As Prince Charles prepares to be crowned King of England, speculation is rife that it could happen sooner than expected.
But while he is eager to take on the royal role, some say it will come at a huge price … divorce.
According to a palace insider, the Queen – who turned 93 last month – will soon step down from her throne, officially bestowing all significant responsibilities on her oldest son, the Prince of Wales.
Of course, it is hugely important for him to gain the love and respect of the people, just like his mother has done for so many years, however, it is no secret that there are still some who have never fully accepted his wife, Camilla.
Could this mean that Charles may sacrifice his relationship and choose to rule as a single man to please the unhappy public?
“There is a lot of concern behind palace walls that Her Majesty is taking on too many responsibilities for someone of her age. The family, particularly Charles, want her to scale back,” a royal insider tells New Idea in a world exclusive, adding that the Queen is planning to hand the crown over to Charles on her 95th birthday on April 21, 2021.
And while Charles, 70, is said to be ready to take the throne in just 23 months’ time insiders say it’s left his marriage to Camilla on very shaky ground.
Royal sources claim Charles, who wed Camilla in 2005 amid a cloud of controversy,
is extremely concerned that the public still have not taken a liking to his wife of nearly 15 years, which is largely due to the details surrounding Charles’ first marriage to Princess Diana and the role Camilla played in that.
“This is a worry for Charles,” reveals our well-placed palace insider. “I’m surprised Camilla’s ratings are low because several polls in the last couple of years have shown her to be more popular with the public.
“What we must remember is that many young people don’t remember Diana and many older people have forgiven Camilla.”
The insider continues:
“The Diana diehards will always hate Camilla but time is a healer and more than 20 years after Diana’s death, I thought the worst was over.”
But it certainly doesn’t appear to be that way.
Back in March, a royal poll conducted by YouGov revealed that 34 per cent of the population had a negative opinion of the Duchess of Cornwall, compared to only 29 per cent who had a positive one.
Adding further unease for the future king, it is believed that many Britons also don’t want
to see Camilla take on the title of queen.
A 2017 survey carried out by the Express newspaper claimed that two-thirds of those surveyed didn’t think the duchess should be crowned queen – and only 19 per cent thought she was fit for the role.
Insiders say the public’s attitude towards Camilla has been a huge distress for Charles, who has always hoped that she would, one day, become queen.
“He wants to make Camilla his queen and he is taking on more and more responsibilities as the Queen gets older,” the source adds.
Just last week, the Queen asked her son to step in and host the season’s first garden party
in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in her place. Prince Philip has also retreated further from the public eye, recently handing over the patronage of the Chartered Management Institute to his daughter-in-law Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
“Now 93, there are rumours Her Majesty will virtually retire when she is 95. She won’t abdicate but will hand over in effect to Charles,” the source says.
But with no signs of the public’s opinion changing despite years of palace PR efforts to increase Camilla’s popularity, it is believed Charles may consider ruling alone. “He will need Camilla to be more popular, especially if he is going to be king,” a royal insider explains.
While a source close to the Duchess of Cornwall insists a divorce is out of the question for Camilla, could Charles’ desire not to disappoint the public result in a royal separation?
Our royal insider says: “Their marriage will last as it stands now because it has to. Charles doesn’t have a choice. He has nowhere else to go and no-one else who will stand by him.
“Camilla has taken all the c--p she can take, so she’s strong enough to handle what’s been dished out if she becomes queen, which is a role she wants.”