Prince Charles' slimmed down monarchy presents 'great risks': 'Spread more thinly'

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This year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 70 years on the throne — a milestone no other British monarch has reached. Her historic reign will be commemorated throughout the year, with the main celebrations taking place during a four-day bank holiday in June. In recent months, Her Majesty, 95, has taken a step back from royal duties due to health concerns and, in doing so, attention has turned to her eldest son, Charles, who will one day succeed her.

It has long been said the Prince of Wales has major plans to shake-up the Royal Family once he ascends the throne. 

Reports claim Charles has a long-term plan to slim down the monarchy, meaning a possible recalibration of what it means to be a working royal. 

However, a constitutional expert has warned the future King’s plans could come with “great risks”.

Speaking on Thursday’s episode of the UCL Political Science Events podcast, Dr Craig Prescott said: “I think there are potentially great risks with slimming down the size of the Royal Family, because as Bob [Dr Robert Morris] says, the question is: What is the monarchy meant to do?

“But I think that the other question is: What is it going to stop doing?

“And you’re going to create, perhaps, some disappointment at the things that then get left out. 

“There was already a story I read in the newspaper — I don’t know how much credence it has — saying that BAFTA were disappointed that Prince William didn’t attend the film awards on Sunday in person.”

The Duke of Cambridge has been patron of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts since 2010. 

William did not attend the annual event on Sunday. He instead appeared in a pre-recorded video which aired during the show.

A spokesperson for the BAFTAs announced last week the Duke would not attend the event in person due to “diary constraints”.

Dr Prescott, a constitutional lawyer, claims slimming down the monarchy could mean both working royals, and the organisations they’re affiliated with, are spread “more thinly”. 

He said: “And on a day to day basis, if you have a smaller Royal Family, that are going to be able to do less, and the organisations of which members of the Royal Family are patrons of, or involved with, will have to do less and are potentially spreading themselves more thinly — perhaps creating disappointment. 

“And if I was in BAFTA, and my patron couldn’t attend regularly for the biggest night of the year for my organisation, I might at some point think: maybe we look for another patron.

“So I do think there are potential risks with slimming down the size of the Royal Family.”

The Daily Telegraph’s associate editor Camilla Tominey also questioned how a smaller Royal Family would affect the patronages and charities they’re affiliated with. 

On an episode of Royal Insight in October 2021, she said: “That means by association that you’re going to have fewer royals taking on fewer patronages, and then what does that mean for the charities?”

She noted that the departure of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince Andrew and Prince Philip from traditional royal life meant that there were already “too few royals to go around” comparatively to what the public is used to.

Should Prince Charles slim down the monarchy? Let us know what you think in the comments section

While it is expected that other royals will be “stepping up” to take on these duties, Ms Tominey said that there may be too much work to go around. 

Professor Robert Hazell told the UCL Political Science Events podcast that royals are already in too high demand.

He said: “If you talk to any Lord-lieutenant — these are the people who broker the requests for royal visits from the counties all around the country — they will tell you that the demand is far greater than the supply.”



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