Charles has secret weapon in quest to freeze out Prince Harry & Andrew but there’s a rift he must mend first says expert | The Sun

KING Charles’ plan to hand new roles to Princess Anne and Prince Edward will mean a significant promotion for his youngest brother – and is a long-awaited pat on the back.

His Majesty wants to amend the Regency Act – last changed in 1953 – to widen his pool of ‘counsellors of state’ to stand in while he’s out of the country or unwell.

It would mean the Earl of Wessex, 58, is trusted to carry out state business and is, according to a senior royal aide, “seen – finally you may say – as a safe pair of hands, a solid and worthy individual”.

“It’s a sort of pat on the back, an acknowledgement of his well-earned place in the Firm, and a move that will please him and Sophie,” they add. 

“It’s also a sign of the new King sticking to his plan for a streamlined working monarchy – Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, Edward and Sophie, and Anne.”

But Edward will also be hoping for another significant promotion to be sanctioned by his brother – his creation as Duke of Edinburgh.


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It would be a recognition of the years of work he has done for his late father’s biggest legacy, the Duke of Edinburgh Award – of which he is a trustee as well as chairman.

It has always been understood in royal circles that the dukedom – first granted to Philip in 1947 on his marriage to Princess Elizabeth – would eventually be passed on to Edward.

Indeed Edward himself expected it, hinting in a TV interview in the aftermath of Philip’s death: “It was sort of a pipedream of my father’s… and of course it will depend on whether or not the Prince of Wales, when he becomes king, whether he’ll do that.”

A source who knows Charles has previously claimed the King is not keen on Edward and Sophie’s elevation to the position of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. 

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Edward will also be hoping for another significant promotion to be sanctioned by his brother – his creation as Duke of Edinburgh, which would make Sophie a duchessCredit: Getty

A source close to Edward said Charles’s initial refusal to support the passing on of the dukedom was seen as “petty and pointless” by him and Sophie.

“It was one of Prince Philip’s cherished wishes that Edward would continue the legacy of his Awards scheme, and would do so as the Duke of Edinburgh,” they said earlier this year.

“Why is Charles acting like some royal bed blocker over a title?”

Prior to the Queen’s death, relations between Charles and Edward, while never exactly close, were said to have deteriorated from cordial to “tricky”. 


In February royal commentators thought Edward’s name would be at the fore when the significant post of patron of the Royal National Theatre was due to be announced.

The position was vacant after it was relinquished by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex when she ceased to be a working royal.

But the role was given to Camilla, fuelling rumours of a “snub” to Edward – who could be considered far better qualified to advance the cause of the country’s top thespians. 

Edward loves drama and has rarely been happier than when working as a production assistant for Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company – even though his lowly position as a ‘gofer’ included the distinctly unroyal duty of making the tea for his workmates.

The Queen’s youngest son had gratefully taken Lloyd-Webber’s offer of an opening in the theatrical world after deciding he was unsuited to the military career his father Philip had chosen for him. 

He left the Royal Marines after completing just one third of the 12-month training. 

Edward went on to found his own production company, Ardent, which created dramas and documentaries, including a feature on his late great-uncle the Duke of Windsor.

It was also behind the infamous It’s A Royal Knockout – largely considered a “terrible mistake” within royal circles and something Charles steered well clear of.

However, a well-placed source said the National Theatre patronage was in “no way” considered a slight by Edward, who wished Camilla “the very best” in the role.

Thawed relations

Relations between the Wessexes and Charles and Camilla have reportedly softened since the death of the Queen.

Charles – and particularly Camilla with Sophie – have shown them warmth and kindness, as have Prince William and Kate – a sort of “we’re all in it together; let’s make it work” attitude.

The senior aide says there is “no question” of the King withholding the granting of the Dukedom to Edward, insisting: “It’s just a matter of timing and – just like politics – getting the optics right. 

“There are only so many changes in the family that you can make at a time when many people are still adjusting to the loss of their Queen. I’m sure Charles will make the announcement soon.”

The aide continues: “That will be a big public acknowledgement of the hard work that Edward and Sophie have done, and their increased popularity.

“They’ve become rather more softer and warmer, if you like, in the public’s eyes. 

“People were able to see, both at Philip’s funeral, and the Queen’s, that Edward and Sophie are a thoroughly decent couple who have given wonderful service to the nation. We are lucky to have them.”

Sparing blushes

A closer focus on the Regency Act and the role of the Counsellors of State is likely to come next year when the first overseas tours of the King and Queen Consort are announced, with trips to Canada and Australia already planned.

Currently counsellors of state are appointed from the four most senior adults in the line of succession, plus the consort of a monarch – Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice.

The change to the law – unlikely to be opposed when it comes before Parliament – will ensure the king can extend that list at his discretion, with the option to include Edward and Anne. 

In practice they would effectively take precedence over Harry and Andrew, both of whom are no longer working royals.

The diplomatic solution rather than axing Andrew, 62, and Harry, 38, would spare the troublesome pair's blushes, it is understood.

For the Earl of Wessex his appointment can be seen as a significant “upgrade” – a promotion to ‘board level’ in the royal firm – and confirmation he and his wife are part of Charles’ plans for a slimmed-down monarchy.

It’s a reflection of the years of dependable service he has contributed as a conscientious working royal who carries out engagements on most days of the week.

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Edward was the fourth hardest working royal last year, carrying out 121 engagements, while Sophie did 77 – 12 more than the Princess of Wales.

“Not that his new position will allow him to do anything to frighten the horses,” the aide adds. “It’s effectively just signing the Crown’s approval on such documents as the appointment of new bishops.”

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