When the longest ruling British monarch does pass, her eldest son Prince Charles will instantly become King. Prince Charles has been known to be critical of the way the firm is run – and when the time comes, we’re likely to see some big changes for Britain’s ruling family.
In the hours following the Queen’s death, an “Accession Council,” consisting of the group of advisors to the sovereign known as the Privy Council, will convene at St. James’s Palace, London, to formally recognize the transition and to proclaim Charles as the monarch.
But there’s a lot more to the process with the Duke of Cornwall reportedly holding a summit with his son Prince William following the death of Prince Philip about what will happen to the monarchy over the next generations.
A lot will happen before ordinary folk hear of the Queen’s passing, however, as heads of Government in Commonwealth nations will notified, along with key allies of the UK.
In the immediate aftermath, Prince Charles will meet with the Prime Minister and address the nation after the news has been broken to the public by the BBC.
A twelve-day period of national mourning will ensue, and all parliamentary business will be suspended for ten days – with the exception of MPs giving tribute in the House of Commons, as they did with Prince Philip in April this year.
But in the long term, speculation has always been rife about the changes Prince Charles will make the monarchy when he sits on the throne.
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The monarchy has spread itself over thousands of engagements per year, spread across an enormous base of charities and patronages, for the last few decades.
But there is speculation that the Duke’s version of family work will cut down engagements, and use less family members to fulfil them – something that may be necessary given a lack of available takers in the family at present.
It also begs the question of where in the monarchy Princess Anne – regularly touted as the hardest working royal for the extraordinary amount of engagements she takes on per year – will fit.
Then there’s also the question of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who have stepped up their input dramatically since three of the royals left the public-facing fold.
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One royal source said: “The question is whether you start off by deciding how many patronages and engagements there should be, and then work out how many people are needed to achieve them, or whether you decide how many people there should be, which will dictate how many engagements and patronages they can take on.”
Honouring the Queen’s legacy will be of paramount importance to the Royal Family when she’s no longer around – as is especially important considering her successor isn’t even among the top most popular royals in the UK according to recent public opinion polling by YouGov.
The prince is said to be considering transforming his mother’s Scottish residence Balmoral into an open museum to the Queen.
The move could also be used to hamper independence sentiment in Scotland – but that will depend on the political situation at the time of the Queen’s death.
Another change, previously stated to be out of the question, will likely be the Duchess of Cornwall’s title.
When they married in 2005, a statement was issued saying Camilla will only become Princess Consort when her husband becomes king.
But this seems to have been retroactively wiped – with the statements made removed from public record, prompting speculation that the move, made out of respect for the late Princess Diana, will not be honoured, and she will become Queen Consort alongside her husband.