500 Privy Counsellors are barred from the meeting
500 Privy Counsellors are barred from the meeting that will confirm Prince Charles as King
- Richard Tilbrook, clerk to advisers to Monarch has sparked fury by revealing only 200 Privy Counsellors can attend Accession Council
- Means only a priority list will automatically qualify for an invitation
- The historic event last held in 1952 traditionally involves all members of Privy Council
It is never easy pruning back a party invitation list – no more so than when the event involves proclaiming who will succeed Her Majesty the Queen.
An extraordinary row has erupted over plans to bar 500 members of the august Privy Council from the meeting that will confirm Prince Charles as King.
Richard Tilbrook – clerk to the 700-strong body of advisers to the Monarch – has sparked fury by revealing that only 200 Privy Counsellors can attend the Accession Council. It means only a priority list including current Cabinet Ministers, former Prime Ministers and senior judges, as well as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, will automatically qualify for an invitation.
To add insult to injury, other members of the centuries-old Privy Council – who are all entitled to bear the title ‘Right Honourable’ – will have to submit their names into a ballot if they want to attend. The historic event, last held in 1952, traditionally involves all members of the Privy Council.
Richard Tilbrook – clerk to the 700-strong body of advisers to the Monarch – has sparked fury by revealing that only 200 Privy Counsellors can attend the Accession Council
But in a letter seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Tilbrook says that ‘for strong safety and operational reasons’, the guest list for the ceremony at St James’s Palace must be cut to 200 ‘if we are to deliver the first high-profile event of the King’s reign to the high presentational and safety standards required of the occasion’.
But critics claim that Privy Counsellors are being excluded to make way for television cameras under plans to broadcast the Accession Council ceremony for the first time in history.
One senior Privy Counsellor said: ‘It is utterly wrong to ban the great majority of Privy Counsellors from what is the most important meeting they will ever attend. Frankly, the whole thing is undignified.’
Mr Tilbrook said No 10 had agreed to the reduced guest list.
Government sources insisted that responses so far from Privy Council members to Mr Tilbrook’s letter had been ‘largely accepting and sympathetic’.
A Government spokesman said: ‘It would be inappropriate to comment on the planning arrangements for such a highly sensitive event.’
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