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New royal baby a boost for Charles camp

Wednesday May 8 2019

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. A first baby for Harry and his wife Meghan makes Charles a grandfather for the fourth time.  PHOTO | POOL | BEN BIRCHALL | AFP

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. A first baby for Harry and his wife Meghan makes Charles a grandfather for the fourth time. PHOTO | POOL | BEN BIRCHALL | AFP 

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By AFP
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The arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan's baby, who is due to be shown off to the world on Wednesday, is a further boost for heir to the throne Prince Charles.

Charles, who is gradually taking over royal duties from his mother Queen Elizabeth II, now sits at the head of a 10-strong group of royals including his two sons Princes William and Harry and their wives and children.

Reaching double figures, they are increasingly forming the core group of the royal family, overshadowing Charles's siblings: Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward.

"The ones that are really taking over and doing most of the work now are Charles's family," royal biographer Penny Junor told AFP.

"William and Harry are now full-time royals. And now they both have wives also working for the family firm, we will increasingly see more of them."

William and his wife Kate have three young children: Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.

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And a first baby for Harry and his wife Meghan makes Charles a grandfather for the fourth time.

Charles, now 70, is as active as ever on topics that consume him, such as climate change, urban planning and helping disadvantaged youngsters.

He often says his relentless activism is due to fear of his grandchildren asking him why he did not act when he had the chance -- knowing that he cannot be so outspoken when he becomes king.

Queen Elizabeth herself signalled that the future focus of the monarchy would be on Charles and his clan at the close of her 2012 diamond jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne.

Rather than the entire House of Windsor emerging onto the Buckingham Palace balcony, just the sovereign, Charles and his family appeared before the crowds.

Change in the royal family comes at a glacial pace. But Queen Elizabeth has gradually been managing down her workload in recent years, passing on duties.

She stopped long-haul travel after 2011 and has not left Britain since 2015.

Instead, Charles and Camilla have taken on what have become quasi-state visits overseas.

William and Kate have also undertaken some heavyweight trips to major states, while Harry and Meghan, married last May, have conducted their first two tours.

The three couples will increasingly be the face of the monarchy outside Britain.

 

 

Charles has begun leading the nation's remembrance of its war dead and accompanying Queen Elizabeth in opening parliament -- two key annual moments of symbolism for the monarch.

And last year the Commonwealth heeded Queen Elizabeth's call for Charles to eventually succeed her as the international family's non-hereditary figurehead.

Queen Elizabeth's official engagements have dropped from 425 in 2012 to 283 last year, with most of those now behind the palace walls.

Charles carried out the most engagements among the royals in 2018, followed by his younger siblings.

William, Kate, Harry and Meghan were well behind. However, that is expected to change in the coming years.

Andrew's reported attempts to muscle in and land royal roles for his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have been elbowed aside.

"He's tried, but Prince Charles was very resistant," said Junor.

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