Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for 67 years, and at 93 years of age is the world’s longest-reigning living monarch. Prince Charles is the next in line to the throne, and many have observed how the Prince of Wales is increasingly taking on more visible public roles in support of Her Majesty. However, Prince Harry could find himself in an unusual situation as regent when the Queen passes away and his father becomes King.
In 2014, courtiers were reported to have studied the Regency Act to make sure the Palace was prepared for the eventuality.
Last week, Palace sources told The Sun’s royal correspondent Emily Andrews that the Prince of Wales could be ready to take over as Prince Regent in 18 months’ time, when Her Majesty turns 95.
The source called Charles the “Shadow King” for how he has stepped up to act decisively over Prince Andrew’s recent royal resignation.
The Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent in the event of a monarch becoming incapacitated, and was formulated in response to the then-Princess Elizabeth potentially becoming regent while her father George VI suffered ill health.
However, the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 gave rise to a more unusual situation where a regent may be needed, and could place Prince Harry in an unprecedented position.
Professor Robert Blackburn, in his 2006 book “King and Country: Monarchy and the Future King Charles III” sets out how this could happen forthe Duke of Sussex.
He writes: “A very new scenario which almost certainly falls within the scope of ’non-availability’ today, giving rise to a regency, is where the monarch is prohibited on human rights grounds of conscience from performing a particular public act expected of him or her.
“Into this category would fall the possible future situation of Charles III, or any other further monarch, being presented with a parliamentary Bill to sign which he found morally abhorrent, and to which his conscience forbade him to give royal assent.”
Professor Blackburn continues: “The monarchy could be deemed incapacitated and not available for carrying out the functions in the task of giving his royal assent, thereby enabling a temporary regent to be appointed in his or her place.
“The Regent would serve in office for a short duration in which the Bill in question could be assented to by him or her, whereupon the Regency would be terminated and the monarch retried as royal head of state.
“Who becomes Regent in a crisis? the Regency Act stipulates that the recent will generally be the person next in line of succession to the throne.
“A person is disqualified from serving as Regent if they are under 18 years of age, or not a British subject, or not domiciled in the United Kingdom, or a Roman Catholic.
Royal fury: Why William’s name could spark backlash in Scotland [INSIGHT]
Camilla heartbreak: Family’s fears about Charles taking throne [REVEALED]
Revealed: How Prince Philip ‘never wanted royal title’ [EXPERT]
“The anticipated Regent would therefore be Prince William in the case of King Charles III ever becoming ‘not available’.
“If Prince William were himself ‘not available’ because he shared his father’s fundamental objection to the Bill requiring Royal Assent, then in present circumstances the choice of Regent would fall upon Prince Harry.”
Although Prince George would be next in line to succession after his father Prince William, followed by his siblings Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the Cambridge children would not be named as Regent as they are under 18.
This means that their uncle Prince Harry, although he is currently sixth-in-line to the throne and therefore very unlikely to ever be King himself, could be named as Regent.
Questions are currently being asked about Prince Harry’s royal role, as he and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex have recently spoken out about how they are finding their position in the spotlight difficult.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently on a break from their royal duties and are spending family time with their son Archie.
Published at Mon, 02 Dec 2019 10:12:00 +0000