The Prince of Wales’s desire to remove the titles from relatives far down the line of succession has sparked a warning from a royal expert. Among those who could be hit by this ground-breaking reform include Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, the latter of which announced on Friday she and husband Jack Brooksbank are expecting their first child together. Prince Charles’s plan could become a reality once he succeeds his mother Queen Elizabeth II as King.
The move may also see him selling some properties that have been in the Royal Family for several centuries.
But one expert has warned Charles against reducing the size of the Royal Family too much too quickly, adding it could threaten their “legitimacy”.
Bob Morris of the Constitution Unit at University College London wrote in his book The Role of Monarchy in Modern Democracy: “Reducing the size of a royal family too far could inadvertently, or deliberately, remove an important part of its rationale and whittle away at its legitimacy?”
The move from Charles would mimic one made by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden last year, who removed several members from the Royal House.
An official statement from Fredrik Wersäll, the Marshal of the Realm, said: “His Majesty The King has decided on changes to The Royal House.
“The purpose of these changes is to establish which members of The Royal Family may be expected to perform official duties incumbent on the Head of State or related to the function of the Head of State.
“His Majesty The King has decided that the children of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, and the children of Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine and Mr Christopher O’Neill will no longer be members of The Royal House.”
The five former royals lost their titles of Royal Highness but retained their title of Duke or Duchess.
Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, the two children of the Heir Apparent, Crown Princess Victoria, were the King’s only grandchildren who remained part of his Royal House as second and third in line to the throne.
The book by Mr Morris also revealed the British Royal Family are among the hardest-working yet cheapest among fellow European royals.
The study by the Constitution Unit at University College London shows only the Royal Families from Spain and Belgium cost less per head of population.
The British Royal Family also carry out far more engagements than their counterparts throughout the continent.
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Comparing figures for 2017-18, the Sovereign Grant, which is the taxpayer money used to fund the official activities of the Royal Family), stood at £76.1 million, or £1.14 per person.
This figure included an additional payment, made over 10 years, for reservicing charges at Buckingham Palace and when that is complete in 2027, the taxpayer funding will revert to 60 percent of the level it has reached by then.
Belgium was 95p per head, while Spain was just 16p per head, but that is partly because only the King and Queen in those countries carry out official engagements.
Sweden costs the same as Britain, while Denmark (£1.75) and the Netherlands (£1.95) are slightly more expensive.
In 2018, the activities of 15 members of the British Royal Family were included in the Court Circular, whereas Belgium listed the jobs carried out by just 12 royals, with Norway listing four, Sweden seven and Spain two.
The Sovereign Grant report for 2019-20 said: “The Royal Family completed almost 3,200 engagements a year across the UK and overseas — many more than the Queen could undertake alone.
“The activities of the wider Royal Family are vital in bringing the institution of monarchy into direct and personal contact with all sections of society, including the disadvantaged and the marginalised.”