Palace officials mull ways of axing Andrew and Harry as two of the four Counsellors of State

Palace officials mull ways of axing Andrew and Harry as two of the four Counsellors of State


Prince Andrew and Prince Harry face a new double humiliation as royal officials are mulling ways to remove another of their significant roles, while also denying them Jubilee medals like other veterans. 

Buckingham Palace officials are now considering how to remove the role of Counsellors of State from the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex – a potentially significant position that the pair still possess.

The duo, who are ninth and sixth in line to the throne respectively, have already been stripped of their royal patronages and military titles by the Queen – and both asked not to use the handle His Royal Highness.

Palace sources confirmed they are still two of the four Counsellors of State, who would be called upon to take the place of the Queen if she were unable to carry out her duties because of illness or absence abroad.

They would be authorised to carry out most of the official duties of the monarch, including signing important documents, attending Privy Council meetings and receiving the credentials of new ambassadors to the UK. The other two Counsellors of State are Prince Charles, who is heir to the throne, and William, who is second in line. 

A royal source said: ‘It is a genuine problem that the Palace is looking to address. Can you imagine the Duke of York having to sign official documents, for example, because the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge were both abroad, and the Queen became ill? It’s not an exaggeration to say it could put the monarchy in jeopardy.’ 

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment, but sources suggested that Andrew, 61, and Harry, 37, could not be stripped of their roles without an Act of Parliament having to be passed first.

By law, 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. If Andrew and Harry were removed they could be replaced by Princess Anne and Camilla. 

‘There could be events later this year which make such a change necessary,’ the source said in an apparent reference to the outcome of Andrew’s court case in the US and the publication of Harry’s forthcoming memoirs. 

The position of Counsellor of State was provided for in 1937 under the Regency Act. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were drafted and passed only in necessity – with nine separate Acts to cover various eventualities since 1728. 

Shortly after George VI came to the throne in 1936, a new Regency Act was passed which provided a rule for all future reigns. It was then that the new office of Counsellor of State was created to cover short-term absences. 

Both Andrew and Harry have been stripped of their royal patronages and military titles amid the former’s ongoing court battle and the latter’s decision to quit ‘The Firm’ and move to North America with his wife Meghan Markle. 

In a further blow to Andrew and Harry, they will also now both not be eligible for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medal next month having lost their honorary military titles, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Palace officials mull ways of axing Andrew and Harry as two of the four Counsellors of State

Prince Andrew and Prince Harry are pictured at Prince Philip’s funeral at Windsor Castle on April 17 last year

Prince Harry is pictured wearing his medals while smiling with the Duke of York on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2014

Prince Harry is pictured wearing his medals while smiling with the Duke of York on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2014

The commemorative medal will be awarded on February 6 to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne and given to serving members of the Armed Forces, police, fire, emergency and prison services.

Members of the Royal Family holding honorary military titles will also be eligible – and the only veterans who receive the award will be recipients of the George Cross or Victoria Cross.

How Counsellors of State are authorised to do Sovereign’s official duties

Counsellors of State are authorised to carry out most of the official duties of the Sovereign, for example, attending Privy Council meetings, signing routine documents and receiving the credentials of new ambassadors to the United Kingdom. 

The position of Counsellor of State was provided for in 1937 under the terms of the Regency Act. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were drafted and passed only in necessity. As such, there had been nine separate Regency Acts to cover various eventualities since 1728. 

Shortly after George VI came to the throne in 1936, a new Regency Act was passed which provided a rule for all future reigns.  It was at this time that the new office of Counsellor of State was created to cover short term absences where a regency would be unnecessary. 

Now that Harry and Andrew have lost their military titles, this means the duo will be treated like all other veterans and not receive the special medal. 

Last Thursday, the Queen removed Andrew’s honorary military roles and he gave up his use of the HRH style. 

Andrew is thought to still be at his 31-room Royal Lodge home and allegedly hosted around a dozen family friends on Friday including Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank before a shoot at Windsor Great Park. 

The Queen’s move last week was a humiliation for Andrew and came one day after the lawsuit against him took a big step forward when a judge threw out his motion to dismiss the sexual assault case and ruled it can go to trial.

Andrew, who was born an HRH, will not use it any official capacity, and was also stripped of his remaining royal patronages in a decision which represented the Duke of York’s complete removal from official royal life.

The dramatic move was also seen as an attempt to distance the monarchy from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne as the spare to the heir, in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

It comes as Andrew was accused of a ‘tone-deaf’ defence in his legal battle with Virginia Giuffre – who used to be known as Virginia Roberts – after his lawyers suggested she may have ‘false memories’ of her encounters with him.

Meanwhile an security expert said yesterday that Harry should learn from his aunt Princess Anne, who gets police security only when on royal duties, an expert said yesterday. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ride in a carriage opposite Prince Andrew and Prince Harry at Royal Ascot in June 2016

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ride in a carriage opposite Prince Andrew and Prince Harry at Royal Ascot in June 2016

Princes Andrew and Harry also will not be eligible for the Queen's c, according to the Daily Telegraph

Princes Andrew and Harry also will not be eligible for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medal, according to the Daily Telegraph

The Duke of Sussex, who now carries out no royal engagements, has threatened legal action unless he gets Met Police security, which he would pay for, when he is back in the UK from California.

Who will receive the  Platinum Jubilee medal?

In keeping with tradition, a Platinum Jubilee medal will be awarded to people who work in public service including representatives of the Armed Forces, the emergency services and the prison services. 

The special commemorative medal will be awarded on February 6 to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

Members of the Royal Family holding honorary military titles will be eligible – and the only veterans who receive the award will be recipients of the George Cross or Victoria Cross. Now that Princes Harry and Andrew have lost their military titles, this means the duo will be treated like all other veterans and not receive the medal.

Yesterday ex-royal protection chief Dai Davies said Princess Anne ‘doesn’t get full time protection now and yet in 1974 she was nearly kidnapped – her protection officer was actually shot’.

The ex-chief superintendent added: ‘Her security is now adapted according to risk. There just isn’t a large pool of officers to pick and choose from.’

Of Harry and wife Meghan he said: ‘They both have such egos that they expect the treatment. 

‘The fact is, many senior royals are losing their protection. They’re not going to take officers away from other royals or other duties to protect him.’

Royal insiders say there is no backing for the prince’s demands at Buckingham Palace.

Harry is now seeking a judicial review of the decision to strip him of his UK police protection team, claiming it is ‘too dangerous’ to visit without Scotland Yard bodyguards.

Lawyers acting for Harry have written a ‘pre-action protocol’ letter to the Home Office, threatening to go to the High Court if his family are not provided with security while they are in Britain.

A government spokesman said the UK’s security system was ‘rigorous and proportionate’ and that it was long-standing policy not to provide detailed information about such arrangements

It is also unprecedented for the judiciary to get involved in matters of royal protection, which are signed off by an independent committee and the Home Secretary. 

Prince Charles ‘invites Harry and Meghan to stay with him in UK in the hope of meeting Lilibet for the first time’, sources claim – but Sussexes’ refusal to return without Met Police protection puts reunion in doubt

Prince Charles has invited Prince Harry and his family to stay with him in the UK in the hope of meeting Lilibet for the first time, it emerged tonight.

The Prince of Wales is yet to see his granddaughter face-to-face, after she was born in California in June last year.

The offer, which would be the first time the family have fully come together since Harry and Meghan decided to quit as working royals, was made just before Christmas, according to the Mirror.

However, his son’s refusal to return without a substantial level of security from the Met Police is said to have put the reunion in doubt.

In recent months, the family have communicated via a series of ‘good natured’ calls, sources told the paper.

The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter Lilibet was released in a Christmas card last month

The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter Lilibet was released in a Christmas card last month

The Prince of Wales (centre), during his visit to Haddo Country Park, Ellon, Aberdeenshire last week

The Prince of Wales (centre), during his visit to Haddo Country Park, Ellon, Aberdeenshire last week

One said: ‘The Prince of Wales has been saddened that he hasn’t had the opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren, which he really does miss.

What it really costs to guard Sussexes

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s security team in Canada was made up of at least six £60,000-a-year Scotland Yard protection officers.

But experts say the true cost of each officer would have been closer to £100,000 a year when taking into consideration overtime, flights back and forth to the UK, pension contributions and living expenses.

The couple spent more than three months in Canada before moving to California in March 2020 when they are reported to have hired top-of-the-range security firm Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA), used by A-listers including Jeff Bezos, Tom Hanks and Madonna.

The team from GDBA – described as a ‘secret service for famous people’ – is rumoured to cost about £7,000 per day, or £2.5million a year.

Harry and Meghan are likely to have been provided a team of six bodyguards, which could include former intelligence officers from the FBI and CIA, who work in rotation, with four on duty by day and two at night.

The couple’s American security would have no jurisdiction in the UK or access to intelligence information.

‘He is a fantastic grandfather and loves playing the role immensely and it’s certainly fair to say he feels there is something missing from his life without the ability to get to know Harry’s children.

‘This is something he is hoping to remedy which is why he made the gesture for Harry, Meghan and the children to stay with him if they wanted to, whenever they may come home for a period of time.’ 

It comes as a former head of royal protection warned today that Prince Harry ‘cannot pick and choose’ when he wants to visit the UK and receive protection.

The Duke of Sussex should not be expecting bodyguards supplied to him when he decides to return home, Dai Davies said.

The ex-Met Police officer pointed out Princess Anne was nearly kidnapped and her protection officer was shot – but she does not get full time protection.

His comments came as sources suggested the Queen will not help her grandson in his demand for security personnel when he comes to Britain.

The insiders claimed the Monarch has no intentions of ‘caving into his demands’ for protection from the Met and Home Office.

Prince Harry faced outrage yesterday over his threat of legal action against Her Majesty’s Government.

He is seeking a judicial review of the decision to strip him of his UK police protection team, claiming it is too dangerous to visit without Scotland Yard bodyguards.

Last night there was anger at the unprecedented legal threat against the government as sources hit back saying: ‘Scotland Yard is not available for hire’.

Mr Davies, who was Operational Unit Commander for the Royals from 1995, told GMB: ‘He chose to go to America, that’s his prerogative.

‘And it’s our prerogative to ensure when we look at any aspect of protection, any member of the Royal Family that we actually look and assess it through various security agencies. That’s the crux.

‘And it’s been decided in this level, one they won’t supply him with protection because the risk at this stage is deemed low. However should there be a risk when he comes then clearly the Metropolitan Police would be duty bound.’

Meghan’s mouthpiece Omid Scobie puts the boot in over Prince Andrew: Journalist compares how Duke of York kept his titles until the Queen’s ‘hand was finally forced’… with how Prince Harry was ‘stripped of privilege’ after Megxit

Meghan Markle‘s trusted journalist friend Omid Scobie today claimed the ‘ring of protection’ around Prince Andrew from the Royal Family had been ‘confusing’.

Mr Scobie said the ‘threat to Brand Windsor and the family business’ had ‘finally forced the institution’s hand’ after the Queen removed his honorary military roles.

The Harper’s Bazaar royal editor-at-large also compared the issue to Megxit, saying there was ‘no sympathetic support behind palace walls for the Duke of Sussex‘.

Mr Scobie added that Prince Harry ‘simply wanted to remove his family from an unhealthy environment’ but was ‘publicly dragged over the coals and stripped of his every achievement and royal privilege before setting one foot out of the country’.

The author also pointed out in the opinion piece that it was ‘a staggering 26 months before Andrew was dealt with’ after his disastrous BBC interview in November 2019.

Mr Scobie said he met a senior Buckingham Palace aide for drinks soon after the interview, who told him: ‘Well, he’s on his own now. He’s not our problem anymore.’ 

Harry and Meghan at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 before stepping down as senior royals

Harry and Meghan at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 before stepping down as senior royals

The author, who co-wrote the 2020 biography Finding Freedom about the Sussexes, regularly reveals news about them on Twitter and often writes in their defence. 

Given this, it seems unlikely that Mr Scobie would have written such an article without speaking in advance to representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

And he wrote in an opinion piece for the i today: ‘For the public watching this saga play out, the ring of protection around Andrew has been confusing, especially when you compare his treatment to Prince Harry, who – love or loathe him – simply wanted to remove his family from an unhealthy environment.

‘There was no sympathetic support behind palace walls for the Duke of Sussex. Instead, he was publicly dragged over the coals and stripped of his every achievement and royal privilege before setting one foot out of the country.

Meghan Markle's trusted journalist friend Omid Scobie wrote an opinion piece for the i today

Meghan Markle’s trusted journalist friend Omid Scobie wrote an opinion piece for the i today

‘The royal establishment has long spoken of its need to reflect modern day ethics. But when the selfish behaviour of a pompous prince is quietly protected in a way that Harry wasn’t, simply because Andrew doesn’t challenge the system, it is clear that this is an institution whose moral compass is in desperate need of repair.’

Mr Scobie was born to a Scottish father who runs a marketing agency and an Iranian mother who works in child welfare. He started his career on celebrity magazine Heat.

He rose to fame as one of the authors of Finding Freedom, a controversial biography about the Sussexes which he co-wrote with fellow royal expert Carolyn Durand.

The Court of Appeal heard last year that Jason Knauf, Harry and Meghan’s former communications secretary, gave information to Mr Scobie and Ms Durand – leading to Meghan apologising for misleading the court about whether he had done so.

Prince Andrew next to Harry and Meghan on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June 2019. Also pictured (front) are the Queen (left), James, Viscount Severn and Isla Philips (both right)

Prince Andrew next to Harry and Meghan on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June 2019. Also pictured (front) are the Queen (left), James, Viscount Severn and Isla Philips (both right)

It came during a court row that ended with the Mail On Sunday being ruled to have invaded Meghan’s privacy over a letter sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

Mr Scobie, who has boasted of exclusive access to the couple, is also a royal contributor for Good Morning America and host of ABC royal podcast ‘The Heir Pod’. 

It comes after the Queen removed Andrew’s honorary military roles in a dramatic Buckingham Palace statement last Thursday and he gave up his use of the HRH style.

One day earlier the sex lawsuit against him took a big step forward when a judge threw out his motion to dismiss the sexual assault case and ruled it can go to trial.

Andrew, who was born an HRH, will not use it any official capacity, and was stripped of his remaining royal patronages amid his complete removal from official royal life.

It was also seen as an attempt to distance the monarchy from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne, in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

He has been accused of a ‘tone-deaf’ defence in his legal battle with Virginia Giuffre after his lawyers suggested she may have ‘false memories’ of encounters with him. 

In a scathing response to his demand for her mental health records, her lawyer David Boies said: ‘She wouldn’t misremember sexual abuse by a prince of England.’

Virginia Giuffre holds a photo of her aged 16, when she says Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her

Virginia Giuffre holds a photo of her aged 16, when she says Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her

The claim about memory issues was made by Andrew in legal filings over the weekend in the case brought against him by Ms Giuffre at a court in New York.

She claims she had sex with Andrew three times when she was 17 in 2001 while under the control of Jeffrey Epstein, the late paedophile who was friends with the duke. Andrew has vehemently denied her allegations.

His lawyers have asked to interview Ms Giuffre’s psychologist about all their sessions, any prescriptions that were issued and the ‘theory of false memories’.

Ghislaine Maxwell used a ‘false memory expert’ during her trial for trafficking and recruiting underage girls for Epstein, but was found guilty on five of six counts. 



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Author: Shirley