Prince Harry, Meghan and Prince Andrew are set to be awarded special Platinum Jubilee medals by the Queen next month. The commemorative medals are also being presented to frontline staff at the police, fire and emergency services who have completed five years’ service, as a token of thanks. Members of the royal household with one year of qualifying service will receive medals too.
But as with previous jubilees, the Queen will pay privately for medals to be given to members of her ‘wider’ family, both working and non-working. And this year the non-working number will include Andrew, Harry and Meghan. The Duke of York was forced to relinquish his remaining royal roles and stop using his HRH title last week as he faces his US sex case as a ‘private citizen’.
A royal source said: ‘In common with previous jubilees, it is likely that wider members of the Royal Family would receive the Platinum Jubilee medal… they are funded privately and are commemorative.’ It is understood that Andrew, Harry and Meghan would be entitled to wear their medals with ‘civilian dress’ if they are invited to an event where the dress code says ‘decorations’. But the Queen may not be able to award Harry and Meghan’s medals in person.
Harry is threatening to seek a judicial review of a Home Office decision not to allow him to pay for police protection for him and his family while in Britain. Without this security, he feels unable to travel to the UK, an unnamed spokesman said. The medals will also go to frontline prison and Armed Forces staff, as well as living individual recipients of the George and Victoria cross.
Meanwhile Buckingham Palace officials are considering how to remove the role of Counsellors of State from the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex – a potentially significant position that the pair still possess. The duo, who are ninth and sixth in line to the throne respectively, have already been stripped of their royal patronages and military titles by the Queen – and both asked not to use the handle His Royal Highness.
Palace sources confirmed they are still two of the four Counsellors of State, who would be called upon to take the place of the Queen if she were unable to carry out her duties because of illness or absence abroad.
A second royal source added: ‘It is a genuine problem that the Palace is looking to address. Can you imagine the Duke of York having to sign official documents, for example, because the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge were both abroad, and the Queen became ill? It’s not an exaggeration to say it could put the monarchy in jeopardy.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment, but sources suggested that Andrew, 61, and Harry, 37, could not be stripped of their roles without an Act of Parliament having to be passed first. By law, the counsellors of state are the monarch’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21. If Andrew and Harry were removed they could be replaced by Princess Anne and Camilla.
‘There could be events later this year which make such a change necessary,’ the source said in an apparent reference to the outcome of Andrew’s court case in the US and the publication of Harry’s forthcoming memoirs. The position of Counsellor of State was provided for in 1937 under the Regency Act. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were drafted and passed only in necessity – with nine separate Acts to cover various eventualities since 1728.
Shortly after George VI came to the throne in 1936, a new Regency Act was passed which provided a rule for all future reigns. It was then that the new office of Counsellor of State was created to cover short-term absences. Both Andrew and Harry have been stripped of their royal patronages and military titles amid the former’s ongoing court battle and the latter’s decision to quit ‘The Firm’ and move to North America with Meghan. Last Thursday, the Queen removed Andrew’s honorary military roles and he gave up his use of the HRH style.
Andrew is thought to still be at his 31-room Royal Lodge home and allegedly hosted around a dozen family friends on Friday including Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank before a shoot at Windsor Great Park. The Queen’s move last week was a humiliation for Andrew and came one day after the lawsuit against him took a big step forward when a judge threw out his motion to dismiss the sexual assault case and ruled it can go to trial.