There Are Five Major Challenges Set to Be Discussed at the Forthcoming Balmoral Summit

King Charles has called an “urgent” meeting to discuss the future of the monarchy.

Camilla, Queen Consort, King Charles III, Prince William, Princess Kate
(Image credit: Getty)

As Marie Claire reported on recently, King Charles is reportedly calling an “urgent” summit at Balmoral—where he arrived yesterday—that is set to include his wife, Queen Camilla, and his son and daughter-in-law, the Prince and Princess of Wales. Topics du jour include the future of the monarchy (no small subject there), each of the four’s precise roles, the importance of the Commonwealth, and how to leverage William and Catherine’s star quality as Charles moves into his second year on the throne.

King Charles and Queen Camilla at the Coronation

(Image credit: Getty)

The Mirror reports that the royal foursome is likely to address five major issues during the Balmoral summit, ranging from family members to the aforementioned Commonwealth to being overworked. The first possible issue is tensions within the Commonwealth and Charles’ plans to use William and Catherine specifically to bind the Commonwealth together. (The Commonwealth of Nations, or simply the Commonwealth, is made up of 56 countries, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. Of the 56 countries, 15 consider Charles king—these are known as the Commonwealth realms—and five other countries have other monarchs. The remaining 36 countries are republics.) The king wants to bring Commonwealth countries closer to Britain and plans to make the Commonwealth “at the very heart of his reign,” a source close to the king said. “He sees it as his utmost duty to fulfill the sincere wish of his late mother, that one of his central roles must be to ensure not only the survival but the robustness [of the organization].”

Of Charles, “[he] hopes to use the symbolism tied into his mother’s legacy to offer a hand of friendship, which might get harder as the years go by,” a senior civil servant said. To this point, Charles has plans to visit both Canada and Australia—both Commonwealth realms—next year, in line with requests from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

King Charles, Queen Camilla

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The proposed second item on the summit agenda is the threat of republicanism, not just overseas but in the U.K., where anti-monarchy protests have followed Charles throughout his first year on the throne. Specifically, the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic has demonstrated at several engagements the king has been on this year, including at his Coronation in May. The Mirror reports that lone protestors have also been seen at some of William and Catherine’s events, too. Charles, at least publicly, seems unfazed—he has been seen this year walking directly past protestors wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Not My King” emblazoned on them.

The third and fourth bullet points on the agenda bring it far closer to home: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and, separately, Prince Andrew. Though a family, the monarchy is also a family business, and Charles is particularly concerned about Andrew, who a Palace aide speaking to The Times said Charles has no desire “to come out of the freezer.” 

Prince Andrew

(Image credit: Getty)

“Andrew is more of a long-term problem than Harry and Meghan,” a royal source told the outlet. “It feels like more stuff is going to come out on [Jeffrey] Epstein and there are still unexploded bombs there.” That said, Charles and Andrew are still brothers, and Charles reportedly offered Andrew an olive branch by inviting him to stay at Balmoral with him, with Andrew reportedly the first family member to join Charles in Scotland—“a significant move towards improving their relationship,” The Mirror reports. Andrew was accompanied by his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, to the seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the estate.

Prince William and Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty)

The fifth and final issue is the increasing workload amongst the four most senior royals. With three senior royals down—Harry, Meghan, and Andrew—the work has shifted to Charles, Camilla, William, and Catherine, supported by Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. The other working royals that round out the team are the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra (who are in their eighties) and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, who are in their late seventies. Though Charles has long expressed a desire for a slimmed-down monarchy, the workload is intense: “The current [working royals] have to be realistic about how much they can take on and, you know, maybe the thousands of patronages and engagements that they carry out and have always done between them is something that’s going to need to be redressed,” said royal expert Katie Nicholl, speaking on True Royalty TV’s “The Royal Beat.” “You look at the Prince of Wales and the model that he’s adopted, which is very much consolidating, and you wonder if perhaps there’s going to have to be an element of that for the wider royal family, too.”

The summit is expected to take place within the next couple of weeks.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.