‘From The View Of Preserving The Monarchy, It Could Be Seen As Very Short-Sighted’: Will Prince Charles’ Plans For A ‘Minimal’ Royal Family Prove Disastrous For The British Monarchy?
Prince Charles is planning major changes to the British monarchy when he becomes king – and will even “trim down” the royal family to exclude his own brothers and youngest son. That’s according to the latest episode of podcast "The Firm: Blood, Lies and Royal Succession," released today, Tuesday, August 30.
In the podcast, royal reporter Richard Mineards reveals that after acceding to the throne, Charles has radical plans for the thousand-year-old institution, amid concerns that the monarchy is increasingly seen as outdated and elitist.
“We're going to have a much more defined, minimal, royal family given the vision of Prince Charles,” he says. “And that will not include people like Andrew and Edward. He wants the whole thing trimmed down.”
He also believes that – perhaps most extraordinarily – Prince Charles’ vision of this “more defined” royal family does not include Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle.
“So essentially, it'll just be him and his wife Camilla, and then his son William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children,” he tells the host of the podcast. “And that will be essentially it, because Charles thinks that the British public is not ready for an expanded Royal Family. He realizes that the general feeling is, they don't have the deference to the royal family that they might have had in the last 50 years.
“He wants to make the whole idea more open, because there was always this risk, years back, about shining too much light into the Royal Family… But I think Prince Charles realizes that it has to be more open and also accountable to the British public.”
After waiting over 70 years to take his place on the throne – making him the longest monarch-in-waiting in British history – Charles is keen not to be seen simply as a “stop-gap” between the Queen and his son Prince William.
Royal biographer Jane Dismore, author of Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II, says that although Charles has been preparing for the crown his whole life, his personality may mean that he will find it difficult to adjust to the new role.
“For a start, he's never going to reign as long as she did because he hasn't got the chance to, unless we discover the secret of eternal life in the next few years,” she says.
“So I think he won't try to compete with that. But he's got to be careful because he's a very different personality to her. He is a bit more moody. He is more prone to looking inward, perhaps is more introspective than she is.”
And author Cele Otnes says that this moodiness and introspection – as well as Charles’ insistence on doing things his way – could ultimately backfire.
“He's done some things though that you're not supposed to do as a royal,” she says. “He has written some things that are political. He writes opinions about different economic activities... And he's not supposed to do that. The monarch is not supposed to be politically involved, that's Parliament's role.”
Her view is echoed by royal reporter Eloise Parker, who tells the host of the podcast that regardless how popular his “trimming down” of the royal family might be with the British public, Charles’ political aspirations could prove a mistake.
“I think there's a risk with Charles, that he's a little bit more politically motivated than his mother,” she says. “There's always been a slight worry that Charles might dabble with the government a little more than the Queen has, which could become problematic as the nation's king, where being apolitical is paramount to maintaining the popularity of the Royal Family.
“From the view of preserving the Monarchy, it could be seen as very short-sighted, because this kind of thing can really backfire. Once you start meddling in politics, it's very hard to pull back.”
After 12 episodes, "The Firm: Blood, Lies and Royal Succession" has drawn widespread critical and popular acclaim and topped podcast charts around the world. Listen to the latest episode below, or the whole series here.