Adding to the speculations about Prince Charles's plans of a slimmed-down monarchy, a recent report claimed that he is considering not passing on the Duke of Edinburgh title to Prince Edward. A royal expert analysed the potential reasons behind Charles's refusal to bestow the honour to his younger brother, which was also the wish of the title's former holder- their late father Prince Philip.
In a report for Mail Online, royal expert Richard Kay writes that the heir apparent's second thoughts about the title could also be a part of his plans for the British monarchy when he takes over the throne. The Prince of Wales is aware that the Britain of which he will become monarch is undergoing huge social and cultural change, and the monarchy will need to adapt with it to survive. He had been giving more and more thought to his future as King even before the death of his father in April this year.
A family friend of the Prince of Wales said, "It isn't just about whether Edward becomes Duke of Edinburgh by rite of passage or not, there have been discussions about the whole top tier of the Royal Family."
The Duke of Edinburgh title was passed on to Charles after Prince Philip's death, and will revert to the Crown when he succeeds his mother Queen Elizabeth II. He can then either pass it to Prince Edward or any other family member of his choice, or keep it in reserve for the future.
It has been reported multiple times that Charles is planning to remove several key royals from their senior positions when he becomes monarch, as he believes the public would not want to pay for an ever-growing family. It is expected that only the family of his eldest son Prince William, who is next in the line of the British throne after him, will be sharing the responsibilities with the monarch.
"Charles's charitable portfolio is being streamlined for when he is king and this same forensic approach is being applied to how much and what the royal family does in his reign. As it will certainly downsize, it means fewer royals carrying out engagements. So it is against a background of a slimmed down monarchy that the Prince has been developing ideas about working royals, their titles and how they fit in with his vision of a modern Britain," the royal expert explained.
Someone close to the future King told the royal expert that he prefers fewer royal titles rather than more. He also has to consider that if he transfers the Duke of Edinburgh title to Edward, it would be then inherited by the latter's son, James, Viscount Severn, who is being raised to expect a life outside the royal family. Instead, Charles can hold the title for his youngest grandson, Prince Louis, who will be the third child of the monarch when Prince William becomes the King.
Another report suggested that the 72-year-old may have been wanting to use the title himself when in Scotland, but was advised to keep his existing style Duke of Rothesay, which is senior to the Edinburgh dukedom. Some friends of the Prince also wondered if he is considering it to "absorb something of his father, who was often so critical of him." Meanwhile, those close to Prince Philip claimed that the late Prince Consort wished his youngest son to inherit his dukedom, given that it could potentially disappear since a profusion of titles were already available to Charles.
Royal biographer Hugo Vickers said about the matter, "If it simply gets merged with Charles's, it will never be heard of again."
However, some believe that Charles's decision may simply be influenced by sibling rivalry. The Prince and his wife Duchess Camilla are "not very close" to Prince Edward and his wife Countess Sophie. The Wessexes still enjoy senior royal positions "due to their physical proximity to the Queen at Windsor Castle and a discreet PR campaign which has emphasised their closeness to the Sovereign," which has "irritated some at Clarence House."
"It has been noted that they are often described as 'indispensable.' It feels strategic," a figure close to the Duchess of Cornwall said. One from her husband's circle added, "Charles is making it clear that his brother may have jumped the gun [over the title of Duke of Edinburgh]. It is not a done deal," referring to Edward's interviews where he spoke about the challenges of inheriting his father's title.