Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis Will Reportedly “Be Encouraged To Not Become Working Royals” Under “Radical Plans to Reshape the British Monarchy” When Prince William and Princess Kate Take the Throne

“The working assumption is that the younger two children will get on and do their own thing.”

Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis at the Coronation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William, speaking to the BBC in a 2016 interview, said that he and his wife—then the Duchess of Cambridge, and now the Princess of Wales—are looking to raise their children “as good people with the idea of service and duty to others as very important,” he said, per Tatler

But, as The Daily Mail’s Richard Eden writes, at least for the two of William and Kate’s three children, that “service and duty to others” might not include being working royals: “What he told me left me worried about the future of the monarchy,” Eden wrote of a conversation he had with a friend of William’s about how he sees the Firm operating in the future. “The friend said William was in ‘full agreement’ with his father [King Charles] about the need for a ‘slimmed down monarchy.’ He told me, ‘When the older members of the family retire, His Royal Highness won’t be inviting anyone else to become working royals. It remains to be seen if he will even want his two younger children to be working royals,’” referring, of course, to Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. (Prince George, the eldest, is heir to throne and, therefore—presumably, at least—locked into a future with the Firm.) 

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

While George's future is all but spoken for, Charlotte and Louis are reportedly going to be left to pursue their own respective destinies, ones that will likely not involve working for the Firm.

(Image credit: Getty)

Tom Sykes of The Daily Beast said that William and Kate “want to find a practical solution to the ‘spare’ problem” for Charlotte and Louis, and that “They don’t want history to repeat itself,” referring, of course, to Prince Harry, William’s younger brother who was so affected by his label of the “spare” (to William’s “heir”) that he even titled his memoir that when it was released in 2023. Harry wasn’t the only member of the royal family to feel stunted by “the heir and the spare” dynamic, but, at least in modern history, he has certainly been the most outfront and public about it.

Sykes reports in The Daily Beast that Charlotte and Louis are to be “encouraged to not become working royals” under what Sykes calls “radical plans to reshape the British monarchy when William and Princess Kate ascend the throne, following the disastrous impact on the family of Prince Harry’s vitriolic exit from royal life.” Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, stepped back as working members of the royal family in 2020—but Harry had considered doing so for years, long before he met Meghan in 2016.

“The working assumption is that the younger two children will get on and do their own thing,” said a source—whom Sykes described as “a former Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace staffer who keeps in contact with former colleagues.” They added of Charlotte and Louis that “They will be encouraged to not become working royals.”

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at the Coronation Big Help Out

The royal family, specifically William and Kate, are desperate to avoid a repeat of "the heir and the spare" dynamic that has plagued royal siblings in the past when it comes to George, Charlotte, and Louis.

(Image credit: Getty)

Of the aforementioned report from The Daily Mail’s Eden, Sykes’ source confirmed it, telling him “It’s absolutely true. The option isn’t there for George, of course, but the children have been kept at arm’s length from royal life. They are exposed to the minimum possible publicity, and that is a deliberate strategy to let Charlotte and Louis choose their own destiny.”

Of William and Harry’s basically nonexistent relationship—which was no doubt affected by “the heir and the spare” dynamic—“It is no secret that William has been devastated by the destruction of his relationship with Harry,” they said, adding that William “appreciate[s] that the whole system, where one of your kids is less important than the other due to an accident of birth, had a massive part to play in what happened and how it happened. There is an entirely reasonable argument to be made that, if you are born into the royal family, the logical thing to do is to leave it. The same logic applies to your kids—he doesn’t want to put them through a human mincer that is going to cause everyone misery. He and Catherine adore the children, and their whole lives are about the children. I think they want to find a practical solution to the ‘spare’ problem that has bedeviled the family for generations.”

The solution, apparently, is treating the three kids as equals, and, when the time comes, allowing Charlotte and Louis to forge their own respective paths. “If you look at the ‘spares’ who have made it work, you only really have [Prince] Edward and [Princess] Anne,” another friend of the family told The Daily Beast. “[Princess] Margaret’s life was pretty miserable. Harry, we know all about. I’m sure William and Catherine don’t want history to repeat itself.” 

The Wales family on the kids' first day of school at Lambrook

The three are reportedly being raised as equals, with no special treatment given to George because he will inherit the throne someday.

(Image credit: Getty)

Diana William Harry Austria

Diana always tried to treat both boys as equals, but the royal family edged them into "heir" and "spare" roles.

(Image credit: Tim Graham)

Princess Diana—who is, of course, William and Harry’s mother, and who tried to treat her boys as equals, although the royal family of yesteryear tried to exacerbate the difference between the “heir” and the “spare”—would have turned 63 on July 1, in one week’s time. “Diana’s birthday is painful for Harry and William both,” a source said, per OK. “For Harry, he thinks about what could have been, and William is reminded of being without her from such a young age. The loss of their mother cuts deep.”

They said that, of Harry ultimately leaving the working core of the royal family, “Harry was scarred by what his mother went through, and when he saw the same thing happening to Meghan, he knew he must act. He’s certain his mother would have approved of him leaving the royal family. Diana had tried to do the same, and he thinks she would be proud of him and his new life.” But, of William and Harry’s current relationship, they added that “It would break her heart to see brother against brother.”

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.