Princess Anne And Prince Edward Are Receiving Elevated New Roles In The Royal Family

Before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there were rumors that her son — now King Charles III — was planning on making significant changes to the monarchy. Most notably, there was speculation he would cut down the number of full-time working royals to just eight members of the family. That list would reportedly include King Charles and Queen Camilla; Prince Edward and Sophie, Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar; William and Catherine Middleton, Prince and Princess of Wales; and Anne, Princess Royal, per Insider.

But Charles' decision about working royals proved us all wrong, with the king choosing to keep the total number of working royals at 11 for now. In addition to those previously mentioned, Queen Elizabeth II's cousins — the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Gloucester, and his wife the Duchess of Gloucester — are going to continue with their duties, per Express.

Charles will need the extra assistance since he is planning a royal tour to kick off his reign, including stops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and various Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean. Camilla will reportedly be joining him when she can, per the Mirror. And while William and Kate will be taking on more duties, they might not be available to stand in for the king and queen whenever needed. 

With that in mind, Prince Edward and Princess Anne have been given important new roles.

Prince Edward and Princess Anne can now stand in for King Charles when needed

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar, and Anne, Princess Royal, have been named Counsellors of State, which gives them the ability to stand in for King Charles III when he is unwell or traveling out of the country. As People noted, the position is typically reserved for "the monarch's spouse, followed by the first four people in the line of succession over the age of 21." That would be Camilla, queen consort; William, Prince of Wales; Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; Prince Andrew; and his oldest child, Princess Beatrice.

But with Harry living in the United States — and Andrew stripped of his duties after being embroiled in scandal — Charles made the request to add Edward and Anne to the list. Still, the move was seen by some to be a snub to Harry, who has had a strained relationship with his father since he stepped down from his royal duties in 2020. However, royal biographer Angela Levin told the Daily Mail that, while the decision could make Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, "absolutely furious," it was "necessary" and "what the King needs."

It should be noted, however, that the change didn't come out of nowhere. There has been mounting pressure from the public about Harry and Andrew's roles in the monarchy, especially after Queen Elizabeth II was diagnosed with COVID-19 in February, per the Independent.