Counsellors of State

Counsellors of State

There are now seven Counsellors of State: the monarch’s spouse and the next four adult members of the Royal Family in the Line of Succession (those that have reached the age of 21 and are resident in the UK), The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess Royal. They are authorised to carry out official duties on behalf of the monarch in the event that he is unable to or is unavailable (either due to illness or absence abroad).

Counsellors are authorised to carry out most of the monarch’s official duties with the exception of the following: 

  • Commonwealth business;  
  • the dissolving of Parliament (unless the monarch instructs the Counsellor to do so);  
  • the creation of peers;  
  • appointing a PM 

By law, the Counsellors of State are now:  

  • Queen Camilla
  • The Prince of Wales 
  • The Duke of Sussex 
  • The Duke of York 
  • Princess Beatrice
  • The Duke of Edinburgh 
  • The Princess Royal 

Counsellors have to be 21 (18 for the heir to the throne) and domiciled in the United Kingdom. The Duke of Sussex is still eligible as he maintains a home here.

Counsellors of State were first created in 1911 by George V and established by the passing of the Regency Act of 1937. The Counsellors of State Act 2022 allows The Princess Royal and The Duke of Edinburgh to act as Counsellors of State in the King’s absence.  

Image, top: State Opening of Parliament, May 2022; Copyright House of Lords 2022 / Photography by Annabel Moeller


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