The Harry-Meghan saga has shown how 'increasingly fragile' the Royal Family is – and the Queen's recent health concerns may revive arguments over her successor, an expert says.
Prince Charles, 72, is first in line, but some "unkindly" suggest his eldest son, Prince William, is a more up-to-date replacement, Observer columnist Simon Tisdall writes.
He says being a royal has "probably never been tougher", citing Princess Mako of Japan's decision to marry "the love of her life" which meant renouncing her royal title and becoming a "Mrs".
The Palace says the Queen is currently carrying out 'light duties', which include those required as Head of State, following her overnight stay in hospital last month.
As it stands, if she became too ill and had to give up work completely, the Counsellors of State, usually the Monarch's spouse plus those in the direct line of succession, would be given the power to carry out the Queen's official duties.
Princes Charles, William, Harry and Andrew are the Queen's current Counsellors but counsellors must live in the UK, which Harry does not.
"Britain’s increasingly fragile royals are not immune to family upheavals and changing mores, as the Harry-Meghan saga shows," Tisdall says.
"The Queen’s recent indisposition may revive arguments over the succession. Prince Charles, 72, is first in line, but some unkindly suggest his eldest son, Prince William, is a more up-to-date replacement. Others urge a republican revolution."
According to royal expert Tom Bower, the Queen's challenge now, alone and without Philip's sage advice, is to prepare the nation for her heirs.
And no one is more aware of the challenges than Prince Charles, who is still under attack for selling access to himself in return for allegedly giving honours to dubious foreign billionaires financing his charities.
"Facing a crisis about his reliability and judgment, three key officials have resigned or been suspended," Bower said.
"The suspension of Michael Fawcett, the Prince's indispensable aide, kindles a stench of financial rottenness in his household, which risks becoming another irremovable stain on the royals. Charles is accused by those close to the Queen of destroying the romance of the monarchy."
The Queen surely knows, he says, that Charles's reputation and public support that he should be Britain's next king has been jeopardised.
Perhaps by promoting the hugely popular William and Kate as the true inheritors of the monarchy, she can partly solve the problem, Bower suggests.
"It is thanks to the Queen's foresight that Britain knows it can rely on William and Kate," Bower writes.
Journalist Melanie Phillips agrees, writing: "With Prince Charles having long provoked public unease through his perceived eccentricities and often dogmatic views, the hopes of many monarchists rest with the Cambridges, William and Catherine.
"They have certainly turned in stellar and assiduous public performances. Britain's constitutional monarchy exists through the consent of the people. If it loses their support, it's finished."
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