Prince Charles, 72, is the oldest heir apparent in British history and despite speculation, he may abdicate in favour of Prince William, 38, he is still expected to take the crown when Queen Elizabeth II, 94, can no longer serve. Royal author and expert Clive Irving has claimed the Queen is to thank for holding the British monarchy together until now and that it may collapse under Prince Charles.
Mr Irving’s new book “The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor” is due out on January 5.
In it, the author argues that Queen Elizabeth II is the linchpin that has kept the House of Windsor intact for so long.
Asked if he thought Prince William or his son Prince George may be the last ever king of England, Mr Irving claimed Prince Charles will “speed the monarchy’s decline.”
Reflecting on the future of the monarchy, Mr Irving told Express.co.uk: “To assess the future of the monarchy after the Queen it’s useful to look back.”
The author claimed that the Queen and her father King George VI were “exceptional” in terms of their ability to rule.
He said: “The Queen and her father, George VI, were exceptions in the Windsor line that followed Queen Victoria, the only ones to be exemplary in the role.
“Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII were all deeply flawed.
“Edward VII was a glutton and a lecher, George V was a bluff and ill-tempered man and a disastrous father, one result of which was the fecklessness of his heir, Edward VIII, whose abdication greatly damaged the monarchy.”
According to Mr Irving, the Windsor clan need to tackle the perception that there are “too many freeloaders and palace dwellers” among them if they are to survive.
He said: “What is salient to this attitude is the impression that the Windsors are too many, too many freeloaders and palace dwellers.
“Together the royal family occupies 15 state residences paid for by public money at the cost of at least 82 million pounds a year – in contrast, Denmark, for example, allots around nine million pounds to its royal family.”
According to Mr Irving, a “pared-down monarchy” may be the way forward if it is it to continue.
The author concluded: “A pared-down monarchy – fewer palaces, no freeloaders and attractively modern family heads – might make a re-boot work, but that’s impossible to judge right now.”
“The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor” is published by Biteback in the UK on January 5 and by Pegasus in the US.