Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for 67 years, and at 93 years of age is the world’s longest-reigning living monarch. Prince Charles is the next in line to the throne, and many have observed how the Prince of Wales is increasingly taking on more visible public roles in support of Her Majesty. However, Prince Harry could find himself in an unusual situation as regent when the Queen passes away and his father becomes King.
In 2014, courtiers were reported to have studied the Regency Act to make sure the Palace was prepared for the eventuality.
Last week, Palace sources told The Sun’s royal correspondent Emily Andrews that the Prince of Wales could be ready to take over as Prince Regent in 18 months’ time, when Her Majesty turns 95.
The source called Charles the "Shadow King” for how he has stepped up to act decisively over Prince Andrew’s recent royal resignation.
The Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent in the event of a monarch becoming incapacitated, and was formulated in response to the then-Princess Elizabeth potentially becoming regent while her father George VI suffered ill health.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry (Image: Getty)
The Queen and Prince Charles at October's State Opening of Parliament (Image: Getty)
However, the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 gave rise to a more unusual situation where a regent may be needed, and could place Prince Harry in an unprecedented position.
Professor Robert Blackburn, in his 2006 book “King and Country: Monarchy and the Future King Charles III” sets out how the Duke of Sussex.
He writes: “A very new scenario which almost certainly falls within the scope of ’non-availability’ today, giving rise to a regency, is where the monarch is prohibited on human rights grounds of conscience from performing a particular public act expected of him or her.
“Into this category would fall the possible future situation of Charles III, or any other further monarch, being presented with a parliamentary Bill to sign which he found morally abhorrent, and to which his conscience forbade him to give royal assent.”
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