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King Seeks Amendment to Regency Act

    King Seeks Amendment to Regency Act
    Last updated: 1 week ago
    Image credit: Pool [via Reuters]

    Facts

    • King Charles III has requested to amend the list of Counsellors of State (CoS) — those who are eligible to stand in for the UK King in his absence — to include his sister Princess Anne, and his brother Prince Edward. [1]
    • The move would sideline his son Prince Harry and brother Prince Andrew, neither of whom are working members of the royal family. The Duke of Sussex left the UK permanently for the US amid a breakdown in relations following his marriage to American actress Meghan Markle. Meanwhile, the Duke of York faced scrutiny and public disgrace over allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor. The latter was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages in January and, in March, settled a civil case. [2]
    • Charles isn't proposing to exclude the two princes from the list of counsellors, rather to expand it to include Anne and Edward. Both were previously entitled to deputize the monarch before being surpassed in the order of succession to the throne when Prince William and Prince Harry turned 21, respectively. [1]
    • The move will, according to the monarch, "ensure continued efficiency of public business when I'm unavailable, such as while I'm undertaking official duties overseas." The reading to the House of Lords was met with shouts of approval ("hear, hear") from the benches. [3]
    • Since the death of Elizabeth II — Britain's longest reigning monarch — two months ago, the list of CoS has been shortened and the prospect of either Andrew or Harry being called upon in a crisis has become much more realistic. [4]
    • Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons engaged with the King's request, through a process known as a Humble Address, on Tuesday. The Lords have responded that they will, "without delay, proceed to discuss this important matter," though it must first pass through the lower chamber of MPs before the Lords can approve the amendment. [5]
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    Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The new king's decisive and ruthless action demonstrates that he's being practical in his pursuit of a modernized monarchy. Even after just two months on the throne, he is moulding the institution to his ideal — slimmed-down and uncomplicated by the kind of scandal and gossip that has weathered it in recent years. This is the kind of reinvention that will keep the monarchy relevant in 21st century Britain.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    This is a desperate attempt to paper over the cracks of a disintegrating institution. Whilst the royals could continue limping into the modern age, it would be far more preferable if they called time on the antiquated constitutional parade of their existence. King Charles is right to try and exclude the scandal and disgrace surrounding Princes Harry and Andrew, but he should go further and cease the mockery that the monarchy makes of democracy in the UK.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 65% chance that any part of Great Britain will be under monarchy in 2075, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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