Why a Royal Expert Thinks Prince Charles Might Not Become King

And a member of Parliament predicts a "big public debate" on the role of the royal family.

As the rules of succession dictate, Prince Charles is next in line for the throne after Queen Elizabeth — but some royal experts think his ascension isn't a guarantee.

In a Vanity Fair cover story about the current state of the monarchy, Anna Pasternak, author of The Real Wallis Simpson: A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor, said that given the way Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have exposed the cracks in the royal institution, she's "not 100 percent sure that we will see Charles ascend to the throne."

"The Sussexes have sparked something so fundamentally incendiary in this country that it is changing the face of Britain, and I think the monarchy as an archaic institution may well topple," she said, adding that although changing the succession plan seems unlikely, "it may be that there is such a groundswell of public opinion against [Charles] that it's deemed by the firm preferable for William to ascend then because he's younger, more relatable."

Public opinion on Prince Charles took a hit following season 4 of The Crown, which reminded everyone of his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles while married to Princess Diana. Not to mention, Prince Harry mentioned feeling "let down" by his father in an interview with Oprah, adding that there was a time when Charles stopped taking his calls.

Prince Charles

Martin Wiener, Ph.D., a research professor at Rice University specializing in British history also predicted to Vanity Fair that without the Queen, "It'd be like, 'Who wants Charles to be our head? We're stuck with Charles.'"

Diane Abbott, the first Black female member of Parliament and former shadow home secretary, theorized to Vanity Fair that the monarchy "as we know it will last as long as the queen is alive."

After her death, Abbott said, "I think there will be a big public debate…and I think what the royal family and their advisers did with Meghan will be part of the argument for change."

Of course, any talk is speculation, but Abbott even predicts that the debate will reach the floor of Parliament, with a "clamor to look at the current arrangement and maybe move to a more Scandinavian monarchy, where you don't have all the pomp and ceremony."

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