How King Charles' Slimmed Down Monarchy Has Come Back To Haunt Him

When King Charles III first announced his plans to downsize royal family operations, he seemed to set his sights on a sustainable future for the monarchy. However, if the monarch had a crystal ball to see what the next year would hold for the Windsor family, he might've held off on making such an announcement. With so many royals out of the picture, Charles' "slimmed-down monarchy" looks more troublesome than ever. 

The British monarch was diagnosed with cancer in February 2024, less than a year after his coronation. In a statement released by Buckingham Palace, it was announced that the king would suspend public-facing duties while undergoing treatment. Meanwhile, Charles' daughter-in-law, Catherine, Princess of Wales, has been dealing with her own health crisis that has resulted in a two-week hospital stay and a delay of public duties through March.

King Charles' eldest son, William, Prince of Wales, is busy caring for his and Catherine's three young children. The king's youngest son, Harry, Duke of Sussex, has been out of the royal picture since leaving the royal family with his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. In this wake of unexpected absences, it's clear that the monarchy has slimmed down quite a bit — but perhaps not in the way Charles anticipated.

King Charles III's downsized monarchy couldn't have come at a worse time

King Charles III's plan to "slim" the monarchy included shrinking the working royal family to seven key members: Anne, Princess Royal; Catherine and William, Duchess and Duke or Cornwall and Cambridge; King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla; and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. This downsizing would streamline royal operations and require less public funding to maintain, per Business Insider.

However, not everyone was convinced of this plan's benefits. In a May 2023 interview with CBC (via YouTube), Anne said, "I think the slimmed-down [comment] was said in a day when there were a few more people around. It doesn't sound like a good idea from where I'm standing." With two of the seven key members fully out of commission for the time being, it would appear that the Princess Royal's hesitations were not unfounded.

Signs that King Charles may abdicate the throne are beginning to pile up, leaving the rest of the world to wonder what the monarchy's future might hold. Prince William is next in line for the throne, but that, too, seems daunting as he cares for his family while his wife recovers from abdominal surgery. While it's impossible to plan for every possible scenario, it appears the royal family is in an abnormally significant state of flux. Only time will tell if King Charles spoke too quickly about shrinking the already dwindling centuries-old institution.