Prince Charles met Prince Philip at Sandringham yesterday to discuss the continuing fallout from his brother’s disastrous TV interview amid reports he is preparing to take over leadership of the Royals when the Queen turns 95.
The Prince of Wales’ key role in ‘retiring’ Prince Andrew from public life has fed speculation he is preparing to adopt a modern ‘Prince Regent’ role, which would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch.
Her Majesty will turn 95 in 18 months – the same age at which her husband Philip withdrew from his public duties – and there is talk among courtiers that she may use the milestone to effectively hand over day-to-day control of the monarchy to Charles.
A royal source told The Sun: ‘The scandal surrounding Andrew and Epstein gave Charles an opportunity to step in to show that he can run The Firm. No one is bigger than the institution of the Royal Family. Not even Andrew, the Queen’s favorite son.
‘Charles recognised that and acted decisively â like the king he may well soon be. This was the moment when Charles stepped up as Prince Regent, the Shadow King.’
The last Prince Regent was appointed in 1811 after George III suffered episodes of mental illness and his eldest son was asked to take over his duties.
Affectionately known as Prinny, the future George IV, was notorious for his hedonism â drinking, eating to excess and keeping several mistresses at once.
The Regency, which lasted until his father’s death in 1820, was tumultuous.
Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated in 1812 and, with the Napoleonic Wars raging, taxpayers were riled by the Regent’s spending.
His failed attempts at divorcing Caroline of Brunswick also caused a scandal.
He died after ten years on the throne and was succeeded by his brother, William IV.
The Queen has been gradually reducing the number of public engagements she attends from 332 in 2016 to a still impressive 283 in 2018. Charles, meanwhile, undertook 507.
Yesterday, Charles headed straight to the Queen’s Norfolk estate after landing in the UK from an official tour of New Zealand and the Solomon Islands to visit Prince Philip.
Philip, 98, spends most of his time at Wood Farm, a small residence on the estate, and it is understood that the heir to the throne will spend several days with the increasingly frail prince.
Many courtiers feel that since the Queen’s husband, who used to rule his family with an iron fist, retired from public life, ‘discipline’ within the royal family has not been what it should be – hence Andrew’s virtually autonomous decision to go ahead with his disastrous News night interview over his controversial friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
It’s is believed that Charles will seek his father’s counsel over what the family should do next as well as spend a few days together, enjoying each other’s company.
Charles, 71, was in New Zealand with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, on a hugely successful tour on behalf of the British Government when news broke about the interview.
But he moved decisively with the Queen to demand that Andrew step down from public duties to deal with the scandal.
Meanwhile, sources have told the Mail that Charles will not be having any kind of immediate ‘showdown’ with his brother, as has been claimed.
Indeed, it is understood that he has no plans to meet with his brother, although it is inevitable that the issue will be discussed over the coming weeks.
It is thought that Charles, who discussed the crisis with his mother over the phone last week, feels that decisive enough action was taken over the scandal and there is no need to add to his brother’s difficulties by summoning him.
But he will be kept abreast of developments by staff and will inevitably sit down with Andrew at some point in the future.Â
As US president Donald Trump prepares to visit the UK on Tuesday, the Queen is thought to have banned Prince Andrew from meeting him.
The Duke has not been named by Buckingham Palace on the list of Royals who will be attending the welcome.
Both the Queen and the Prince of Wales will be in attendance as well as the Duchess of Cambridge.
It comes after Prince Andrew’s interview on the BBC received backlash as he failed to show sympathy to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.
Charles is long known to have wanted to see a slimmed-down monarchy in the future, and one that doesn’t necessarily include his younger brother or his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
Andrew’s humiliation was compounded after Buckingham Palace revealed that every senior member of the royal family who was available to work would be joining the Queen to welcome NATO leaders, including Donald Trump, at a high profile summit on Tuesday.
The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will formally receive the leaders and their partners, before being joined by the Duchess of Cambridge, The Earl of Wessex, The Princess Royal, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra in the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.
Andrew, 59, who played a leading role in President Trump’s state visit to the UK earlier this year, would have joined them had he not stepped back from public life.
The only other absentees are the Duke of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex, who have other official engagements on the night, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who have taken a leave of absence from royal duties.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Princess Beatrice and her mother Sarah Ferguson both tried to talk Andrew out of giving the BBC interview.
They bothÂ cautioned him against doing the programme, while his then private secretary Amanda Thirsk was more gung-ho, thinking it could offer him a chance to draw a line under his association with Jeffrey Epstein.
‘Princess Beatrice and Sarah both advised Andrew against going ahead with the interview,’ a friend claims. ‘However, he paid too much attention to Amanda, who was encouraging him, saying it would clear his name.’