Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth
Handing off the reins? Or, reigns?
While Prince Charles is set to take a more central role in the life of the British monarchy – stepping in to help his 87-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth – palace sources strongly deny this means the Queen is preparing to step aside for her son.
She is still planning a full year of engagements, and a visit to Normandy for the anniversary of D-Day landings is not "out of the question," one says.
Still, a key step underway is to merge the press teams of the two households, under the command of Sally Osman, who is Charles's communications secretary.
The step will mean better coordination of schedules and ensure that the message is clearer, insiders believe.
"A number of members of the Royal Family support the Queen in her work, and it's better to coordinate the communications around that to have everyone here working on the same team," a royal source tells PEOPLE.
Still, with Monday's news reports, longtime royal chroniclers find themselves adjusting to what changes may lie ahead.
"It is not a 'job share.' Prince Charles already has a packed diary and can't take on the Queen's role unless he gives up some of his work. This is where William and Harry come in. It is about them taking on some of the work too," says royals author Judy Wade.
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty
magazine points out the red boxes of government papers the Queen has to read each day "take up a massive amount of her day," and Charles can step in and help.
She adds, "It was always the plan to wait until Prince William
was settled before making any major changes. Prince Charles has always been insistent his son should have as much family life as possible before taking too many royal duties.
"Combining the two major royal offices makes perfect sense. It is time Prince Charles eased the burden on his 87-year-old mother and she has finally agreed he can do so. Therefore, William and Harry
have to do the same for their father."