Prince Harry leaves royals in 'uncharted waters' as King grapples with dilemma


Prince Harry is one of King Charles' counsellors of states

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 24/09/2023

- 08:46

Updated: 24/09/2023

- 09:53

Harry's role as a counsellor of state could be taken away from him

Prince Harry has left the King locked in a predicament over his son's legal role within the Royal Family, with constitutional experts warning Britain is in "uncharted territory".

Prince Harry is one of the few Royal Family members who can step in to rule in the King’ absence, however his position could be challenged legally as the prince no longer meets the requisites for the role.

The Duke of Sussex is one of the King’ counsellors of states who can step in to rule if necessary.

However, counsellors of state, must have a UK residence - which Harry no longer has.

WATCH NOW: Prince Harry's UK return

Harry, Meghan and their two children currently live in Montecito, California and the Sussexes' UK base at Frogmore Cottage was taken away from them earlier this year.

Dr Craig Prescott, an expert on constitutional law, said: “We are really in uncharted waters here: the Prince Harry situation is not something the law easily allows for.

“The idea of the second son of the King choosing a life away from royal duties is not something the law has thought about, and I can imagine that Buckingham Palace would be concerned by that.

“The King had the chance to remove him with the counsellor of state legislation last year, but chose not to.”

Harry’s retention of the counsellor of state title has caused a dilemma which the King is trying to resolve.

The line-up for the counsellor estate positions has proved controversial, as three non-working royals – Harry, Prince Andrew and Beatrice were all on the list.

The King later added Princess Anne and Prince Edward to the list, however Harry and Andrew still retain their positions. Many believe that the King allowed them to keep their roles as not to escalate tensions.

According to royal sources, courtiers have discussed leasing a royal estate property to Harry and Meghan to overcome this legal obstacle.


A friend of Charles said: “The King can see that to remove Harry as a counsellor of state would be seen as an act of antagonism and he does not want to do that. If, as a consequence of that, somewhere on the royal estate needs to be earmarked as a pied-à-terre for his son, that seems a reasonable thing to do.”

Buckingham Palace has denied these claims as “not true” and said that temporary accommodation for Harry will continue to be made available to him.

A friend of the Duke’s said: “Meghan seems to have decided that coming back more is not what she wants to do, but Harry would like to. Having a base in his home country, despite everything that has happened, is appealing. There is work to be done here in terms of the charities, and there would be opportunities in the future where he’ll want to be here a bit more.”

The friend said that if Charles offered the Sussexes a home on the royal estate, “it would be an ever-so-slight softening of relations”.

If Harry had a permanent base in the UK once more, then the “uncharted waters” the Duke currently finds himself in, in relationship to his role, would be calmed.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry has no permanent residence in the UK


A UK residence would also help resolve the matter of security. The prince no longer benefits from Metropolitan Police security when he is back home.

Relations between Charles and his younger son Harry appeared to be strained, as just yesterday it was revealed that the prince turned down an invitation from his father and stepmother to come to Balmoral to join them on the anniversary of the Queen’s death.

The Duke of Sussex instead chose to spend it the anniversary alone, before heading to the Invictus Games later that day.

A source close to Charles said: “It frustrates him that personal issues intrude on the public duty. He’d much rather the focus was on his work, not the soap opera of the private life. It is always frustrating when family dynamics overshadow the public role.”

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