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Slimmed-Down Monarchy Is ‘Clearly a Challenge’ for Royal Family, Expert Says (Exclusive)

One of King Charles III’s biggest goals upon assuming the throne was slimming down the monarchy, but one royal expert thinks the plan is proving to be difficult.

“It is clearly a challenge for the monarchy, no question about that,” Robert Hardman, author of The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 23. “It is a much smaller working unit than it used to be. Three of the main players are out of action at the moment.”

Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace announced that Charles, 75, would soon undergo surgery. “In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate,” read a January 17 statement. “His Majesty’s condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure.”

The news came the same day that Kensington Palace announced that Princess Kate Middleton had undergone a previously planned abdominal surgery and would remain hospitalized for up to two weeks.

Slimmed-Down Monarchy Is Clearly a Challenge for the Royal Family
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“The surgery was successful, and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days, before returning home to continue her recovery,” read the palace’s statement, shared via X. “Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

Kate’s husband, Prince William, subsequently canceled two appearances so he could take on more childcare duties at home. The couple, who tied the knot in 2011, are the parents of Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

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While Charles and Kate’s hospital stays mean they’re out of commission for the moment, Hardman noted that it’s not a particularly busy time of year for the royal family.

“It helps that we’re in January. It’s a relatively quiet royal month,” he explained to Us. “It would be a different story if we were right in the middle of peak season, which is spring and early summer.”

Despite the temporarily thinned-out ranks of senior working royals, Hardman believes the family will figure it all out in time. “I think the monarchy will do what it’s always done, which is to adapt,” he said. “I mean, it has to be agile.”

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Before Charles ascended to the throne in September 2022 following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, many royal experts claimed that he planned to streamline the monarchy in order to save money. In practice, this means that Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, will take on more duties along with William, 41, and Kate, 42, while more junior members of the royal family will make fewer official appearances.

Charles’ sister, Princess Anne, however, has said that she’s not a fan of the idea. “Well, I think the ‘slimmed-down’ [comment] was said in a day when there were a few more people around … [to] make that seem like a justifiable comment,” Anne, 73, said during a May 2023 interview with CBC. “It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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