The slimmed-down monarchy may not be “a mistake,” but royal historian Gareth Russell exclusively told Us Weekly “it’s not what was intended.”

“If you are to use the metaphor, the monarchy is underweight at this stage, it was never intended to reach the levels that it did,” Russell told Us while promoting his book The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of British History at Hampton Court. “It was always anticipated that you would have [King] Charles III with three working siblings and two working children and their wives, and that that would be a sustainable footing for the monarchy going forward.”

In the past five years, the firm lost Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (the pair stepped down from their senior duties in 2020), Prince Phillip (he died at age 99 in 2021), Prince Andrew (his titles were removed in 2022 after he was accused of sexual assault, which he has denied) as well as Queen Elizabeth II (she died at age 96 in September 2022).

“So at the minute we’re looking at a monarchy that really was just holding it together in terms of the number of functions they had to attend and events, overseas visits and particularly their charitable and military obligations,” Russell told Us, adding that Charles, 75, and Princess Kate Middleton’s aligning cancer battles shows “the cracks turning into craters.”

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Getty Images (2) One of King Charles III’s goals upon assuming the throne after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died at age 96 in September 2022 was to slim down the monarchy. The mission raised eyebrows in January 2024 when both Charles and Princess Kate Middleton faced health challenges. Prince William canceled several appearances at […]

Russell noted that this has sparked conversation among the British media about the possibility that Prince Edward and Sophie’s daughter, Lady Louise Windsor and Andrew’s two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, could be moved into senior working royal statuses.

“Otherwise it is unsustainable … At the minute, Prince William is the only senior working royal man under the age of 60 and above the age of 16,” Russell said, adding that two women royals fall into that category: Kate, 42, and Sophie, 59.

Royal Historian Says Slimmed-Down Monarchy Is ‘Not What Was Intended’- Family Is Underweight 444
Chris Jackson/Getty Images For Buckingham Palace

Russell noted that when Princess Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Queen Camila, Charles begin to scale back their duties, “there is going to be a seriously underweight monarchy when potentially you would just have King William and Queen Catherine dealing with it, doing all of it until their children come of age.”

William, 41, and Kate share kids Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince George, 5.

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“The slim-down monarchy sounded a very good idea when there were so many working royals back in 2000, 2001, but through a variety of factors it is now something that needs to be rethought,” Russell told Us.

Russell noted that when conversations about a condensed monarchy began, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret were alive. “That’s how long ago it was,” he added.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi