Princess Beatrice could become acting monarch if the Queen goes into coronavirus quarantine, it has been claimed.
The pandemic could force the Regency Act 1937 – which lists Counsellors of State who can fill in for the monarch – to create an extra position.
The current Counsellors of State are the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York.
But Prince Harry’s departure from the Royal Family, and Prince Andrew’s dealings with Jeffrey Epstein, mean there would be controversy if either were required to take on the role.
Prince William is likely to be the only Counsellor who is both a working royal and able to remain out of self isolation.
Counsellors of State are made up of the consort of the Queen and the first four people in the line of succession.
Those who are chosen have to be 21 or over even though the heir to the throne becomes qualified when they reach 18-years-old.
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If two Counsellors are required and only one is available then Parliament may have to amend the Regency Act.
This role is likely to go to Princess Beatrice of York who is ninth in line to the throne.
If the Queen and her Counsellors are unable to carry out their duties then the Government could fall apart as someone has to be able to carry out the duties of the sovereign.
Tasks undertaken by Counsellors and the sovereign include granting royal assent, issuing royal proclamations, appointing judges and Queen’s Counsel.
However, it is likely that the Duke of York will most likely step up as Counsellor, even if he is a controversial choice given his recent links to convicted sex offender billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Royal historian Marlene Koenig explained that extra Counsellors are needed but that it is unlikely to happen to Princess Beatrice.
She said: “In 1944, when Lord Lascelles was a prisoner of war, he was briefly removed as a Counsellor of State and replaced with Princess Alexandra of Connaught."
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