Watch: Royal family will be 'slimmed down', says Gyles Brandreth
Prince Charles doesn't speak about his plans for the monarchy because he doesn't want to upset the Queen who likes things the way they are, it's been claimed.
Angela Levin, a royal biographer, said the heir to the throne has lots of plans for things in the future but wouldn't want his mother to think he wanted her dead.
Levin spoke to Tortoise about the future of the monarchy at its weekly ThinkIn and focused on the long-reported plans Charles has to "slim down" the number of working royals.
She said: "One reason you can't [know about his plans] is that Prince Charles has loads of plans for changing the monarchy but he doesn't want to upset the Queen.
"She's used to things going on for decades and he feels that if he starts talking about it he is wanting her to die, which he does not.
"She is happy with things as they are, they have been the same for a very long time."
But Levin said the Queen had "moved things forward" noting her change to the law before Prince George was born that meant that if Prince William and Kate had a daughter first, she would not lose her place in the line of succession to any younger brother.
Levin added: "She's still got an electric heater from 1940 I think. These things are leaked so people get some sort of idea what will happen but the main thing is not to upset the Queen."
Royal financial expert David McClure pointed out the prince has been floating the idea of a slimmed down monarchy for decades, seeking to save money in the future.
He said: "He has been pushing it for 30 years, and the reason it hasn't happened is probably the longevity of the Queen."
He speculated Charles, now 72, would want "about six" full time working royals, pointing out the number who appeared on the balcony during the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations, when wider family members like Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were kept off.
McClure also pointed out that would correspond with the number of working royals families in European nations work with, like Spain who currently have two, and Sweden who have four.
At the moment the Queen is helped in her royal duties by Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate, Prince Edward and Sophie, and her cousins, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alexandra.
The Duchess of Gloucester also helps, though the Duchess of Kent retired several years ago.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent occasionally carry out duties for the Queen but are not funded by the public.
The larger number currently reflects the fact that the Queen had to enlist some of her cousins to help when she became monarch in 1952, with two small children.
Watch: Is this the end of the British monarchy?
Despite the gradual slowing down of the number of jobs for the older cousins, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, rolled her eyes when asked in an interview if she was now part of the "magnificent seven", referring to the Queen and her direct descendants.
She said: "I can only do a certain amount every year, my office is only so big, I can only do so much but it means there is more attention on what I'm doing. That can only be a good thing.
"The organisations that I work with by default should receive more attention."
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left their roles as senior royals in March 2020 when it became clear they were unable to form a hybrid role for themselves, where they could make their own money but perform duties for the Queen should she need them.
McClure told Tortoise: "What Harry's done is healthy - if you don't want to do it, get out.
"Clearly he was unhappy, he wanted a hybrid role and he didn't get it.
"And it didn't work out very well but he has set a precedent. Say one of William's children thinks they want to get out, he has set a precedent."
The debate about the future of the monarchy has been reignited in the UK over the last few months, in particular after explosive claims by Harry and Meghan about their time as senior royals.
They accused an unnamed member of the family of racism, forcing William to deny they were a racist family, and leading to a statement from the Queen as she sought to keep the resolution to issues inside her own house.
Support for the Queen remains high, as she receives polling figures around 80% in support of her.
However recent figures from YouGov showed a drop in support for the monarchy in general among younger people, with those aged 18-24 more likely to back the idea of an elected head of state.
Support for Prince Charles is considerably lower than for the Queen, with him usually hovering around the 40% mark in terms of popularity in polls.