Everyone loves the young royals. This is something we know for sure. In particular, the two grown sons of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry. People love them so much, in fact, that there has been wide speculation for years that Queen Elizabeth II should bypass handing the crown over to her oldest son and just go right for her popular grandson to succeed her as the symbolic head of the British Commonwealth. The subject of whether Prince William be the next king has never before been addressed by the famously tight-lipped Queen herself, until recently. And Prince William fans might not like what she had to say.
On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth (who is actually the longest-reigning monarch in the world, and celebrated her 92nd birthday on Saturday) opened a Commonwealth summit at Buckingham Palace and made her wishes perfectly clear; she wants her son, the 69-year-old Prince of Wales, to be the next leader of the Commonwealth. As she told the leaders of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth, according to TIME; "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949."
The Prince of Wales is already the "heir apparent" to the crown, which means that if Her Majesty dies or abdicates her throne he automatically becomes the next reigning monarch. It's a role he has known he would fill for his entire life, but perhaps he wasn't expecting to wait quite so long to fill it. He has been the heir to the throne longer than anyone in history, and has served as the Prince of Wales longer than anyone else as well, according to The Telegraph. But the decision to name him the head of the Commonwealth is actually not a decision the Queen can make, it is instead decided by the 53 leaders of the countries included under that umbrella, from Canada to Australia to Botswana and beyond. Two of the leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May, have reportedly already expressed their support for allowing Prince Charles to be the next head of the Commonwealth.
It looks as though Queen Elizabeth has been granted her wish; the media has reported that the leaders , who were at Windsor Castle for a 2-day summit to discuss issues regarding the Commonwealth, have agreed to allow Prince Charles to succeed his mother.
Which means dear Prince William will have a little while to wait until he someday becomes King.
While it shouldn't come as a huge shock that Prince Charles will succeed the Queen rather than being skipped over for his younger and (let's face it) infinitely more popular son, there are plenty of people who didn't want to see him reign. His long-term affair with his present wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, during his marriage to Princess Diana and the couple's subsequent divorce caused a scandal that some felt caused near irreparable damage to the British monarchy. In fact, a 2017 poll by The Sun found that most British people want Prince William to be the next reigning monarch, not Prince Charles. And then there's the question of Camilla Parker-Bowles role when her husband is crowned King... more than one-third of Brits said they would not want to see her become Queen.
But this is the British monarchy, not a democracy. And Prince Charles is the next in line for the throne. He has the backing of the Queen of England, and the leaders of the Commonwealth. Sure, he's got a dark past and he's not as popular as his son. And sure, lots of people sort of wish we could skip over him like he's a boring chapter in a well-loved book.
Be that as it may, it's not going to happen. Don't be sad though, we still have Kate Middleton's baby to look forward to.