British King Charles III on Thursday was reportedly planning to extend the pool of royals allowed to act for him in his absence, effectively sidelining non-working royals Prince Harry and the Duke of York.
Charles is expected to amend the “Regency Act” to add his brother Edward, the Earl of Wessex, and his sister Anne, Princess Royal, The Daily Telegraph and the BBC reported, quoting sources.
The Telegraph reported the amendments could go before parliament “within weeks”, quoting “royal insiders” as saying it was a “logical step”.
Buckingham Palace has not commented officially.
Currently the list of royals who can temporarily take over on the 73-year-old monarch’s behalf if he is away or ill only includes Charles’s wife Camilla, heir to the throne Prince William, Harry, Andrew, and his daughter Beatrice, who is not even a working royal.
A longer list would allow the Palace to bypass Harry, who has quit as a working royal and lives in the US, and Andrew, who has retired from public life over his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of sex with a minor, without directly excluding them.
Daily Express royal reporter Richard Palmer tweeted that amendments “to create more stand-ins for the King is now a priority, sources have confirmed”.
He said this would mean “the King never has to ask non-working royals such as Harry, Andrew or Beatrice to stand in for him”.
The role includes signing documents and receiving ambassadors, the BBC said.
The regency issue was raised in the House of Lords Monday, with Labour peer Stephen Benn questioning the current situation where Andrew and Harry can exercise these powers.
“Is it not time for the government to approach the King to see whether a sensible amendment can be made to this Act?” Benn asked.
Senior Tory peer Nicholas True appeared to confirm such discussion, saying that the government “will always consider what arrangements are needed to ensure resilience in our constitutional arrangements”.
He added that “in the past, we have seen that the point of accession has proved a useful opportunity to consider the arrangements in place”.
Queen Elizabeth II suffered ill health during the last year of her life.
She asked Charles to deputize for her at events such as the opening of parliament, showing that the legislation is “still very relevant”, Benn said.