Prince Charles is now the “Shadow King” as he has taken over from the Queen and is leading the firefight against the scandal raging around Prince Andrew.
The heir-to-throne has been described as stepping up amid the storm swirling around the Duke of York.
Royal sources said this is the moment that Charles has well and truly transitioned into the role of the “Shadow King”.
Charles has been linked to a takeover for some time with reports claiming his mum will retire when she turns 95 in April 2021.
And that is in just 18 months.
The Prince of Wales is said to have taken the reigns during the fallout from Andrew’s disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight.
It brought his young brother – who said to be The Queen’s favourite – under increasing scrutiny over his links to paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
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Charles is reported to have flown back from his South Pacific tour and stepped up amid the scandal.
He has reportedly pulled the strings to have Andrew step back from royal duties, reports The Sun.
The 71-year-old has reportedly today been meeting with his dad Prince Philip to plan his next move.
Sources claimed that “regime change” and “regency” are banned words within the palace.
But reportedly it is accepted that Charles is now the one running the firm, and his handling of Andrew has seemingly made clear he’s now in charge.
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“Planning for Charles to become king has been going on for some time,” a royal source said.
“A transition is plainly already underway. Her Majesty is in her nineties and can understandably only do so much.
“The scandal surrounding Andrew and Epstein gave Charles an opportunity to step in to show that he can run The Firm. Noone is bigger than the institution of the Royal Family – not even Andrew, the Queen’s favourite son
“Charles recognised that and acted decisively — like the king he may well soon be. This was the moment when Charles stepped up as Prince Regent, the Shadow King.”
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Charles reportedly is hoping to take a scythe to the monarchy and slim down the royal family.
He is said to be consulting with his son William, the second-in-line, with his plans for the future.
Wills is also reported to have taken a leading role in decisions about what to do with Andrew.
He is said to have met with The Queen as the changing of the guard continues behind closed doors.
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A source said: “Charles has had discussions with William.
“They both know what he wants to do with the kingship.
“There’s no doubt Charles will also be pulling Prince Harry and Meghan into line once they return from their private break.”
Previous reports stated Andrew’s decision to take the BBC interview, and Harry and Meghan’s attacks on the press, have shown the Queen lost control of The Firm.
Charles and his wife Camilla were in Auckland as Andrew’s car crash interview with Emily Maitlis was shown.
He is reported to have received a damning assessment of it from his private aide Clive Alderton.
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It is said that following the interview, Charles advised the Queen that Andrew “had to go, it is the only way”.
Sources said that Charles did not speak to his brother, and it has been reported the two are due to meet in the coming weeks.
Charles is reported to have believed Andrew was an “utter fool” over the interview.
However, it is said he believes his brother is telling the truth as he denies any wrongdoing over his relationship with Epstein.
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Andrew has agreed to step back from royal duties amid the fallout from the scandal.
And it is likely to deepen once again when Virginia Roberts, who claims she was trafficked to Andrew for sex when she was 17 by Epstein, appears on BBC Panorama on Monday.
Buckingham Palace is reportedly carrying out a full probe into the Duke's friendship with Epstein.
And they are also investigating his links to his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, who Andrew claims was the source of his relationship with the paedophile.
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Andrew has faced criticism for showing a lack of empathy towards the victims of his convicted sex offender, who was found dead in his cell in New York in August.
He is now stepping away from the public eye amid questions about his future in the Royal Family.
Meanwhile, it has been reported the Queen has cancelled a party she was to host for Andrew's 60th birthday on February 19.
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There were plans for a formal reception for Andrew and the charities he was a patron of.
When the Prince of Wales turned 60 in 2008, he was given a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park and a party with more than 400 guests including European royalty and members of his charity.
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