King Charles’ plans to slim down the monarchy could mean Prince Edward will miss out on becoming the Duke of Edinburgh – a promise made to him by the Queen before she died. The late monarch had promised her youngest son that he would succeed his father as Duke after his death. She had written the pledge down and handed it to Sophie Wessex as a wedding present when she married Edward in June 1999. But now that Charles has succeeded to the throne, Edward will miss out on the new title and his wife, Sophie, will no longer be Duchess of Edinburgh, a palace source has claimed.
The source told the Daily Mail: “The King wants to slim down the monarchy [so] it wouldn’t make sense to make the Earl the Duke of Edinburgh.” Instead, King Charles will reportedly keep the title himself but not use it, the source claimed.
They said: “It’s a hereditary title which would then be passed on to the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s son, James, Viscount Severn. Essentially, this was accepted by the Earl when he agreed that his children would not be a prince or princess.”
This is despite Prince Andrew’s daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice, being princesses. But that was before Charles’ plans to slim down the monarchy and since then, “there has been a policy change”, the source added.
At the time of their wedding in 1999, Buckingham Palace made clear that Charles agreed with his parents’ plans.
In the statement, released 23 years ago, officials stated: “The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also agreed that the Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course when the present title held now by Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown.”
It comes just days after Charles asked Parliament to name him and Princess Anne as Counsellors of State to stand in on key occasions. Some royal watchers said the reason for this was to avoid the prospect of Princes Harry and Andrew being called upon to complete official royal duties when the King and Prince William are overseas.
The statement read: “To ensure continued efficiency of public business when I’m unavailable, such as while I’m undertaking official duties overseas, I confirm that I would be most content should Parliament see fit for the number of people who may be called upon to act as counsellors of State under the terms of the Regency acts 1937 to 1963 to be increased to include my sister and brother, the Princess Royal, and the Earl of Wessex and Forfar.”
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The legal adjustment is reported to be a bid to sideline Prince Andrew, who is himself a Counsellor of State despite no longer being a working member of the Royal Family. The shift in royal tradition is said to have “frustrated” the Duke of York who is reported to be steadily coming to terms with his loss of royal duties.
When Charles became King, several members of the Royal Family were given new titles. Prince William became the Prince of Wales, while Kate also took on the title of the Princess of Wales.
William and Kate also inherited Charles and Camilla’s former titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, making them the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge. Camilla also became Queen Consort, after Queen Elizabeth II announced she wanted her to take on the new title before she died.