Home Australia RICHARD EDEN: What a friend of Prince William told me about his plans and why it left me worried about the future of the Royal Family

RICHARD EDEN: What a friend of Prince William told me about his plans and why it left me worried about the future of the Royal Family

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The royal line-up on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the King's birthday on Saturday...

The Princess of Wales on the balcony of Buckingham Palace was a sight that lifted the spirits of all royalists. However, there was something about that balcony scene after Trooping the Color last Saturday that left me uncomfortable.

And my sense of unease was deepened by a conversation I later had with a friend of Catherine’s husband, Prince William.

The sovereign’s birthday parade always used to be an opportunity to celebrate the extended royal family. There was no greater symbol of this than a palace balcony packed for the flight, with older royals, such as the Duke of Kent, squeezed alongside junior members of the family, including his glamorous granddaughters Lady Amelia and Lady Marina Windsor. .

However, over the weekend, the younger royals were asked not to join the more senior members of ‘The Firm’ on the balcony.

Instead, there was the sad sight of Lord Frederick Windsor, son of Queen Elizabeth’s beloved first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, glimpsed behind the curtain in the palace’s Central Room. Like his recently bereaved sister, Lady Gabriella Windsor, Lord Freddie was asked to remain out of sight, like an embarrassing relative.

The royal line-up on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the King’s birthday on Saturday…

...and in 2019 the much wider range than just five years ago

…and in 2019 the much wider range than just five years ago

This is because King Charles decided to continue his late mother’s post-pandemic policy and allow only “working royals” out on the balcony.

Therefore, the Duke of Kent was left alone without his wife or children. His sister, Princess Alexandra, was too frail to join him even though she is still considered a “working royal.”

Apart from the King, Queen Camilla, the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children, the only others on the balcony last Saturday were Princess Anne and her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh , and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Queen Elizabeth abandoned her decades-old tradition due to the “Harry and Meghan problem” as well as the “Duke of York dilemma.” She felt that she could not exclude those who had renounced royal duties from her if she allowed other “non-working royals” to join her on the balcony.

So last weekend we were left with vast empty spaces that previously would have been filled with the smiling faces of the youngest royals.

When I later spoke to Prince William’s friend, I hoped he would bring me news of a change in this boring policy.

However, what he told me left me worried about the future of the monarchy.

The friend said William was “completely in agreement” with his father about the need for a “thinned monarchy”.

He told me: ‘When the senior members of the family retire, His Royal Highness will not invite anyone else to become working royals. It remains to be seen whether he will want his two youngest children to work as royals.”

At 59 years old, the Duchess of Edinburgh is the only other member of ‘The Firm’ under the age of 60. This means that when William ascends the throne, he and Catherine may be the only full-time royals.

“That’s what William wants,” the source says. “He sees small European monarchies as a model for the future.”

William and Kate with Charles and their three children watching the flyover from the Palace balcony on Saturday... William is said to want a European-style 'slimmed monarchy'

William and Kate with Charles and their three children watching the flyover from the Palace balcony on Saturday… William is said to want a European-style ‘slimmed monarchy’

However, when King Charles made his plans for a “slimmed monarchy,” Prince Harry was a key part of them.

That was made clear at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 when, following encouragement from then-Prince Charles, the monarch allowed only he, Camilla, William, Catherine and Harry to watch the flight from the balcony. It was intended as a symbolic display of the future of the monarchy.

However, Harry and Meghan’s decision to abandon their royal duties has thrown the King’s plans into disarray. They were intended to play an important role, sharing duties and patronages with William and Catherine.

In my opinion, it would be a mistake for William to continue with his plans for a radically reduced monarchy when Harry and Meghan are no longer there to support him.

Instead, he should ask his cousins, such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and the Earl of Wessex, to share the burden with him when the time comes.

Queen Elizabeth, who asked her own cousins ​​to help her fulfill her commitments, proved that the monarchy is stronger when it works as a team.

I put out what I was told at Kensington Palace and it was ‘no comment’

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