King Charles III is about to give the monarchy a right royal shakeup. Sources close to the new king say he will streamline the number of people who "live off the public purse" and concentrate responsibilities amongst a small handful of royals. "It will be less about the royal family and more about direct successors, less about the history, heritage and glamor, more focused on the role of head of state," says a friend of the king. Here's what King Charles is reportedly planning, and what that means for the future of the Royal Family.
No More Mooching Off the Taxpayer
King Charles wants to decrease the number of people who live on public funding, sources say. "In one version of [a slimmed down monarchy] you have a narrower number of people living off the public purse. He has a vision of that being the direct line of succession rather than all the cousins and aunts," says the king's friend. "It will be less about the royal family and more about direct successors, less about the history, heritage and glamor, more focused on the role of head of state."
What Does the Future Hold?
"The slimmed down version is what we are seeing already," says another source familiar with the new king's household. Insiders say the monarchy will represent a more modern approach to public service, one that evolves with the times. "The demand is for a more modern, approachable and inclusive monarchy to fit with the times," says Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at King's College London. "But the monarchy changes gradually by adapting. "Anyone who is in receipt of public funds in the royal family should be required to take part in what has become a public service monarchy."
Not Slimmed Down Enough?
Not everyone thinks the new "slimmed down" model is correct, though. "What slimmed down is not, is having five people on the balcony," says Norman Baker, a former Liberal Democrat minister in David Cameron's coalition government and author of And What Do You Do? which examines how the royals spend money. "It's making the monarchy modern and accountable — something much closer to the Benelux or Scandinavian models… The main problem underpinning everything is freedom of information. The monarchy should be subject to the same rules as other parts of the public sector. They are public servants with public money and should be subject to the same public accountability."
Who's In the Inner Circle?
Sources say the new "Firm" will consist of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla; Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex; The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge; and Anne, Princess Royal. "While these are all individuals that will be out in the future representing the crown, I think Charles will try to draw attention to himself, Camilla, and the Cambridge family as the future of the monarchy," says royal commentator Kinsey Schofield.
The Survival Of the Monarchy
Insiders say that by attempting to slim down the monarchy, King Charles is trying to save it from becoming obsolete altogether. "The reality is [King Charles] needs the support of the periphery just like the Queen did. The whole thing about being royal is being seen and being seen to be believed. He can't do it as a one-man band," said the person familiar with the king's household.