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Prince Charles may use "mafia boss tactics" to slim down the monarchy and deny his brother Prince Edward the Duke of Edinburgh title, it has been claimed.
The Earl of Wessex has waited over 20 years to inherit his late father’s title after the Palace announced in 1999 that he would succeed his father in the dukedom “in due course” with the blessing of the Queen and Prince Philip.
However, royal tradition dictated that the title would pass to Charles following the death of his father in April and earlier this month, a source close to the Princes of Wales told the Sunday Times that he is reluctant to give the title up.
And now, royal commentator Richard Kay has said Charles has been "devoting more and more thought to the future" and there have been "discussions about the whole top tier of the Royal Family".
The line of succession on the official royal family website includes 22 positions, with Prince Charles in first place and Master Lucas Tindall, grandson of Princess Anne, in final place.
But the Prince of Wales is thought to want to slim down the monarchy to just eight key members, all senior working royals, according to reports, in order to more easily handle PR scandals and to reduce the number of family members who are funded by the sovereign grant.
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This could mean Prince Edward is not given the Duke of Edinburgh title, which would reportedly go against one of his father Prince Philip's wishes.
On Charles’ eventual accession to the throne, the title of the Duke of Edinburgh will merge with the crown – meaning the new King will be able to grant Edward the title.
It leaves Charles with the decision of whether to grant the title to Edward, another member of his family, or leave it in abeyance.
And he could use mafia tactics to enforce the decision, according to the report.
In the Daily Mail, Mr Kay wrote: "For all the talk of changing times, Charles's difficulty is appearing to go against his father — and his mother's — wishes. Perhaps, in the end, he will rely on that old mafia phrase: 'It's not personal, it's just business."
Mr Kay recently revealed he believes Charles’ attitude is motivated by a more modern approach to the monarchy.
After Edward's marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, the Queen granted him the title of the earldom of Wessex, a title he chose.
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Edward is reportedly aware that it is not certain that he will be granted the title, as he said in a BBC interview: "It was fine in theory, ages ago when it was sort of a pipe dream of my father’s.
"Of course it will depend on whether or not the Prince of Wales, when he becomes king, whether he’ll do that, so we’ll wait and see.
"So yes, it will be quite a challenge taking that on.”
He has also previously described the title as "bittersweet" as it can only be passed to him after both parents die, according to the Sun.
Daily Star has approached Clarence House for comment.
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