Prince Charles Wants To 'Reform' The British Monarchy When He Becomes King, Like His Disgraced Great Uncle

Aaron Homer

Prince Charles has made no secret about the fact that he wants to make some drastic changes to the British monarchy, despite the wishes of his handlers and even his parents. As it turns out, another Windsor - Charles' great uncle, Edward VIII - had similar ideas, the Daily Express reports. Things didn't end well for Edward VIII, however.

An unnamed source says that Charles, 70, is "determined to push the boundaries to prepare for a new style of monarchy" when he becomes king. Already, through words and actions (or in one case, inaction), he's started down that road.

His parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William, do not approve.

Centuries of Royal Tradition

Not since the Magna Carta, enacted in 1215, has the monarch had absolute power in England. Over the subsequent centuries, the monarch's power has been eroded to the point that the monarch is basically a figurehead with no real political power. Sure, the British government serves at the pleasure of the monarch, and on paper, the monarch gives assent to all laws passed by Parliament, but in reality, the monarch has no power and certainly must not advocate for any political positions.

Charles, by contrast, has not only said that he might take political positions as king, but he has also already done so as Prince - for example, by acknowledging the need to address climate change.

Trimming the Fat

Charles has also indicated that he wants to "slim down" the monarchy. What he means by that is unclear, but he's indicated that he intends, at a minimum, to remove the titles from relatives far down the line of succession. Two such relatives are his nieces, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of his brother, Prince Andrew. Needless to say, that idea has not sat well with Andrew, who is reportedly not keen to see his daughters stripped of their royal titles.

He's also indicated that he's interested in selling off various Windsor-family properties that have been in the family for centuries.

Similarities to Edward VIII

Charles' goals for his reign, and for the monarchy at-large, strike some British historians as very similar to those of his great-uncle Edward VIII. Edward, says Ted Powell, author of King Edward VIII: An American Life, also saw the monarchy as desperately in need of some upgrades - in the 1930s.

"When Edward came to the throne, he promised a decisive break with the cautious traditionalism of his father George V... He believed that the Crown needed to modernize if it was to survive as a relevant institution – rather than an historical relic – in twentieth-century Britain."

Whether or not Charles' plans to update the monarchy will threaten its very existence remains to be seen.