Princess Anne has warned against King Charles’s plans for a slimmed down monarchy, indicating the idea was suggested when there were “a few more people around”, but now, she is “not quite sure what else we can do”.
In a rare interview released on Monday, May 1, five days before the King’s Coronation, the Princess Royal sat down with Canada’s CBC News to discuss trimming down the number of working royals in the monarchy.
The late Queen’s only daughter, 72, suggested that she believes the pool of working royals is already small enough, in a nod to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping back from their royal duties in 2020, while Prince Andrew was stripped of his HRH title, patronages and military affiliations in 2022.
She also asked what else members of the Firm can do if they’re not working royals.
Princess Anne told interviewer Adrienne Arsenault: “Well, I think the ‘slimmed down’ 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, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do.”
Before he became King, Charles was vocal about wanting fewer working members of the Royal Family, creating a ‘slimmed down’, tight-knit, and cheaper institution.
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The Princess Royal also defended the role of the monarchy in modern times, expecially with a new King taking the throne on May 6.
“There will be [conversations about relevance] everywhere,” she said. “It’s not a conversation that I would necessarily have.
“It’s perfectly true that there is a moment when you need to have that discussion but I would just underline that the monarchy provides, with the constitution, a degree of long-term stability that is actually quite hard to come by in any other way.
She continued: “I rather hope that sometimes what we can do is just to underline the goodness and the fact that there are an awful lot of people out there who really do understand about the way they behave towards each other is important and that the monarchy provides an element of a focus to that level of service and encourages that in the long term.
“It’s not a short-term thing. You’re there for the long term.”
Anne also insisted that the monarchy is in safe hands with King Charles after sitting down on Monday for the rare interview ahead of her brother’s Coronation.
When asked about what type of monarch her brother will be, she joked in her typical dry way: “Well, you know what you’re getting because he’s been practicing for a bit, and I don’t think he’ll change.”
Anne was also asked about how the Royal Family deal with indications that the monarchy is suffering from a dip in popularity according to a few recent polls, with some questioning the monarchy’s relevance in 2023.
This is despite a major poll by former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft revealing Britons would decisively back the monarchy if a referendum were held tomorrow.
In the interview, Anne said: “We don’t, in many respects, need to deal with it [a drop in people wanting the monarchy to continue], not least of all because it is the monarch that is the key to this and the constitution that underpins the monarchy,’ she said. “We as a family see ourselves as there to support that role.”
She continued: “What we do, we hope, contributes to the monarchy and the way in which it can convey continuity, not just of interest but service and understanding the way that people and communities want to live their lives.
“I think so often we get the chance to see communities and the people who do things really well and are very generous with their time in a way that, if you look at the media, you tend not to get that impression.
“My mother was the Queen for a very long time,” she added. “And although you kind of know that this might happen, you don’t really think about it very much — not least of all because the monarchy is about continuity.
“For the rest of us, it’s more a question of, OK, we have to shift the way we support. And that’s what we need to do.”