Royals Who Could Be Affected By A Slimmed Down Monarchy

As he was waiting to fulfill his life's purpose of reigning monarch, then-Prince Charles made it clear that he thought the scope of the royal family should be narrowed. Given the environment at the time, it certainly made a lot of sense. 

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the royals came under particular fire for seemingly wasting the taxpayers' money that funded their opulent lifestyles. From Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's mind-boggling expenses to Princess Margaret's habit of vacationing in the Caribbean while staying far away from the duties of a senior royal, it certainly appeared that the members of the firm were skirting away important duties all on the public's dime. Though he hasn't always been beloved — and Diana Spencer's shadow has certainly followed him over the years — Charles' dedication to slimming down the monarchy has been a welcome change.

Now that he is king, Charles has taken both obvious and subversive steps to slim down the monarchy. The pool of senior royals is now incredibly small, consisting only of Prince William, Princess Catherine, Prince Edward, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Princess Anne. Gone are the days of the Fab Four — the Waleses plus Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — and Prince Andrew has all but evaporated from public life. Charles has proved that his version of the monarchy is modern, condensed, and applicable to only those who are directly connected to the late Queen Elizabeth II and the crown.

Prince Harry

Naturally, we have to start with King Charles III's youngest son, Prince Harry, and the ways in which he is no longer part of his father's slimmed down monarchy. Not only did Harry demonstrate throughout his early adulthood that royal life wasn't his preferred status, but his marriage to Meghan Markle also galvanized his desire to leave. 

After stepping back from royal life in January 2020, Harry made it clear that he and Meghan would be taking measures to become financially independent from the monarchy, and the couple have been successful. Throughout the years since his departure, Harry has made a distinct point of shedding light on just how toxic the royal environment can be. Coupled with the royal rota, the prince hasn't shied away from speaking his truth.

This hasn't stopped his father from taking even more steps, however, to ice Harry out. With the coronation coming up, Charles has made it clear that Harry is not welcome during the procession, nor will he be asked to join the family on the Buckingham Palace balcony. If he is taking a cue from his mother at all, Charles will likely continue to widen the divide between the royal family and Harry, as the late Queen Elizabeth II was said to be shocked by Harry's decision to step away from his royal duties. Royal expert Robert Jobson asserted that the queen was "let down" by Harry, and it wouldn't be shocking if Charles felt the same (via The Mirror).

Meghan Markle

Where there's Prince Harry, there's Meghan Markle, and to say that the actress isn't a part of King Charles III's slimmed down monarchy is a bit of an understatement. 

Meghan came onto the royal scene with a crash, and her identity alone seemingly indicated that a new era of royalty — one of racial and ethnic diversity — was on the horizon. Sadly, Meghan was dealt a horrific hand thanks to the notoriously brutal British press and the royal family's lack of support. It was only a matter of time until it became too much to bear, and Meghan moved back to her native California with Harry and their little one, Prince Archie, in tow.

As more and more information has come out about Harry and Meghan's experience within the firm — as well as Harry's tense relationship with Charles and Prince William — it was detailed by royal expert Robert Jobson that the king was hesitant about Meghan from the start. Asserting in his book "Our King" that both William and Charles expressed hesitations about Meghan, Jobson claimed that Charles made it clear to Harry that the royal purse would not be enough to support Meghan financially (via The Daily Beast). Relationships imploded from there: Meghan and Princess Catherine were said to be at odds, Harry and William were not seeing eye to eye, and the royal family as a whole were mystified by Harry and Meghan's decision to call out their shortcomings in real time.

Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet

First came love, then marriage, then a royal baby! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed Prince Archie while still living in the United Kingdom, but even a baby couldn't smooth things over between them and the rest of the royal family. The couple had Princess Lilibet after moving to California. 

At this point, the two kids are certainly not in King Charles III's version of a slimmed down monarchy. Of course, they live in the United States with their parents, so the actual amount of royal duties they will likely carry out is slim. However, Charles has made it clear that the children aren't on par with, say, Prince William and Princess Catherine's kids. For example, the coronation is just around the corner, and neither Archie nor Lilibet has been invited. This is a far cry from Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, who are said to have heightened roles on the day in question.

Commenting on Archie and Lilibet and their futures as royals, royal expert Robert Jobson shared that he doesn't quite understand why the children were afforded titles. In his estimations, Charles could (and likely will) take the designation of prince and princess away with time. "I do [think the titles will be taken away] because I know that it has," Jobson said (via Express). "But what is the point of making an alternative royal family in America, what is the point?"

Prince Louis

This one might come as a surprise, but Prince William and Princess Catherine's youngest son, Prince Louis, might be on the chopping block when it comes to King Charles III's slimmed down monarchy. The new king's desire to rid the tight-knit group of senior royals of any extraneous people or expenses has been thoroughly documented. Given that Louis is the youngest of three, Charles might look at other monarchies within Europe as inspiration and remove Louis' title completely.

As estimated by The Times, Charles could draw inspiration from Sweden, whose own King Carl Gustaf stripped most of his grandchildrens' titles in 2019. The only grandchildren who made the cut were Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, who are in direct line to the throne. With this playbook in mind, Charles could maintain Prince George and Princess Charlotte's titles — as they are second and third in line to the throne, respectively — but cut the rest of the royal designations from there. 

If Charles were to go this far, Louis could also be expected to carve out a professional space for himself as he gets older. If he is impacted by the slimmed down monarchy, Louis could potentially be cut off from the royal purse strings and forced to pursue a more normal way of life, consisting of a career outside of the guise of the royal family.

Prince Andrew

This one doesn't come as a huge shock, but Prince Andrew is not considered part of King Charles III's slimmed down monarchy, nor is he considered to be of much value to the royal family at all. Of course, Andrew all but evaporated from royal life due to his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his settlement with accuser Virginia Giuffre, though that hasn't stopped him from wanting to return to royal life. Still, his older brother is said to think Andrew should cease to exist in the public eye, leaving the Duke of York incredibly frustrated.

Former politician Normal Baker commented on the ongoing tension between Charles and Andrew, telling The Sun that Andrew is "going to any length possible to worm his way back into public life," though he should really give up his pursuits. "The only order he should be given is the order of the boot," Baker said. "He is simply being allowed to play 'dressing up as a royal for the day' — when really he should be serving a long period of silence."

Still, other royal experts think that Andrew could potentially rehabilitate his public image if he gave it time. Ingrid Seward has maintained that the Duke of York "should just disappear for a year, or two," then give royal life another shot. It will be interesting, then, to see how drastically Andrew is impacted by Charles' desire to trim the monarchy down as much as possible.

Sarah Ferguson

There are a few members of the royal family who are already on the outside, and Sarah Ferguson is one of them. The Duchess of York got divorced from Prince Andrew decades ago, and while they have maintained a close relationship since then and even live together still, she could be pushed even further away from the royal family amid King Charles III's slimming down. Specifically, Fergie could finally lose her title as the Duchess of York, though it might not be a huge blow to her, as she was stripped of the HRH designation she originally had after she and Andrew got divorced.

Fergie has commented on being connected to the royal family but remaining on the outer edges, telling The Independent that members will have to choose whether they want to be fully in or fully out. "You can't have it both ways," she said. "You can't sit on the fence and keep one foot in and one foot out. You're either in or out. You chose to leave, now go and live it — and be it."

Fergie has since commented on different royal family members' decisions to leave, alluding to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Surprisingly, Fergie is seemingly on Harry and Meghan's side. "I have been judged all my life, and I have no judgment on the Sussexes," she told People. Perhaps Fergie will be one of the most well-adjusted victims of Charles' attempts to strip the monarchy down to its studs.

Princess Eugenie

We've covered her parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, but Princess Eugenie is certainly on King Charles III's chopping block. Despite being one of Queen Elizabeth II's grandchildren, Eugenie is distant from the throne and isn't a working royal. Given that she is not a senior member of the family, Eugenie is not privy to the royal purse, nor does she have the heightened public spotlight. She isn't even going to be on the Buckingham Palace balcony come coronation day.

When it comes to being financially stable, Eugenie's husband, Jack Brooksbank, is wealthy in his own right. Additionally, she still has access to a trust fund set up for her by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Where Charles could really inflict some damage, however, boils down to Eugenie's title.

"Unfortunately for Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, their father's conduct has had rather an adverse and actually disastrous impact on their royal futures. ... It wasn't just their father's conduct, but he knowingly and willingly embarrassed the entire royal family with not only his friendships, but by also agreeing to his diabolical 'Newsnight' interview," royal expert Hilary Fordwich explained to Fox News Digital of Eugenie's status. "The Princesses are most likely to become Lady Beatrice and Lady Eugenie since their father, Prince Andrew's, sexual assault scandal has purportedly poured ruin on their chances of becoming working royals."

Princess Beatrice

Lumped in with Princess Eugenie is Princess Beatrice, who will likely see a similar fate as part of King Charles III's attempts to slim down the monarchy. Beatrice could become Lady Beatrice instead of princess, and royal expert Hilary Fordwich further explained to Fox News Digital that keeping their titles is going to boil down to Charles' judgment.

"Retaining their titles is highly dubious because the decision, regarding their titles, is to be made by and with the new reign of their uncle, King Charles III," Fordwich said. "Now, with King Charles III making British monarchy decisions Charles is predicted to be making the use of titles more restrictive."

While this all sounds rather punitive, Beatrice might actually be okay with such changes. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's daughter has always been a little bit of an outsider, carving her own career path and forging ahead despite the vitriol she faced at the hands of the royal rota. Commenting on the matter, royal expert Richard Palmer recalled when Beatrice said she wanted to do something else entirely with her life, rather than being a working royal. "I remember Beatrice saying to me, and to a couple of other royal correspondents, 'I want to do something else with my life, other than ribbon cutting,'" Palmer said (via Geo News). Perhaps Beatrice would be more than happy to be even further from the royal way of life.

Sienna Mozzi and August Brooksbank

We don't hear too much about Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie's children, but they might be even more removed from royal life as King Charles III cuts the firm down. Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank welcomed their son August in February 2021, and Eugenie and husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi grew their family that September when they had daughter Sienna. The two little ones were not given royal titles upon their births, and have largely been kept out of the spotlight. Still, given that their mothers could lose their own royal distinctions at the hands of their uncle, it wouldn't be surprising if their children were impacted both financially and in any claim they may have had to a royal title once adults.

For comparison, Prince Edward's daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, became entitled to the designation of princess when she turned 18. Meanwhile, Princess Anne's children were never given royal titles and are not working members of the royal family. The future for Sienna and August, who will likely grow up to be incredibly close cousins, is up in the air as far as titles are concerned and just what role, if any, they will have within the royal family. Their connection to Queen Elizabeth II and the ability to call her their great-grandmother might not matter as far as Charles is concerned, and it'll be curious to see how the two little ones grow up with (or without) their royal connections.

Zara Phillips

Speaking of Princess Anne's children, her daughter, Zara Phillips, could have quite the change ahead of her if King Charles III has anything to do with it. Though her mom decided not to give her a royal title at birth, Zara is one of the most well-known figures within the royal family, and she often cashes in on her status when it comes to brand partnerships, career moves, and public reception. 

Zara, of course, is known for her impressive equestrian career, but that hasn't stopped her from pursuing other professional avenues open to her thanks to her royal family connection. It will be curious to see if Charles implores her to step aside and stop using her status as a royal to further her own personal and professional motivations, and royal expert Omid Scobie commented on the matter specifically for Yahoo! News.

"It's impossible to deny that the big bucks only come because of their positions as royal family members," Scobie said of Zara and her husband, Mike Tindall, a famed rugby player. "While neither Zara nor Mike have titles, HRH status or working roles, their adjacency to the firm and the late Queen Elizabeth II has been enough to get many brands and wealthy figures salivating. Both have found success in sports, but the couple's real USP is royalty." Will Charles put a stop to their efforts? Only time will really tell.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

Here are two working royals that you may not have even heard of: Prince Richard and Birgitte, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. 

When Queen Elizabeth II was on the throne, royal titles were bestowed upon more distant members of the royal family in addition to the usual players — Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and so on. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were among such figures, as Richard is the grandson of King George V, making him the late queen's first cousin. Though Richard is directly related to his late mother, King Charles III isn't taking as liberal of an approach to bestowing titles on distant family members, and the appearance on Buckingham Palace's balcony after the impending coronation is said to be one of, if not the last appearance as senior royals that the duke and duchess will make.

Of Charles' decision, a source told The Mirror, "The King has been very clear who he wants to represent the monarchy. There is little room for sentiment, this is a State occasion, not a family occasion and it is right that only the working members of the family are there at the big public moment." Given that the duke and duchess are also 78 and 76 respectively, their retirement is just around the corner.

The Duke of Kent

Lumped in with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester — and a senior member of the royal family who is likely going to be cut from the cue, thanks to King Charles III's efforts — is Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent. Another first cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II's, Edward is 87 years old as of publication, and is certainly advancing in his role as a senior royal. Given that Charles is dedicated to cutting back on unnecessary members and reserving titles for those closest to the crown, it sadly makes sense that Edward is on the chopping block. In fact, his appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony after Charles' coronation is said to be one of his last public appearances as a working member of the family.

"The balcony moment will be the king's final presentation of a slimmed down monarchy, which of course will be even further slimmed down once the Gloucesters, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra finally step away from public life and into their well-earned retirements," a source told The Mirror of Charles' attempts to cut down the firm even more. "[The balcony appearance] is a final thank you for them and a nod to their support of his mother during her 70 year reign."