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  #61  
Old 10-02-2011, 04:21 PM
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CoS's attend Privy Council meetings and the briefings by the PM etc. They do the official duties of the monarch during the time that they are appointed. There has to be two at any time as well.

No it isn't ceremonial.

They sign the legislation.
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  #62  
Old 10-02-2011, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elly C View Post
Just glancing back through this interesting thread which my earlier post was moved to. If I have understood earlier postings correctly, the Queen could, if she chose to, make her eldest daughter a counsellor of state without really causing a major upheaval about hereditary succession- call me naive but would it really "upset the apple cart"?
The Queen couldn't do that, as Princess Anne is no longer one of the first four eligible adults in the line of succession.

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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
CoS's attend Privy Council meetings and the briefings by the PM etc. They do the official duties of the monarch during the time that they are appointed. There has to be two at any time as well.
Somewhere I've seen a scan of a pardon for some kind of minor traffic violation signed by the late Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales.
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  #63  
Old 10-02-2011, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Elly C View Post
Just glancing back through this interesting thread which my earlier post was moved to. If I have understood earlier postings correctly, the Queen could, if she chose to, make her eldest daughter a counsellor of state without really causing a major upheaval about hereditary succession- call me naive but would it really "upset the apple cart"?


It would be illegal actually. The law makes it very clear who is eligible and Anne is no longer eligible to serve.


The Queen can only appoint CoS's from those who meet the requirements as stated in law - the first four adults in the line of succession, resident in the UK and over the age of 21, except for the heir to the throne who is eligible at 18. The spouse of the monarch is also eligible to be CoS. This is stated in the 1937 Regency Act. The only major change to what was set out then in the 53 Act was to change the age for the heir to the throne (the situation had been that the heir couldn't serve until 21 although they could be full monarch at 18) and to add the Queen Mum. It isn't automatic that the surviving spouse of the monarch will serve so that it will take new legislation to allow for Philip to continue to be eligible if he survives the Queen.


Thus the law limits the Queen to appointing two from Philip, Charles, William, Harry and Andrew. As Harry will be out of the country for the next couple of months doing his training in Arizona she will be limited to two of three to chose from when she travels to Australia later this month - Charles, William and Andrew.


The Queen can't just change the law at a whim and appoint Anne - she is too far down the line of succession these days and there are three others ahead of her in the line of succession who would be more eligible to replace any of the four current CoS's.
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  #64  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:54 PM
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Thank you for this explanation Iluvbertie - I totally get what you're saying about the illegality of it all. IMO it provides another example of why the rules of succession are in desperate need of an overhaul!
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  #65  
Old 10-03-2011, 03:05 PM
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I believe it is from the 4 adult persons closest in succession who are in the Kingdom at the time, so if Harry is away then Eugenie becomes the 4th person.
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  #66  
Old 10-03-2011, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
I believe it is from the 4 adult persons closest in succession who are in the Kingdom at the time, so if Harry is away then Eugenie becomes the 4th person.

No.

The Act says that the CoS's are the spouse of the monarch and the next 4 in line to the throne over 21 (except for the heir to the throne who is eligible at 18) and resident in the UK. It doesn't say in the UK but resident in the UK - that is that their home is in the UK.

Being temporarily absent, such as Harry being in the US, doesn't make someone else eligible or Harry ineligible - he is still officially living in the UK. It just means that the Queen can't nominate him to serve while she is overseas later this month. She still has Charles, William and Andrew to choose from and she only needs to nominate 2 of those three.

Eugenie is 6th in line and so won't be eligible unless two of those ahead of her in the line of succession become ineligible e.g. within the next 18 years (assuming Kate has a child next year) both the Queen and Charles die then Eugenie would serve until that child turned 18. As William would be King that child would be William's heir and thus would be eligible to serve from age 18.
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  #67  
Old 10-03-2011, 08:21 PM
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Interesting.....Letters Patents for Counsellors of State

Example of letters patent appointing counsellors of State (24 Jan 1974)

London Gazette 46195, 29 Jan 1974, p. 1-2.

Crown Office,
House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW.
24th January 1974.

The Queen has been pleased to issue Her Majesty's Letters Patent under the Great Seal of The Realm in the form following:
Elizabeth The Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith to all Archbishops Dukes Marquesses Earls Viscounts Bishops Barons Baronets Knights Citizens and Burgesses and all other Our faithful Subjects whatsoever to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas it is Our intention to be absent from Our United Kingdom for the purpose of visiting New Zealand Norfolk Island the New Hebrides the British Solomon Islands Papua New Guinea Australia and Indonesia And Whereas by the enactments known as the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953 it is (amongst other things) enacted that in the event of Our absence or intended absence from Our United Kingdom We may in order to prevent delay or difficulty in the despatch of public business by Letters Patent under the Great Seal delegate for the period of that absence to Counsellors of State such of Our Royal functions (except the power to dissolve Parliament otherwise than on Our express instructions and the power to grant any rank title or dignity of the peerage) as may be specified in the Letters Patent And Whereas the persons described by the said enactments as the Counsellors of State to be named in such Letters Patent are as follows that is to say Our most dearly beloved Husband and most faithful Counsellor Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Our most dearly beloved Mother Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Our most dearly beloved Son Charles Philip Arthur George Prince of Wales Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter Our most dearly beloved Daughter Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise Our most dear and entirely beloved Sister Princess Margaret Rose Countess of Snowdon Lady of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India Dame Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order and Our most dear and entirely beloved Uncle and most faithful Counsellor Prince Henry William Frederick Albert Duke of Gloucester Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter Knight of Our Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle Knight of Our Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick Great Master and Principal Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George Knight Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order subject however to provisions enabling Us by the Letters Patent to except from among the number of those Counsellors any person who is absent from Our United Kingdom or intends to be so absent during the period of Our absence Know Ye that by virtue of the said enactments We do hereby delegate for the period of Our absence to the said Counsellors of State (except during their absence from Our United Kingdom those who are or intend to be so absent) the Royal functions specified in the First Schedule annexed hereto to be exercised jointly by not less than two of their number subject to the following exceptions and conditions namely That they the said Counsellors of State shall not have power to dissolve Parliament otherwise than on Our express instructions or to grant any rank title or dignity of the peerage That they shall not receive any homage required to be done to Ourself That they shall not approve or sign any warrant. fiat submission or other document for which Our approval or signature is required for or in connection with any of the matters described in the Second Schedule annexed hereto and That if We signify or it appears to them that they should not act in any matter or for any purpose without Our previous special approval they shall not act in that matter or for that purpose without that approval Commanding all and singular Archbishops Dukes Marquesses Earls Viscounts Bishops Barons Baronets Knights Citizens and Burgesses and all other Our Officers Ministers and Subjects that in everything appertaining to the matters aforesaid they be attendant counselling and helping the said Counsellors of State as it behoves them In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the twenty-fourth day of January in the twenty-second year of Our Reign. By Warrant under the Queen's Sign Manual.
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  #68  
Old 10-03-2011, 10:08 PM
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Wow. That's all one sentence.
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  #69  
Old 10-27-2011, 12:05 PM
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Counsellors for latter part of Australia 2011 trip

It appears that as of Oct. 26, four of the five eligible counsellors of state are out of the country (Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen in Australia; Prince of Wales in Saudi Arabia; Prince Harry in the U.S. for military training; Duke of York in China). I believe two counsellors are required to take action--has anyone seen any indication of what arrangements have been made until one of the others returns?
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  #70  
Old 10-27-2011, 04:26 PM
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That's interesting. It's too bad the London Gazette doesn't publish the full text of the letters patent anymore. The announcement (PDF) just says that "The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 10 October 2011 to delegate certain of Her Royal Functions to Counsellors of State during Her Majesty’s absence abroad for the purpose of visiting the Commonwealth of Australia."
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  #71  
Old 10-27-2011, 04:50 PM
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It looks like the Prince of Wales left unexpectedly (not, as originally scheduled, on his Middle East/Africa tour on Oct. 31) due to the death of the Saudi Arabian crown prince, so perhaps this was not provided for in the letter patent.

Also, it appears from the plain text of the Regency Act of 1937 that the letters patent appointing the counsellors can specify any number of counsellors to act ("or by such number of them as may be specified"), so I suppose there is an argument that a single counsellor (the Duke of Cambridge) could act by himself.
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  #72  
Old 10-27-2011, 11:30 PM
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So it would appear that the four most senior members of the family currently in Britain are The Duke of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and The Earl of Wessex?
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  #73  
Old 10-28-2011, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Windsor-StLawrence View Post
It appears that as of Oct. 26, four of the five eligible counsellors of state are out of the country (Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen in Australia; Prince of Wales in Saudi Arabia; Prince Harry in the U.S. for military training; Duke of York in China). I believe two counsellors are required to take action--has anyone seen any indication of what arrangements have been made until one of the others returns?
Looks like I wasn't the only one who realized that yesterday or the day before. :) I suspect the plan was to have Duke of Cambridge and Prince of Wales be counsellors of state in case anything happens that need their service. But Prince of Wales has to go down to Saudia Arabia to pay his condolence on a very short notice. I think it's just an overnight trip though?

I don't think there is any requirement that no less than 2 counsellors of state MUST be in the country at any time as long as the Queen is out of country, although it's certainly preferred that at least 2 be in the country.
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  #74  
Old 10-28-2011, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by LauraS3514 View Post
So it would appear that the four most senior members of the family currently in Britain are The Duke of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and The Earl of Wessex?
Yes, but all except the Duke of Cambridge are not counsellors of state.
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  #75  
Old 10-28-2011, 03:15 PM
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You are correct: the Prince of Wales was only gone a day, so crisis averted.

As for whether two counsellors are really required, I suspect that the letters patent actually issued, not foreseeing the Prince of Wales's trip, required two counsellors to act. I found this old example of letters patent that authorizes "not less than two" counsellors of state to perform their functions. In addition, the response to this FOI request seems to indicate that this was the standard practice at least between 1991 and 2010 (see part 3 of the answer).

I suppose it is an open question of whether the Regency Act requires two counsellors, however.
This source interprets the language of the statute (functions to be "exercised jointly") as the basis for the "custom" that two counsellors act together.

It is curious that there is no provision permitting others beyond the first four in the line of succession to serve, except where one of those does not meet the qualifications to act as regent under the act. Especially where the Duke of Edinburgh generally travels with the Queen and two of the four eligible counsellors are in active military service, if two counsellors are required then the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York in practice must be available.

Not sure what the original source for this is, but in the comments on the act, it notes that although amendment was made to permit omitting from the letters patent those eligible counsellors who would not be available, "no provision is made for any other Counsellor of State to act in place of the absent Counsellor." The same source also highlights a previous example of this problem when, in 1944, one of the four eligible counsellors was Lord Lascelles, who was a prisoner of war. "According to the terms of the act, he could be dropped from the list of appointed counsellors, but not replaced with another name. Nevertheless, the duchess of Fife was appointed, not quite legally it seems."
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  #76  
Old 10-28-2011, 03:24 PM
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I just wanted to be clear what I was saying earlier. I do know that at least 2 counsellors-in-state is required to do any function that the Queen would normally do (except for certain actions that are out-of-bound for the counsellors-in-state). My question was whether there must be 2 of them in the country at all time whenever the Queen is out of the country. I suspect, based on recent events, that it is not required, but strongly preferred that at least 2 of them be in the country at any time whenever the Queen's out of the country.

I was just trying to clarify what I was talking about, as the matter of how many is needed to do state function (NOW why does the joke about how many royals it take to change light bulb just popped up in my mind? ), is completely separated from the question whether there must be a minimum # of counsellor-in-state in the country at all time whenever the Queen's out of the country. The first one is pretty clear--at least 2 must be present to do state functions although certainly not carved into stone (per the source above). The 2nd isn't so clear.
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  #77  
Old 10-28-2011, 03:29 PM
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Thanks, sorry that I missed the distinction.

I agree that the custom of requiring two counsellors is clear, but I do think there is an argument (perhaps not a good one) to be made based on the text of the Regency Act that the letters patent could authorize a lesser number to act. But, I am not a barrister, let alone a constitutional scholar, so I will leave it at that!
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  #78  
Old 07-06-2013, 07:01 PM
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Yes I know, I didn't know where to put the link. I deleted it.
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  #79  
Old 02-28-2014, 05:22 PM
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Princess Alexandra, Her Royal Highness Princess Arthur of Connaught and Duchess of Fife, served as a Counsellor of State between 1937 and 1944.
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  #80  
Old 02-28-2014, 07:52 PM
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All the current born HRHs have been eligible to serve as a CoS except Beatrice, Eugenie and Michael with the current Duke of Gloucester being eligible twice - from his 21st birthday until Charles turned 18 and then again from the death of his father until Andrew turned 21.

The only eligible CoS who never served in that position was His Grace the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

The full list with eligible dates:

1. The Queen Mother 1937 - 1952 (consort of the monarch); 1953 - 2002 (special addition to list) - died - not replaced
2. Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1937 - 1974) - died - replaced by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester
3. Prince George, Duke of Kent (1937 - 1942) - died - replaced by Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
4. Princess Mary, The Princess Royal (1937 - 1957) - replaced by Princess Alexandra when she turned 21
5. Princess Arthur of Connaught (1937 - 1944) - she was the fourth adult over 21 resident in the UK in the line of succession during that time period - replaced by George Lascelles, eldest son of the Princess Royal and future Earl of Harewood when he turned 21
6. His Grace, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1942 - 1943) - replaced The Duke of Kent who had died and was replaced by Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk
7. Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk (1943 - 1944) - replaced by HRH The Princess Elizabeth, future Queen Elizabeth II who, as heiress to the throne began serving at 18
8. George Lascelles, Earl of Harewood - 1944 - 1951, 1952 - 1956 (from his 21st until Margaret's 21st and then from death of George VI until the present Duke of Kent turned 21
9. Princess Elizabeth, The Duchess of Edinburgh - 1944 - 1952 - ceased to be eligible obviously when she became The Monarch as the CoS represent her
10. Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1951 - 1985) from her 21st birthday until Edward turned 21 in 1985
11. Prince Philip - the Duke of Edinburgh 1952 - present - as consort of the monarch his position is automatic
12. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (1956 - 1965) from his 21st birthday until the 21st birthday of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
13. Princess Alexandra - (1957 - 1962) - from her 21st birthday until the 21st birthday of Prince William of Gloucester
14. Prince William of Gloucester (1962 - 1971) from his 21st birthday until the 21st birthday of Princess Anne - he died less than two weeks later having stopped being a CoS on the 15th August 1971 and he died on the 28th August the same year
15. Prince Richard of Gloucester now The Duke of Gloucester - (1965 - 1966 and 1974 - 1981) he served from his 21st birthday until Charles' 18th and again from the death of his father until Andrew's 21st birthday
16. Prince Charles - since November 20th 1966 - his 18th birthday - the day he could have become monarch without the need for a regency
17. Princess Anne - from 1971 - 2003 - replaced by Prince William
18. Prince Andrew - from 1981 until the present - he will continue to serve for at least another 20+ years until George turns 21 assuming that The Queen and Charles are still alive - chances are that he will serve for most of the rest of his life (and he is seen as a minor royal by many and yet can perform the duties of the monarch if called upon)
19. Prince Edward (1985 - 2005) from his 21st until Harry's 21st
20. Prince William since 2003 - when he turned 21 and he will continue to serve until he is King
21. Prince Harry since 2005 when he turned 21 and again he will serve for most of his life, if not all of it.
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