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Prince Charles is first in line to the throne – the longest-waiting heir in British history. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II, became the longest-reigning British monarch in 2015. Rumours have floated for years that Charles has itchy feet and is eager to ascend the throne.
In 2012 while being recorded for a film released on the Clarence House website, the Prince made a series of candid comments about his life and the future.
One saw him joke about his reputation for pursuing projects with notorious vigour but made a poignant reference to his mortality.
He said: “Impatient? Me? What a thing to suggest! Yes of course I am.”
“I’ll run out of time soon.
“I shall have snuffed it if I’m not careful.”
A few years before, in 2010, Prince William, Charles’ eldest son, embarked on his first foreign tour on behalf of the Queen to Australia and New Zealand.
Tensions soared after a Treasury document at the time led to speculation that William was about to increase his role significantly within the Royal family.
In a bid to ease public and private agitation, William ruled out the rumours and said he didn’t have any plans to undermine the role of his father.
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In a rare move, William’s press secretary went on the record to outline the immediate plans for the Queen’s grandson and to quash misguided speculation.
The spokesman for St James’s Palace told The Sunday Telegraph: “Prince William will not be a ‘shadow king’ – the possibility is not even being considered. Over the next few years, Prince William will be concentrating primarily on a military career while also slightly increasing his (charity) patronages and the other interests that he pursues.”
According to royal aides, Prince William is constantly aware of the sensitivities of being seen to encroach on his father’s role as heir to the throne.
A senior source said: “Prince William sees more closely than anyone the huge amount of hard work that the Prince of Wales puts into trying to make a difference in this country.
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“The Prince of Wales is a hugely passionate man and Prince William wants the spotlight to fall on his father as much as possible.
“Prince William does not want to be put in a position before his time – before he is ready.”
It is true that William has appeared to step up to what is his future role, many have observed.
He and his wife, Kate Middleton, have fashioned themselves into roles that see them regularly attending charity events.
They have also become ambassadors for certain organisations.
For example, William has worked closely with several mental health groups.
Meanwhile, Express.co.uk yesterday reported that should Charles become king, his grandson, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, will become a prince.
This is despite his parents Meghan Markle and Prince Harry having decided against giving their son a royal title.
The pair have chosen to raise Archie as a private citizen.
However, should Charles ever become king, the 1-year-old, will be by default a prince.
Constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne explained to Express.co.uk: In the case of Archie things change on the death of the Queen.
“At that moment, by law, Archie will become – whether he chooses to be or not – HRH Prince Archie of Sussex for life.
“At his death, the HRH dies too, he can pass on to any male heir the title Duke of Sussex, but not HRH or Prince.
“This comes from George V’s letters patent of 1917 regulating the HRH.”
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