LONDON —The death of Prince Philip, the steadfast consort at Queen Elizabeth II's side for more than 70 years, comes at a time when the royal family is under intense public scrutiny.
Modernizing the monarchy may mean a smaller number of working royals; more virtual engagements, which began during the coronavirus pandemic; and less prominence given to set-piece ceremonial royal calendar events, in line with trends in other European royal households, said Carolyn Harris, a royal historian and author.
She added that Philip's death was likely to "accelerate" and increase the public duties given to younger royals and cast a greater spotlight on Prince Charles and his son Prince William — both heirs to the throne.
"The younger generations of the royal family are more inclined to speak their minds and prioritize their personal lives in addition to their royal duties," Harris said.
She noted that Prince Charles was criticized for speaking out on issues such as climate change, inner cities and homeopathic medicines, in contrast to the non-interference and guarded private persona that has characterized Elizabeth's reign.
Public squabbling among younger royals — including between Prince William and his wife, Catherine, and the self-exiled Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan — generating headlines in the British and American press has also put the family under substantial scrutiny.
William and Kate could also seek a more holistic balance between their public duties and their family life with their three children, Harris said.
Prince Charles is older," said Marlene Koenig, author of European and British royal biographies.