King Charles’ first major change as King sees Princess Anne set to receive new role in modern monarchy

The details of King Charles' first major move as Sovereign explained as he showcases trust in Princess Anne and Prince Edward in his reign...

King Charles' first major move explained, seen here side-by-side with Princess Anne at different events
(Image credit: Future// Image 1: Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool /Getty Images // Image 2: Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

King Charles’ first major move as Sovereign means Princess Anne could be set to receive a new role in the modern monarchy. 


Even before His Majesty ascended to the throne speculation had arisen over the changes he might want to make going forward when he became monarch. From reports claiming then-Prince Charles might avoid Buckingham Palace and break with royal tradition to more recent suggestions that he could want to “cut down” the Royal Family’s working members, it was thought changes could lie ahead. 

Now King Charles’ first major move has seen him prioritize two of his siblings as Princess Anne and Prince Edward could become Counselors of State.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Princess Anne, Princess Royal attend the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Mr Thomas Kingston

(Image credit: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

As reported by the BBC (opens in new tab), the King’s requested change was read to the House of Lords on November 14 and it’s expected that a reply will soon be given. The request was explained as helping to “ensure continued efficiency of public business when [he’s] unavailable, such as while [he’s] undertaking official duties overseas".

Counselors of State can stand in for the monarch and undertake the majority of their duties on a “temporary basis”. Legally, the Counselors of State include the monarch’s spouse as well as the four people highest in the royal line of succession, as long as they are above the age of 21. 

In line with this, King Charles’ current Counselors of State are Camilla, Queen Consort, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and Princess Beatrice.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales poses for an official portrait to mark his 60th birthday

(Image credit: Photo by Hugo Burnand-Pool/Getty Images)

Princess Anne is 16th in line to the throne because of a law that has since been changed which favored male heirs over female heirs, even though she’s the second-born of the late Queen’s children. Despite this, the Princess Royal’s commitment to supporting the monarchy has been outstanding and she has consistently been found to be the hardest working royal.

The King’s choice highlights his immense respect for her and could be seen as honoring her dedication. In some ways it dispels the effect of the earlier law by giving Princess Anne a role which she might always have been trusted to do, but which her place in the line of succession prevented her from having. 

King Charles III and Princess Anne, Princess Royal arrive ahead of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

(Image credit: Photo by Sarah Meyssonnier - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Edward might be above his sister, but he is still only 13th in line and becoming a Counselor of State would also be a sign of trust in him too. Both were previously Counselors of State earlier in the Queen’s reign before being overtaken in the line of succession.

This thoroughly modern move is not the only interesting detail that can be seen in King Charles’ first major move. Rather than remove Prince Harry who lives in Santa Barbara and isn’t readily available to stand-in, His Majesty has kept him as a Counselor of State. In King Charles’ first address to the nation he expressed his “love for Harry and Meghan” and his choice to not cut them out completely is heart-warming.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the "Our Planet" global premiere

(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

This pathway also means Princess Beatrice remains a Counselor of State too. This could perhaps indicate that she - and potentially her sister Princess Eugenie - may continue to have a part to play in royal life regardless of the reports of King Charles wanting to streamline the monarchy.

It’s not known exactly why King Charles’s first major move as Sovereign was to request the addition of his siblings rather than the removal of Prince Harry who lives abroad or Prince Andrew who retired from royal life in 2019. However, this is significant and it’s a lovely indication of the relationship between King Charles and Princess Anne in particular.

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.