This 'slimmed down' monarchy could end up a 'BURNT-OUT' monarchy

King Charles’s ‘slimmed down’ monarchy could wind up as a ‘BURNT-OUT’ monarchy – with no one left to help Prince George when he takes over on the throne. The Windsors are in greater jeopardy than ever, writes ANGELA MOLLARD

Posing with a loyal band of Dukes, Duchesses, Princesses and his newly crowned Queen, King Charles was projecting an image of unity and stability with the group shot he chose to include in his official coronation photographs.

Flanked by the ten working members of the Royal family, the new King was not simply showing who is on his team as he as ushers in the new Carolean age but who – after years of drama and dissent – he can genuinely trust.

Unfortunately, there’s a glaring problem with the new look Brand Windsor. Excluding the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the average age of the remaining eight is 77. 

Indeed, the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy is 88 while the Duke of Kent is 87.

The official Coronation portrait of the Royal Family projects a sense of unity. But take out William, Kate, Edward and Sophie, and the average age of those left is 77

The new King wants a ‘slimmed down’ monarchy but looking at this image, he could find himself with a burnt-out monarchy if the older generation, including himself and the Queen, become ill or infirm, leaving Kate and William to do it all. 

The Waleses, who have shown remarkable diligence and good humour over the past week, are already in danger of becoming overexposed, however with a 24/7 news cycle – not to mention their own energetic social media accounts – the demand for royal content is arguably greater than ever.

The problem is that as the Wales children enter their tween years there will be considerable guidance required and if William and Kate are expected to be the key representatives on royal tours and walkabouts, as well as the patrons of multiple charities, military organisations and arts and sporting endeavours, they will find themselves torn between their competing roles. 

Of course, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are only in their late 50s and will be on hand to help, but they do not command the status or interest of the heir to the throne and his glamorous wife.

The Royal Family shown in the portraits for Queen Elizabeths 1953 Coronation is considerably larger – and very much more youthful, with Charles and Anne standing at the front 

The Prince and Princess of Wales have shown diligence and good humour, but they cannot be expected to carry the entire burden by themselves. They are pictured here at a post-Coronation garden party at Buckingham Palace

Prince George, second-in-line to the throne, represented the future of the monarchy when he attended the Coronation as a page boy. But a ‘slimmed down’ monarchy might leave him with little support when he is king

To date, the Waleses appear to have approached their increased workload with dedication and ease but their late arrival at Westminster Abbey on Saturday is indicative of what they are managing behind the scenes. 

Corralling children is a challenge for all parents but few have to contend with a lack of bathroom breaks, no snack bags and the constant presence of cameras. While the images from their day of volunteering with a Slough scouting group were charming, there’s no question William and Kate would’ve been on high alert.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have satisfied their own needs when they stepped back from royal duties but they have left others with huge portfolios to bear. The King is keen to show that his family are less of a strain on the public purse but a lack of succession planning will leave the monarchy in greater jeopardy than ever if his key principles buckle under the pressure.

Broacaster and commentator Angela Mollard fears that a ‘slimmed-down’ monarchy will leave too few royals available to support the  Crown – particularly by the time George is on the throne

Princess Anne told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that we should ‘stop any talk’ of cutting the monarchy still further

Of the 12 leading royals gathered in this official portrait, only four are under 60

Princess Anne made a similar point in her interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last week.

Look at some of the official portraits following the 1953 Coronation and it is striking how many young royal children surrounded Queen Elizabeth. The atmosphere is youthful and confident – quite a contrast with what we see right now.

The political pressure on today’s monarchy is very different, of course.  But there  are real dangers on both sides of the argument.

As the Waleses lean into their new roles and elevated status they’ll be mindful of who will support Prince George when he, in turn, becomes monarch. Will Charlotte and Louis be allies and working royals as the Princess Royal and Duke of Edinburgh are to the King? Or will this redacted royal family leave our future King stranded on his own?

  • Angela Mollard is a television presenter and commentator

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