Prince Harry and Andrew quietly snubbed as Buckingham Palace sidelines them from serving as Counsellors of State

19 January 2024, 08:52

Harry and Andrew will never be called upon in the King's absence
Harry and Andrew will never be called upon in the King's absence. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Prince Harry and Andrew have been quietly sidelined by the King so they cannot serve as Counsellors of State.

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Despite both Harry and Andrew technically remaining in their royal roles, the King is understood to have made a provision to ensure they are never called upon in his absence.

The revelation comes after it was announced on Wednesday that Charles will attend hospital next week for a "corrective procedure", meaning his public engagements have been briefly postponed.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. 

"His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure. The King's public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation."

Counsellors of State conduct state business, such as approvals for appointments and legislation, when a monarch is absent for a short period of time.

Read more: Kate's family 'rally around' after operation as they clear diaries to help with George, Charlotte and Louis

Read more: Prince Harry urged to call royals as King Charles and Kate Middleton face hospital spells

King Charles will attend hospital next week to be treated for an enlarged prostate
King Charles will attend hospital next week to be treated for an enlarged prostate. Picture: Alamy

Lord Privy Seal Lord True confirmed in November 2022 that only working members of the royal family would be called on as Charles' substitute.

He told peers: "This Bill represents a practical solution and safeguard to ensure that the machinery of Government can continue."

He added: "The royal household have confirmed that in practice working members of the royal family - working members - will be called upon to act as Counsellors of State and that diaries will be arranged to make this practicable."

The move also means that Princess Beatrice - Andrew's eldest daughter - will not be allowed to act as a substitute for the King.

Instead, Princess Anne and Prince Edward were both made Counsellors of State, meaning they can carry out constitutional duties for their brother if needed.

King to be treated in hospital for enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace says

It comes as Harry has been urged to reach out to the family as both Charles and Kate face spells in hospital.

Relations with the senior royals are at an all time low after Harry released Spare, his memoir that contained a raft of damning claims against his family.

Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal commentator, said: "There is a very deep rift in the royal family. As far as anyone is aware, Harry and William aren't speaking.

"It's very unfortunate this has happened. Not only the King with an enlarged prostate but Catherine has also had an operation of some magnitude.

"Given the sensitivities involved, it is hoped some approach would be made by Harry but the best thing, and the only thing, would be a quiet or private approach. So basically we don't hear."

He told The Sun: "I would have thought Harry will approach his father, brother and also Catherine."