The king himself has worked to “thin” the monarchy, but now more or less planned sickness absences are raising questions about who can and should exercise royal duties.
Earlier in the week, it became known that Princess Kate will remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days after the planned surgery. The court says she is expected to resume her public duties only after Easter. Meanwhile, husband and heir to the throne William has postponed some of his appearances to be with Kate.
Combined with Charles' planned prostate surgery, this means three of the four most senior members of the royal family are not at work. Traditionally, it is precisely the four senior royals who have been able to step in and exercise the monarch's constitutional duties – as long as they have reached the age of 21.
After the law changed in 2022, this job became limited to “members working in the royal family.” Thus, both King Andrew's younger brother and William's younger brother Harry are excluded. The King himself made sure that his two other siblings – Princess Anne and Prince Edward – were included in the “alternative list”.
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– Princess Anne's words seem prophetic ten months after she was asked about the King's plans to reduce the royal workforce, says court correspondent Richard Kay in the Daily Mail.
“I think it's a bad idea,” the king's sister answered at the time, noting that the plan was made when “there were a little more people.”
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