What happens if King Charles’ cancer diagnosis leaves him incapacitated? How Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward could act as Counsellors of State in Charles’ stead – with regency of Prince of Wales also an option

Following King Charles’ shocking cancer diagnosis and the announcement that he will be temporarily stepping back from public-facing duties, questions have arisen over who can stand in for the monarch in the event the King is ‘incapacitated’.

Buckingham Palace dramatically revealed today that doctors had discovered an unspecified form of cancer during treatment for a benign prostate condition.

It is understood King Charles’ condition has been caught very early and the prognosis is good.

The King will continue his weekly audience with the Prime Minister and will carry on with behind the scenes state business and official papers. 

While The King is reported to be ‘hugely positive’ following the news, legislation is in place in the event a monarch becomes ‘incapacitated’.

It is understood King Charles’ condition has been caught very early and the prognosis is good

The Regency Act of 1937 came into force during the reign of King George VI — King Charles’ grandfather — due to the fact that his heir, Queen Elizabeth II, was only 10-years-old at the time. 

The Act applies when a monarch succeeding to the throne is under the age of 18, is out of the country, or is incapacitated. 

In the case of temporary incapacity or an absence from the country, the monarch can delegate ‘Counsellors of State’ on their behalf.

This was the case for Queen Elizabeth II when she asked Prince Charles and Prince William to attend the State Opening of Parliament in 2022.

Counsellors of State are all members of the Royal Family and two or more members can carry out Royal functions at a time. 

This would be the King’s partner and the next four in line to the throne who have reached the age of 21: Queen Camilla, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Sussex, The Duke of York and Princess Beatrice.

However, in 2022, the Royal Household said this would only apply to working royals. 

Therefore, in the event of incapacity, Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward would support the King. 

Queen Camilla (pictured)

Prince William (pictured)

Queen Camilla and Prince William can both act as Counsellors of State in Charles’ stead

Princess Anne (pictured)

Prince Edward (pictured)

The Counsellors of State Act 2022 added Princess Anne and Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh

Legislation also covers an appointed ‘Regent’ if a monarch becomes permanently incapacitated and is no longer able to carry out their Royal duties. 

The ‘Regent’ is the next in line to the throne: Prince William. He would assume most of the monarch’s functions with the exception of granting Royal Assent to a Bill. 

Buckingham Palace said in a statement tonight: ‘During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.

‘His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.

‘The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure.

‘He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.

‘His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.’

The King is understood to have personally informed his sons Prince William and Prince Harry about his condition.

The Duke of Sussex will travel to the UK to see him in the coming days, a source close to Harry said.

The King also apologised for having to postpone his upcoming engagements. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk