The British monarchy is the largest and grandest in the world, but royal aides are said to have been given a "very stark reminder of the extremely contingent nature of their roles." With King Charles III and Catherine, Princess of Wales, recovering from surgeries, and Prince William suspending royal duties as well, the Crown is out of action, unlike anything seen since the reign of the reclusive Queen Victoria.
Queen Camilla, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Princess Anne, are reportedly the only senior royals available to represent the Crown in public. The King is expected to remain secluded for at least another month, while the Prince and Princess of Wales will be invisible until after Easter. The vast royal estates and palaces will still be run, but may as well "be shuttered like during Victoria's widowhood," according to one royal insider.
"Serving the royals can be a precarious business, as Queen Elizabeth’s staff found out when she died," a former courtier spilled to a publication. "(Royal staff) are not exactly twiddling their thumbs, but there is never going to be the usual volume of business to attend to if your principals can’t do royal jobs."
They continued: "For instance, it takes dozens of people to plan and execute a foreign tour, and those have all been canceled. (Courtiers) devote their lives to serving these people, and one does assume it will just carry on forever. But of course, it doesn’t, and hiatuses like this come as a very stark reminder of the extremely contingent nature of their roles."
But not everyone is on board with the "ghost town monarchy" scenario currently being reported.
"It really is nonsense to suggest that everyone is going to be at a loose end," a friend of King Charles dished. "The public engagements are a huge part of the job, but much, much more happens behind the scenes, and that won’t stop. The king’s people are kept incredibly busy, and I suspect if they only have a chance to catch up, they will be jolly happy."
Charles III, like any monarch on the mend from history, will continue to read and sign his daily state papers delivered from parliament. But despite his duties as head of state, his heir and recuperating daughter-in-law are expected to "stay secluded" until the future queen is back to her normal self.
"I think they have made it very clear that the next few months are about the family," a friend of the Prince and Princess of Wales pointed out. "They are taking time off, and no one begrudges them that. I’m sure the office will be a bit quiet over the next few weeks; that is kind of the whole point."
The Daily Beast reported on the insider revelations.