King Charles III’s reign over Britain and the Commonwealth took a dramatic turn on Thursday as the Prime Minister who welcomed him to the throne, supporting him and the nation through his mother the Queen’s funeral barely weeks ago, resigned. The newly crowned King is under pressure too to ensure his monarchy remains fit-for-purpose, and commentators claim he is beginning to install his own regime, cutting the number of working royals at the top of the Firm.
It comes as Charles’ equivalent in Denmark, Queen Margrethe II, who was known to be a close friend of Queen Elizabeth II, removed the titles of some of her grandchildren in a bid to reduce the size of her Danish Royal Family.
Earlier this month she apologised to her family for the move, which saw four of her grandchildren have their royal patronages axed. But, in a statement on her website, the monarch said: “Holding a royal title involves a number of commitments and duties that, in the future, will lie with fewer members of the royal family. This adjustment, which I view as a necessary future-proofing of the monarchy, I want to take in my own time.
“I have made my decision as Queen, mother and grandmother, but, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry.”
Her decision caused a major rift at the heart of her family, despite the Queen hoping they could “now find the peace” to get on with their jobs. Those affected were Prince Nikolai, 23, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and 10-year-old Princess Athena.
The move led some experts, including Andrew Lownie, the author of 2021’s Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, to question whether Charles would follow suit.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he noted how Charles had so far “been clear that it’s only really going to be the direct line of succession that is going to be important”.
He said that this could have a huge impact on popular royals such as Lady Louise Windsor and her brother James, Viscount Severn, who despite their parents Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward playing big roles in the Firm, may see their positions watered-down.
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Other young royals such as Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who will see their brother Prince George one take over the throne, could maintain their status as a result of their brother being a future monarch, he said, adding that the likes of Princess’ Beatrice and Eugenie could have any future royal titles taken away.
Mr Lownie continued: “I suspect that Charlotte and Louis will likely also have some titles because they will be the children of the monarch at some point. But the other royals like Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, in some ways, they’re getting further and further away, they’ve got a disgraced father, but I can’t see them being given titles, I can’t see Prince Edward’s children being given titles or huge roles.
“But I think the irony is that the public do actually want a very active Royal Family,
“They want to see Royal Family members opening things and there aren’t a lot of them to go round so there is this tension between trying to keep the costs down and focus on the key players. And the fact that the public do want these people to do things for them and they’re only able to do them if we pay for them.”
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The author claimed a slimmer monarchy would be a “shame” for the public, who he said take great pleasure in seeing the Firm being active in public.
He added: “I think they want the ones that are popular, you know the likes of Lady Louise, but they just don’t want clearly people like Prince Andrew so they have been selective.
“But you know this is a business and they have got a brand, and they want to push the brands that are popular, and not the ones that people don’t want.”
Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was published by Blink Publishing and is available here.