Prince William and Kate: What will the monarchy look like when they become King and Queen?

From pin-ups to non-royal draft-ins, what might be in store for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s reign?

What will the monarchy look like when the Prince and Princess of Wales become King and Queen?
© Karwai Tang / Getty Images
What will the monarchy look like when the Prince and Princess of Wales become King and Queen?

People speculate that Prince William will be a 'modernist', almost 'celebrity-like' King, given his and his wife's, Kate, immense popularity. However, they will also be faced with a rather sticky problem.

Discover our latest podcast

A modern, 'celebrity-like' monarchy

King Charles III's former butler believes that the monarch is doing all the grunt work necessary to 'modernise' the monarchy, ready for when Prince William takes the throne. Grant Harrold, who served the then-Prince Charles for seven years, claims Charles III's job is to bridge the gap between Queen Elizabeth II's traditional reign and his 'celebrity-like' son, Prince William.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)

Harrold also believes Prince and Princess of Wales will be prominent in Charles III’s reign so they can 'keep their popularity'. The former butler noted that Prince William was a pin-up at one point and that the public 'all want to be Kate'. The Daily Express' Royal Round Up host noted that when the Princess of Wales wears something affordable, it tends to 'fly off shelves'.

The future King and Queen are 'role models,' which is particularly important because younger Britons are growing disillusioned with the monarchy. Indeed, YouGov revealed in 2021 that 41% of 18 to 24-year-olds wanted an elected head of state.

Mr Harrold said:

William will be a very modernistic monarch, almost celebrity-like as that’s the way it seems to be becoming, but he’ll still have elements of the old tradition and etiquette and that’ll be thanks to his father and his grandmother.

Read more: Prince William is the latest target of pro-Russian group, and he's not the first Royal to be attacked

Fewer Royals to rely on

Celia Lee, historian and royal author, already believes that there are too few working Royals, and the number isn't going to increase suddenly. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, who have been called the 'backbone' of the Royal Family, have no replacements.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)

Constitutional expert Dr Craig Prescott agrees:

In perhaps 20 years or so, we may have a much smaller Royal Family, focused on William and Catherine as King and Queen and their children, supported by Prince Edward. At this point, Princess Anne will be in her 90s.

One solution to combat this problem would be to allow the heir to the throne – in this instance it would be Prince Georgeto act alone. During Queen Victoria's reign, her eldest son held Privy Council meetings on her behalf whilst she was overseas.

Another solution involves drafting 'non-royals', such as retired Supreme Court judges, to represent the future King William in certain circumstances. Supreme Court judges, like the Royal Family, are politically impartial. It has happened before, but not since the Regency Act of 1937 was passed.

Dr Prescott concluded:

It might be that in the long term, if there simply aren’t the members of the Royal Family available, we have to look at something along those lines.

However, King Charles III asked the Houses of Parliament to amend the Counsellors of State Bill to exclude non-working members of the Royal Family from acting as stand-ins. This could pose a problem for Prince William dependingon whether his children, Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, seven and Prince Louis, 4, reach 21 before he ascends the throne.

Sources used:

- Express.co.uk: William and Kate may draft in 'non-royals' to tackle major dilemma when King and Queen

- Express.co.uk: King Charles preparing to 'modernise' monarchy ready for William's 'celebrity-like' reign

Read more:

King Charles III navigating endless array of scandals, from using gold plates to Prince Harry's new award

Kate Middleton sparks outrage at King Charles' first state banquet, here's why

Kate Middleton: Will her title change when Prince Charles becomes King? Kate Middleton: Will her title change when Prince Charles becomes King?