King Charles III: Here's why His Majesty won't be slimming down the monarchy after all

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there has been much speculation that King Charles will start trimming down the monarchy. However, not everyone agrees.

King Charles III: Here's why His Majesty won't be slimming down the monarchy after all
© Chris Jackson / Getty Images
King Charles III: Here's why His Majesty won't be slimming down the monarchy after all

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, have been dubbed 'the backbone' of the monarchyby two royal historians.

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Queen Elizabeth II's first cousins

Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra are all the grandchildren of King George V, making them the late Queen Elizabeth's first cousins. As such, they have taken on a predominant role within The Firm, albeit out of the spotlight.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

The Duke of Gloucester and his wife, Brigitte, Duchess of Gloucester, had a rather unexpected introduction to the life of a working Royal. Indeed, Prince Richard had an older brother destined to inherit the title of Duke of Gloucester when the time came. However, the Prince died in a plane crash whilst piloting in a competition.

The Gloucesters' lives were turned upside down by this tragedy. Prince Richard was working as a private citizen for an architectural firm and had not long married his wife, Brigitte. They were thrust into the Royal hold without it being expected or trained for it.

Royal historian Marlene Koenig commends Prince Richard and his wife, Brigitte, for stepping up. She praises Brigitte because, over her many years of service, the Danish-born Duchess has 'never put a foot wrong' and adapted to life as a working Royal 'like a duck to water'.

The Duke of Kent

Prince Edward has been the Duke of Kent for over 80 years after his father died in a plane crash in 1942. After serving in the military, the Duke was president of the British Overseas Trade Board. According to historian Celia Lee, Prince Edward was such a 'senior' royal that he was trusted to negotiate with the Prime Minister and take briefings to represent the UK overseas.

Lee also notes that the Duke of Kent fulfilled the role of Queen Elizabeth's brother. She said:

The Queen relied on the Duke for a view of the world that was not easily accessible to her, being as she was a woman.

Princess Alexandra

Princess Alexandra began performing official engagements in the late 1950s. At one point during her life, she was one of the most active members of The Firm, carrying out approximately 120 engagements yearly.

The Princess has since taken a step back from public life, but she still attends ceremonial and charitable events and is still listed as a working Royal.

No replacements in sight

According to Express,King Charles III has finally decided against continuing with plans to slim down the monarchy. It has long been speculated that the King would reduce the number of working royals, giving the media 'less to gossip about'. The list would include himself and his wife, Queen Camilla, Princess Anne, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Prince and Princess of Wales. They were dubbed 'The Magnificent Seven'.

Both Koenig and Lee agree, despite speculation of a streamlined monarchy, that Charles was never going to cut off his late mother's cousins, who have dedicated their lives in service of the Crown. Koenig said:

Why would anyone think that he [King Charles] was going to cut off his mother’s cousins when it was made clear at the Jubilee that they were, they were part of this.

Lee even went as far as to say Britain doesn't have enough Royals. She noted that the number of Royals has been steadily declining over the years but that the number of charities has increased dramatically. Therefore, hundreds of charities across the country are without a patron.

She asked:

Who is going to take over as patron and present all these hundreds of big important charities that the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Charles were (or are) patrons of?

However, the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra are 'the old guard', and although Koenig doesn't believe their end is now, she is confident that the end will come as they have no replacements.

Sources used:

- Express: The Gloucesters and Kents: How the Queen's cousins have become the 'backbone' of the Firm

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