Swedish royal family hosts dinner at Kungl castle
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The House of Lords has challenged the Royal Family after it emerged Prince Andrew and Prince Harry are among a select band of Windsors allowed to stand-in for King Charles III in an official capacity, were he to fall ill or be engaged overseas. Among those to question why Andrew and Harry, who have both stepped out of the royal limelight in recent years, were given such influential status included Viscount Stansgate. He claimed Andrew had “left public life” while Harry had “left the country”, and asked why such individuals could take on the role. The Liberal Democrat argued that working royals should be given priority on undertaking the duty, and Lord True, the Lord Privy Seal, during the debate, said: “The Government will always consider what arrangements are needed to ensure resilience in our constitutional arrangements.
“And in the past we have seen that the point of accession has proved a useful opportunity to consider the arrangements in place.”
The role of serving royals has been thrust firmly into the public’s radar in recent months, particularly after Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II passed away in September, bringing to an end an incredible 70 years on the throne.
This, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, has pushed the royals’ status under the microscope, with pressure on Charles to slim back the monarchy. Calls for this increased after Queen Margrethe II of Denmark removed the titles of some of her grandchildren to reduce the monarchy’s size.
The question of the monarchy’s size was reviewed by royal insider Andrew Lownie, author of the 2021 title Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who claimed other popular royals may be sacrificed as a result.
Among those who could see their roles diminished — and possibly axed entirely — are Lady Louise, the daughter of Charles’ youngest brother Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the author said having less royals on the frontline would be a “shame” for the public who consider it a privilege to meet members of the Firm at functions across the country.
He continued: “I think they want the ones that are popular, you know the likes of Lady Louise, but they just don’t want clearly people like Prince Andrew so they have been selective.
“But you know this is a business and they have got a brand, and they want to push the brands that are popular, and not the ones that people don’t want.”
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Mr Lownie detailed how Charles “had been clear” on his vision for the monarchy, describing how the 73-year-old wanted it to “be the direct line of succession that is going to be important”.
This, Mr Lownie explained, also meant the likes of Charles’ grandchildren Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, siblings of future monarch Prince George, would retain their importance within the Firm moving into the future.
He said: “I suspect that Charlotte and Louis will likely also have some titles because they will be the children of the monarch at some point. But the other royals like Beatrice and Eugenie, in some ways, they’re getting further and further away […] I can’t see them being given titles, I can’t see Prince Edward’s children being given titles, or a huge roles.
“But I think the irony is that the public do actually want a very active Royal Family. They want to see Royal Family members opening things and there aren’t a lot of them to go round so there is this tension between trying to keep the costs down and focus on the key players. And the fact that the public do want these people to do things for them and they’re only able to do them if we pay for them.”
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When reflecting on her decision to axe the titles of her grandchildren, Margrethe issued an apology to those affected chiefly her grandchildren Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena.
In a statement earlier this month, she noted: “Holding a royal title involves a number of commitments and duties that, in the future, will lie with fewer members of the royal family.
“This adjustment, which I view as a necessary future-proofing of the monarchy, I want to take in my own time.
“I have made my decision as Queen, mother and grandmother, but, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry.”
Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was published by Blink Publishing and is available here.
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