The Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday attended the State Opening of Parliamentfor the first time, taking a key constitutional role on behalf of his grandmother the Queen.
The Duke and the Prince of Wales jointly opened the new session of Parliament as the Queen deploys them as Counsellors of State to deputise for her.
While Prince Charles will be reading the Queen’s speech, two Counsellors of State are required to be present in order to be constitutionally sound.
On Monday night, the Queen deployed both in the role, using the mechanism of Letters Patent.
There are currently four Counsellors of State, with the Duke of Edinburgh also acting as one before his death. Under the 1937 Regency Act, they are specified as the four people next in the line of succession – currently Prince Charles, William, Harry and Andrew.
The palace is under pressure to eject the latter two from their roles and install other adult members of the working Royal family.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who will automatically become a Counsellor of State as the spouse of a monarch when the Prince of Wales becomes King, has been named as a potential replacement, along with Princess Anne and Prince Edward.
The Duke of Sussex can technically still act as a counsellor because he has retained his UK address at Frogmore Cottage despite living in California.
But given his decision to leave the official working Royal family, and Prince Andrew’s enforced “stepping back” over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the public appetite for them performing the role is limited.
So far, Buckingham Palace has rejected calls to seriously address the question of Counsellors of State despite Prince Charles and William being unable to act in the role when they are overseas – a regular occurrence.
On Tuesday, the Duchess of Cornwall was also present at the State Opening alongside her husband, but took no official role in proceedings. She is expected to join a future King Charles annually in a supporting role, as the Duke of Edinburgh did for the Queen.
On Monday night, the Queen “reluctantly” pulled out of the major ceremonial occasion nearly 60 years after she last missed it, following advice from royal doctors as she continues to experience “episodic mobility problems”.
It will be seen as the 96-year-old’s most significant concession yet to her age, with the Queen’s Speech being one of her key constitutional duties.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “At Her Majesty’s request, and with the agreement of the relevant authorities, the Prince of Wales will read the Queen’s Speech on Her Majesty’s behalf, with the Duke of Cambridge also in attendance.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to visit Manchester on Tuesday for the opening of the Glade of Light Memorial, which pays tribute to victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack. The timings will shift very slightly to allow William to do both, a source said.ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!