Amid all this week’s frantic number-crunching and furtive haggling for the Conservative leadership, few were paying much attention to the House of Lords order paper on a quiet Monday afternoon.
Yet in one brief exchange between the Leader of the Lords and a Labour backbencher we caught a glimpse of what may be the first constitutional reform of the reign of King Charles III.
Ministers and senior Palace officials are now finalising plans to avoid any future prospect of the Dukes of Sussex or York being involved in affairs of state in the absence of the King.
Under proposals expected to come before Parliament, possibly within weeks, the King will be able to draw on a wider pool of royal substitutes — not least the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex — to conduct routine constitutional duties when he is out of the country.
The Mail has learned that these proposals were already being considered some months ago, with the approval of the late Queen. Monday’s parliamentary reply from the Leader of the Lords, Lord True, suggests that reform may be imminent.
Ministers and senior Palace officials are now finalising plans to avoid any future prospect of the Dukes of Sussex or York being involved in affairs of state in the absence of the King
Under proposals expected to come before Parliament, possibly within weeks, the King will be able to draw on a wider pool of royal substitutes — not least the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex, pictured — to conduct routine constitutional duties when he is out of the country
At present, when the monarch is absent for whatever reason, state business — such as approvals for most appointments and legislation — can be conducted by two Counsellors of State.
Under the terms of the Regency Acts of 1937 and 1953, these can be appointed from the four most senior adults in the line of succession, plus the consort of a monarch. Today, that means the Queen Consort, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice.
Under the proposals in hand, the King would be able to extend that list at his discretion, with the option to include his two other siblings, Anne and Edward.
Reform is not without some sense of urgency, given that the King and the Queen Consort are likely to be heading overseas soon, the first time that the monarch has been out of the country in seven years.
On the last occasion, the late Queen was attending the 2015 Commonwealth summit in Malta. The Dukes of Sussex and York were among those she appointed as Counsellors of State beforehand.
Under the terms of the Regency Acts of 1937 and 1953, these can be appointed from the four most senior adults in the line of succession, plus the consort of a monarch. Today, that means the Queen Consort, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice
Under the proposals in hand, the King would be able to extend that list at his discretion, with the option to include his two other siblings, Anne and Edward
Reform is not without some sense of urgency, given that the King and the Queen Consort are likely to be heading overseas soon, the first time that the monarch has been out of the country in seven years
Since then, however, Prince Harry has bowed out of royal duties and moved abroad, while Andrew has been removed from public life following his association with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Palace officials are conscious that, at a time of great national, international and economic turbulence, it would be highly embarrassing if the smooth and immediate running of government were suddenly dependent on either of the two errant dukes.
In theory, state business could still be conducted by the Prince of Wales and Princess Beatrice, though she is a private citizen who might not be available at the click of a constitutional finger. She also does not carry the imprimatur of a working member of the Royal Family.
Rather than amend legislation to exclude any specific individuals, so the thinking goes, it makes much more sense simply to expand the options available to the King.
On the last occasion, the late Queen was attending the 2015 Commonwealth summit in Malta. The Dukes of Sussex and York were among those she appointed as Counsellors of State beforehand
Palace officials are conscious that, at a time of great national, international and economic turbulence, it would be highly embarrassing if the smooth and immediate running of government were suddenly dependent on either of the two errant dukes
Rather than amend legislation to exclude any specific individuals, so the thinking goes, it makes much more sense simply to expand the options available to the King
When a state of emergency was declared in February 1974, Princess Margaret, pictured, was one of the Counsellors of State to approve an emergency order
Hence the likely inclusion of other working members of the family. That way, no one need be offended and business can continue normally. Within royal and parliamentary circles, the example of the miners’ strike in 1974 is often cited. At the time, the Queen was on a long tour of Australia and the Pacific.
On February 7, a state of emergency was declared, as Ted Heath’s government was brought to its knees by the industrial action, giving the authorities special powers to take over supplies and distribution of fuel, food and ‘the essentials of life’. The next day, Parliament was dissolved.
In both cases, these orders had to be approved by two Counsellors of State. On that occasion, they were Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.
Let’s hope Britain is not reduced to that sort of chaos again, but it would hardly be very reassuring if it required the signature of the Duke of York to keep the lights on.
Earlier this week, the subject surfaced in the House of Lords following a question by the Labour hereditary peer, Viscount Stansgate. ‘Are the Government happy to continue with a situation where the counsels of state and regency powers may be exercised by the Duke of York or the Duke of Sussex, one of whom has left public life and the other of whom has left the country?’ he asked.
Within royal and parliamentary circles, the example of the miners’ strike in 1974 is often cited. At the time, the Queen was on a long tour of Australia and the Pacific
On February 7, a state of emergency was declared, as Ted Heath’s government was brought to its knees by the industrial action, giving the authorities special powers to take over supplies and distribution of fuel, food and ‘the essentials of life’. The next day, Parliament was dissolved
Lord Stansgate, the son of the late Labour grandee Tony Benn, continued: ‘Is it not time for the Government to approach the King to see whether a sensible amendment can be made to this Act?’
It is standard practice for ministers to bat off such questions with the rehearsed response that Royal Family matters are off-limits. Instead, Lord True, who had been forewarned of this question surfacing on the order paper at least a fortnight earlier, quoted the words of George VI in 1937.
Shortly after his accession, said Lord True, the new King had acknowledged a need ‘to make such provision as will . . . secure the exercise of the Royal Authority’.
Then the noble Lord went further: ‘In that spirit, the Government will always consider what arrangements are needed to ensure resilience in our constitutional arrangements, and in the past we have seen that the point of accession has proved a useful opportunity to consider the arrangements in place.’
In other words, watch this space.
Lord Stansgate (right), the son of the late Labour grandee Tony Benn (left), continued: ‘Is it not time for the Government to approach the King to see whether a sensible amendment can be made to this Act?’ Pictured centre, Mr Benn senior’s granddaughter Emily
Neither the Palace nor Lord True’s office had any further comment yesterday. Yet it did not go unnoticed by beady-eyed constitutional commentators such as Dr Craig Prescott, of the UK Constitutional Law Association. He tweeted: ‘I think this was the first time the issue of Princes Harry and Andrew being Counsellors of State has been raised in Parliament.’
I am told that senior Palace officials were already exploring ways of ‘tidying up’ this potential stumbling block back in the summer.
‘The Queen could see the need for some reforms, while not wishing to exclude the Dukes of Sussex or York,’ said a source. ‘The King is simply following through with that.’
At the Palace, such matters reside jointly with the late Queen’s private secretary, Sir Edward Young, and the King’s principal private secretary, Sir Clive Alderton. For the time being, they are working in tandem at Buckingham Palace to ensure the smoothest possible handover. This is simply an example of unfinished business.
Once the King’s first overseas tours are announced — and, as the new Head of the Commonwealth, he will have many — then a closer focus on the Regency Acts will be inevitable.
Both the Palace and the Government will then want to have a plan in place before Lord Stansgate’s question becomes a chorus.
Meghan Markle admits she’s ‘particular’ and says telling people ‘what you need does not make you difficult or demanding’ as she reveals her frustration at ‘cowering and tiptoeing into a room’ and slams ‘angry black women myth’ in latest Archetypes podcast
Meghan Markle has admitted she is ‘particular‘ but insisted ‘telling people what you need does not make you demanding’ as she claimed black women are stereotyped as ‘angry’ in her latest Archetypes podcast on Spotify.
Discussing her behaviour in work situations, the Duchess of Sussex spoke of her frustration at ‘cowering and tiptoeing into a room’ due to the fear she could be perceived negatively.
‘I’m particular, I think a high tide raises all ships, we’re all going to succeed so let’s make sure it’s really great because it’s a shared success for everybody,’ she said.
‘But I also find myself cowering and tiptoeing into a room and – the thing I find most embarrassing – when you’re saying a sentence and the intonation goes up, like it’s a question.
‘And you’re like, ”oh my God, stop stop like whispering and tiptoeing around it.”
‘Just say what it is that you need. You’re allowed to set a boundary. You’re allowed to be clear, it doesn’t make you demanding. It doesn’t make you difficult, it makes you clear.’
The 41-year-old has previously been branded ‘Duchess Difficult’ following claims about her ‘dictatorial’ behaviour and 5am emails – which allegedly prompted her aide Samantha Cohen to quit.
Other ‘broken’ royal staff told of being reduced to tears by bullying and temper tantrums. Meghan has always strenuously denied any claims of bullying.
In the episode, called Upending the ‘Angry Black Woman’ myth, Meghan chats to actress Issa Rae and the comedian Ziwe Fumudoh to explore the stereotypes around ‘women of colour’.
Among the episode’s other revelations:
- Meghan suggests the ‘archetype’ of the ‘angry black woman’ who is ‘overly emotional’ dates back to slavery;
- Suggests the trope has influenced her own behaviour, and she ‘makes a choice’ to be as ‘grounded as possible’ because of things that are ‘going to be said, no matter what’;
- Reveals she watched the nomination hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black Supreme Court judge, and found them ‘painful and gripping’;
- Says when she was casting for black women roles as an actress the characters always had an ‘edge or an attitude’;
- Reveals she’s had a genealogy test which identified her as 43 per cent Nigerian;
- Says it is time to ‘try on what it feels like when we’re allowed to just live our truths’ and ‘to be direct without being called angry, to exist on our own terms, to just be, to just be human’.
On her new podcast today, the Duchess of Sussex said she often found herself ‘cowering and tiptoeing into a room’ due to the feeling that she could not say what she wanted without being perceived negatively
Meghan has been dogged by allegations of bullying her staff at Kensington Palace, with ‘broken’ royal aides telling of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear and being reduced to tears. She’s always denied any claims of bullying
In ‘Upending the “Angry Black Woman” myth’, the Duchess of Sussex chats to actress Issa Rae (left) and comedian Ziwe Fumudo h(right) to explore the stereotypes around ‘women of colour’
During the podcast, Meghan described attending a ‘socially distanced drinks’ two years ago and being given a book called Algorithms of Oppression by Internet expert Safiya Noble.
‘Once I arrived back home and when I did I was actually shocked. Did you know this? I kept nudging my husband as we were sitting there in bed,’ she said.
The duchess said the book’s thesis that the algorithms behind search engines like Google are racist left her ‘jaw on the floor’.
She recounted how when Miss Noble searched ‘why are black women so’ the results included ‘so loud’, ‘so mean’ and ‘so angry’.
Earlier in the episode, Nigerian-American comedian Miss Fumudoh described how her ‘brash and rude’ onscreen persona was ‘in direct opposition to what a woman should be publicly, according to sexism’.
In a monologue responding to her comments, Meghan said she was ‘so right’ and that ‘when looked at through the lens of black women’ her point of view was ‘pretty inspiring’.
Introducing the next segment – a conversation with actress Miss Rae – Meghan said it was time to ‘try on what it feels like when we’re allowed to just live our truths… to be direct without being called angry, to exist on our own terms, to just be, to just be human’.
After asking Miss Rae if she wants a coffee, Meghan reveals she ‘only recently started drinking coffee again’ after ‘not even thinking about it’ when she was in the UK.
‘When I was on set, of course it was like Nespresso all day, every day. And then I didn’t drink it really in the UK and didn’t think about it.’
Asked why she started drinking it again, Meghan said: ‘It’s a great question, it’s a great question but like I guess because life started to come back and so people started to come when guests come or meetings or and they’re like oh would you like coffee?’
The duchess later gave another insight into her own acting appointment, and how when she used to go through casting lists of black characters ‘they always had to have an edge or an attitude’.
One example of alleged racism against black women discussed on the podcast was the treatment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate judiciary committee hearings.
Judge Jackson, the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was quizzed on her views on issues such as critical race theory and whether they would interfere with her decision making.
Meghan said: ‘I remember watching these hearings in the summer of 2022. They were gripping and painful. Then Judge Jackson remained poised and composed no matter what was happening for her beneath the surface, which I cannot begin to imagine.’
At the end of the podcast the duchess paused to hear a rendition of the poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.
Meghan Markle is set to speak on the ‘power of women’ at an evening event in the US next month – with tickets costing $5,000 (£4,400) per table
Today’s podcast coincides with the news Meghan will attend a lavish dinner event in the US next month to talk about the ‘power of women’.
The duchess, who is currently living in her $14million (£12.3million) California mansion with Prince Harry after stepping back from royal duties, will be interviewed on-stage during the event billed ‘The Power of Women: An Evening with Meghan’.
She will take to the stage with Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the first woman rabbi ordained by the Reconstructionist Judiasm movement, at the event.
Tickets for the event, which takes place at the Marriot Downtown Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 29, costs a whopping $5,000 (£4,400) per table, with any photography or recording on the night banned.
It is not known how much Meghan will have been paid for the appearance, however PR experts previously predicted she could earn up to £1m per speech.
The online description for the event details: ‘Women’s Fund is proud to welcome Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, to Indianapolis.
‘The Duchess is a mother, feminist, and champion of human rights. She is a lifelong advocate for women and girls, a constant thread she weaves through humanitarian and business ventures.
‘Rabbi Sandy Sasso, an acclaimed writer and community leader, will serve as moderator for the evening.
‘Rabbi Sandy Sasso is the first woman rabbi ordained by the Reconstructionist movement and previously served at Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis.
‘Tables for Power of Women are available for purchase to groups and organizations that support the mission of Women’s Fund.’
The event has been organised by the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana – a non-profit which assists local women experiencing hardship or disadvantage.
The Duchess of Sussex will be interviewed on-stage during the event billed ‘The Power of Women: An Evening with Meghan’
The duchess is following in the footsteps of other celebrities with the appearance – other keynote speakers have previously included former first lady Michelle Obama.
In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined New York-based Harry Walker Agency, which represents the Obamas and the Clintons.
PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun the pair will ‘clean up’. They plan to be available for talks on social issues including racial justice, gender equality, the environment and mental health, according to the LA Times.
‘I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner. It will be one of the great income generators for them. The speaker’s circuit is a natural safe space for them to plunder,’ he added.
The Harry Walker Agency has high-profile clients, many of whom are friends of the Duke and Duchess, including Prince Harry’s environmentalist friend Jane Goodall and Oprah Winfrey.
Others include Meghan’s best friend Serena Williams and the actor Tyler Perry – whose $18million (£15million) Beverly Hills mansion the couple previously lived in.
News of Meghan’s latest appearance comes as she faces backlash for saying Deal or No Deal in the US ‘reduced her to a bimbo.’
Meghan made the comments while speaking on the Archetypes podcast with Paris Hilton. The episode, called Breaking Down ‘The Bimbo’, heard Meghan say she wants her daughter Lilibet to be valued first for her mind, rather than ‘beauty not brains’ as she was on the TV gameshow.
‘I ended up quitting the show. I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage. I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks. And little substance,’ the duchess said of her 34-episode stint on the programme.
An online description for the event sees Meghan described as ‘a lifelong advocate for women and girls, a constant thread she weaves through humanitarian and business ventures’
Actress and chat show host Whoopi Goldberg said Meghan’s remarks were naive. ‘That’s TV, baby. But what did you think you were going to? You know that’s what the show was,’ she said. ‘When you’re a performer, you take the gig.’
Women who appeared on the show at the same time as Meghan tell a rather different story and say the atmosphere was fun rather than oppressive or sleazy.
One of the briefcase girls who worked with Meghan was Lisa Gleave, a successful Australian model, TV presenter and actress now living in LA.
Like Meghan, she had to master the art of walking downstairs in a dress and five-inch heels, holding a briefcase and remembering the cardinal rule: look delighted for the contestant if things go well for them and sad if not.
Miss Gleave told the Mail of her stint on Deal Or No Deal that she felt ‘blessed and lucky to have been on it’, adding: ‘For me it was a joy and a great career move. Most of the girls would say that.’
She said: ‘I never looked at it as a show that objectified women. The cast and crew treated us very well. It was a professional set. For many of us, it was a stepping stone on our careers and we went on to greater things.’
While she acknowledged the show ‘revolved around beautiful women’, they were ‘all smart and intelligent women and nobody treated us like bimbos’.
News of Meghan’s latest appearance comes as she faces backlash for saying Deal or No Deal ‘reduced her to a bimbo’
Dina Cerchione, a stylist who worked on Deal or No deal as well as for shows across several US networks including CBS, NBC, ABC, Netflix and HBO, said ‘it’s been a rough week watching a show I love so much be criticised’.
‘It was one of the most wonderful, challenging, high-profile gigs of my career and I loved every minute of it,’ she wrote on Instagram.
‘Everyone on the show from my wardrobe team to the producers, the crew, hair and makeup, Howie and especially the models worked SO very hard to make the shows the best they could for the contestants and the fans who adored it.
‘I have thought a lot about this, I wouldn’t change a thing.
‘We all knew how lucky we were and how special our TV family was. There was a mission at work to do the best we could, take care of our full team and treat everyone with the respect they earned and deserved.’
Miss Cerchione also said the show was ‘a launch pad for so many of the women,’ noting ‘hosting and being on other television shows,’ and even ‘being on Oprah’ — a possible reference to Meghan’s bombshell interview.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11354319/How-question-House-Lords-revealed-Palace-plan-sideline-Harry-Andrew.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 the Palace plan to sideline Harry and Andrew, writes ROBERT HARDMAN