children whose parents have died serving in the UK Armed Forces. On Remembrance Sunday, dozens of these brave children marched around London wearing the charity’s black and yellow scarves. Harry also wrote knowing about the “hard feelings” that acts of remembrance can stir up. “Whenever you need a reminder of this, I encourage you to count on your friends in Scotty’s Little Soldiers,” he said. “I couldn’t be more grateful and relieved that you have such amazing people walking by your side throughout your journey.” In the US, Harry celebrated Veterans Day by attending a memorial service at Pearl Harbor, while he and his wife paid tribute on the Archewell Foundation website to the “brave men and women” who “made tremendous sacrifices and personified duty and service.” Read Harry’s full message here.
Questioning his footballing loyalties was not William’s main reason for going to Cardiff. The Prince of Wales visited Sinead on Wednesday to meet representatives of the Welsh Parliament and hear about issues of great importance to the people of Wales. William also met the Welsh Youth Parliament, whose members opened up about topics related to the generation of future leaders.
Charles III led the annual Remembrance Sunday service in Britain for the first time as monarch last weekend. The king attended the service alongside Camilla Queen consort, and other members of the royal family at the Cenotaph memorial in central London. The new monarch laid a wreath, the design of which paid tribute to the wreaths of his grandfather, King George VI, and his late mother, the Queen. Camilla joined senior royals including the Princess of Wales to watch the moment from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which overlooks the war memorial. A wreath was laid on the Queen for the first time. Find out more in our story.
The speech during the reception at Buckingham Palace on Thursday marked the first time Camilla has spoken publicly about her role as queen consort.