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  • Prince Harry is among the Counsellors of State” in the royal family that can deputize for King Charles III. 
  • A royal biographer says Prince Harry filling in for his father is “impractical” given he lives in California. 
  • King Charles III has asked U.K. Parliament to make his sister and brother, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, “Counsellors of State.” 
King Charles III and Prince Harry, who can deputize for King Charles III as a counsellor of state which a royal biographer says is 'impractical', smile wearing tuxedos
King Charles III and Prince Harry | Samir Hussein/WireImage

A royal biographer says Prince Harry being able to deputize for King Charles III is “impractical.” And it’s not solely because he stepped back from senior royal duties in 2020. Ahead, they explain why the Duke of Sussex standing in for his father isn’t convenient. Plus, how King Charles is trying to change things.  

Prince Harry and 4 other British royals can currently step in for King Charles 

Currently, Harry is among a select group of British royals who, by law, can step in for the king when he’s unavailable. “Counsellors of State,” as they’re known, are royals who can legally stand in for the monarch and carry out (most) official duties when they’re sick or overseas. 

Harry’s a counsellor of state along with his stepmother Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles, brother Prince William, uncle Prince Andrew, and cousin Princess Beatrice (via BBC).

Previously, during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the royal family’s counsellors of state were the king (as Prince of Wales), the now-Prince of Wales, formerly the Duke of Cambridge, Harry, and the Duke of York. 

Per the Regency Act, counsellors of state are appointed from adults, over the age of 21, in the line of succession

Biographer says Prince Harry living in the U.S. makes being a counsellor of state ‘impractical’

King Charles III and Prince Harry, who can deputize for King Charles III as a counsellor of state, at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
King Charles III and Prince Harry | David Rose – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Location, location, location. In this case, the oft-used saying isn’t exactly about a real estate listing. It’s about Harry’s proximity to Britain.

He and his wife, Meghan Markle, live in Montecito, California, with their two children. The U.S. has been their home since they relocated from England by way of Canada in 2020. 

According to royal biographer Robert Jobson, Harry being thousands of miles away from Britain makes him being a counsellor of state “impractical.” 

“It would be impractical for Harry to fly home to Britain any time other senior royals were all out of the country at the same time,” he said (via Newsweek). 

The author of William at 40 and Prince Charles at 70 continued, saying logistically it probably wouldn’t work well. 

“He has to be in Britain to do it. Even if Harry remains a counsellor of state it’s impractical,” Jobson said. “It doesn’t work when the king is abroad. If the king goes to America, Harry is hardly likely to step in for him when he is in America too.”

King Charles wants Princess Anne and Prince Edward to be able to fill in for him 


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On Nov. 14, the king took a legal step to deepen his royal bench as it were. He asked U.K. Parliament to increase the number of Counsellors of State. 

Specifically, so it would include his sister, Princess Anne, and youngest brother, Prince Edward. Both of whom are “working royals” unlike Harry, Andrew, and Beatrice. 

The king’s message, which the Lord Chamberlain read in the House of Lords, read as follows: 

“To ensure continued efficiency of public business when I am unavailable, such as when I am undertaking official duties overseas, I confirm that I would be most content, should Parliament see fit, for the number of people who may be called upon to act as Counsellors of State under the terms of the Regency Acts 1937 and 1953 to be increased to include my sister and brother, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex and Forfar, both of whom have previously undertaken this role.”