• Prince Andrew retained his Counsellor of State status after settling his sexual assault lawsuit last week
  • A journalist claimed palace officials are considering removing Prince Andrew and Prince Harry from the list of Counsellors of State
  • The claim received mixed opinions on social media

Royal fans have mixed opinions about rumors that Prince Harry and Prince Andrew could lose another key role after being stripped of their royal patronages and military titles.

Prince Harry gave up his honorary military titles and royal patronage appointments last year after he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down from their roles as working members of the royal family and moved to California. However, Prince Andrew was stripped of his after facing a sexual assault lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre, who alleged that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York when she was 17.

Prince Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, and Prince Andrew, who is ninth in the line of succession, have retained their roles as Counsellors of State — the legal status allowing them to return to royal duties if Queen Elizabeth II is ill and other senior royals are also unwell or abroad.

According to the royal family's official website, the Counsellors of State include the monarch's spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21. Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew currently hold the positions as the Duke of Cambridge's and the Duke of Sussex's children, who are higher up the line of succession than the Duke of York, are minors.

However, journalist Richard Eden, editor of the Daily Mail Diary, claimed that Buckingham Palace officials are considering removing Prince Harry and Prince Andrew from the roles.

Dr. Craig Prescott, an academic and expert in U.K. constitutional law, told The Times U.K. that it seemed "inevitable" that Prince Andrew will be removed after the duke settled his case with Giuffre for an undisclosed sum last week.

"They could draft in Princess Anne or Prince Edward and specifically make them Counsellors of State. There is a precedent for that, of a fashion, with the Queen Mother. In 1953 she was specifically made an extra counsellor. They may look to add the Duchess of Cambridge," Prescott said.

Royal expert and historian Hugo Vickers said, "If Prince Andrew is not taking part in royal life, then he shouldn't be taking part as a Counsellor of State either."

Unnamed sources told The Guardian, however, that Prince Andrew is to remain a Counsellor of State, along with retaining his title Duke of York and military rank of vice admiral, and that there are no immediate plans to remove the titles.

The royal family has not made any official statements about the matter.

Some Twitter users agreed that Prince Andrew and Prince Harry should be removed from the list of people who can act in the Queen's place and step in temporarily to carry out her official duties if she is unable.

"It's reckless not to do this [as soon as possible]," one person commented. Another agreed, "It's about time that happens."

"Someone who is going to sue the government isn't exactly a choice pick for taking over the Head of State's duties. Charles and William had better stick close and I'm sure they will now," a third user wrote, seemingly referring to Prince Harry's ongoing legal battle against the Home Office over his request to personally pay for police protection when he visits the U.K.

Other royal fans believe Prince Harry doesn't deserve to have his role revoked.

"Not Harry," one person commented.

"Being a working royal is not a requirement to be a Counsellor of State. Maintaining a domicile in [Great Britain] is. Harry still maintains a domicile at Frogmore Cottage. Popularity is also not a requirement," another user wrote, arguing that the Duke of Sussex still qualifies for the role.

Some social media users offered suggestions as to who can potentially replace Prince Andrew and Prince Harry in the roles.

"[There are] several great options: Camilla, [Princess] Anne, [Prince] Edward [and] Kate. All working royals [who are] committed and loyal," one commented.

"The Princess Royal and Prince Edward have earned our respect. The other two have destroyed their reputation, and of course, it's working royals who should hold these positions," another wrote.

"Anne has been totally overlooked. [There is] nobody as practical and sensible in a crisis. It should be her and Edward. If Andrew can't keep his name on a golf club, he can't do COS, and Harry is no longer working royal," a third user claimed.

Removing Prince Andrew or Prince Harry and adding others to the list of Counsellors of State would require new legislation as the role is enshrined by the Regency Acts 1937-53, according to the royal family's website.

Prince Harry
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Prince Harry waves as he leaves Nottingham's new Central Police Station on October 26, 2016 in Nottingham, England. Joe Giddins - WPA Pool/Getty Images