British queen, heir merge media teams

January 21, 2014 8:41 am


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is seen in London/AFP
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is seen in London/AFP
LONDON, Jan 21 – The communications teams of Queen Elizabeth II and her heir, Prince Charles, are to merge, royal sources said Monday, which should help smooth his eventual transition to the throne.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper called the latest move “the clearest indication to date that the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are preparing to hand over an ever-increasing amount of their workload to the younger generations.”

The switch is expected to take place within the coming months.

With Queen Elizabeth now 87 and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 92, their eldest son Charles, 65, and his 66-year-old wife Camilla are gradually expected to take on more duties on behalf of the monarch.

Charles’s media staff will be moving from his Clarence House residence to Buckingham Palace, with his communications secretary in charge of the new combined operation.

The separate Kensington Palace press team — which handles Charles’s elder son Prince William, his wife Catherine, their baby son Prince George and Charles’s younger son Prince Harry — is also being brought into the fold.

Reports suggest the move should avoid clashes of coverage of royal events as younger royals perform more engagements, and spread expertise in modern media.

William, 31, and Harry, 29, have both in the past year given up their roles as military helicopter pilots, which should allow them more time for royal duties.

“The thinking behind it is there are obviously a number of members of the royal family who all work in support of the queen and by combining all operations into one we can better support that activity,” a royal household source told AFP.

“There will be more activity and in that context it makes sense to ensure tighter coordination.

“It stands to reason that by combining the operations now we’re well prepared for any future transition.”

Charles is increasingly taking on major roles representing his mother, particularly abroad. The queen has not left Britain since visiting Australia in 2011.

Queen Elizabeth is the symbolic head of the Commonwealth. But in November, Charles represented her for the first time at the organisation’s biennial summit, which was held in Sri Lanka.

The London Evening Standard newspaper’s royal editor Robert Jobson said Monday the queen was a pragmatist who wanted a smooth succession.

“What is happening, albeit subtly, is a monarchy in transition,” he wrote, while stressing that final decisions remain absolutely with the queen and not Charles.

“She is still ‘The Boss’,” he wrote.


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