The British monarchy exists within a complex framework of national governance overseen by a parliament acting on behalf of the people.
The role of the modern constitutional monarch is to consult, encourage and warn the government of the day, to be a national beacon, and to facilitate the work and needs of people in Britain and around the world.
The crown is hereditary. That is, British kings and queens inherit their positions by birth rather than by merit, and the exact match to the throne is determined by order of succession. The higher in the line of succession, the more closely related to the ruling monarch.
When Queen Elizabeth II died in September after 70 years of reign, her eldest son Charles became king. This changed the line of succession so that the person on the line of succession was one step closer to the throne.
The next five members of the royal family in order of succession are: Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince Harry.
Harry has been separated from the throne several times, but under current British law he could be dead or incapacitated just two times from holding monarchical power.
here, Newsweek We answer readers’ questions about whether Prince Harry will become regent if King Charles and Prince William die.
What is a regent or regent?
A regent is a person appointed by the government to act on behalf of the king when he is under the age of 18 or extremely incapacitated.
Once appointed, the regent can effectively carry out the roles and duties of the monarch, including opening and closing parliament.
One of the major “royal functions” that the Regent is prevented from doing is changing the line of succession. Therefore, the regent cannot hand over the power it temporarily holds to his heirs and reverts to the main royal lineage.
Britain’s most famous regent (when the country was ruled by proxy) was the spiritual impotence of George III in the early 19th century.
In his place, his eldest son George was appointed Prince Regent, and upon the death of George III, the Regent became King George IV in his own right.
Under the Regent Act 1937, the Regent is the next heir, unless otherwise specified.
Could Prince Harry be regent for his nephew Prince George?
Prince Harry is currently sixth in line to the throne, but only two of the six members of the royal family are over the age of 18. Prince William and Prince Harry. This means he is now second in line as regent.
William is appointed regent if Charles III becomes permanently incapacitated by illness. If the king dies, William will inherit his throne.
If both Charles and William die, the throne will pass to William’s son, Prince George, who must by law appoint a regent while he is under 18 (until July 22, 2031). . This regent will become Prince Harry under the Regent Act of 1937.
There is one provision that may prohibit Harry from becoming Regent. The law states that the Regent must “reside in any part of the United Kingdom”. This means Harry will have to leave his home in California and live in the UK.
If Harry is disqualified on this basis, the next heir to the royal family over the age of 18 will be Prince Andrew.
Will the Regency Act of 1937 change?
Either Prince Harry, who moved to the United States after falling out with the royal family, or Prince Andrew, who retired from public life following a public sex abuse scandal, could become regents if Prince Charles becomes Prince Charles. in reality. and William both died, raising questions in Congress about the change in law.
In October, Stephen Benn, Viscount Stansgate, asked the House of Lords whether the government was “willing to continue in a situation where the Duke of York or the Duke of Sussex can exercise powers of state and regent”. Left the public eye and the other left the country? ”
Ben raised the idea that King Charles should be consulted about changing the Regency Act to mitigate this possibility. did.
Sir Nicholas True, Speaker of the House of Lords, said on behalf of the government that it would “always consider what arrangements are needed to ensure the resilience of constitutional arrangements”, adding that “in the past, at the time of accession has proven to be a useful opportunity to consider suitable arrangements.”
Speculative reports suggest that Prince Charles could seriously consider the request, but instead of removing Harry and Andrew, he would change the list of members of the royal family eligible to include people like the Princess of Wales. Enlarge.
So far, no plans for changes have been announced by the government or King Charles.
Newsweek Buckingham Palace has reached out to comment.
Do you have questions about Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their families that you’d like an experienced royal correspondent to answer? Email Royals@newsweek.com. We look forward to hearing from you.