Prince Charles may not give his brother Edward a key title from their late father because of his efforts to slim down the monarchy, it's been claimed.
Prince Edward, 56, has expected to be made the Duke of Edinburgh when the Queen dies, the title that belonged to Prince Philip.
But according to new reports, Charles, 72, has not made a decision and may withhold it because he wants to "slim down" the monarchy, having fewer engagements and fewer titles.
If Edward were to become the Duke of Edinburgh it would mean his son, James, Viscount Severn, could then inherit the title when Edward dies.
According to the Daily Mail's Richard Kay, "rather than more royal titles, the Prince prefers fewer".
James, who is 13, is unlikely to ever take on royal duties, which complicates the conferring of an additional title.
The title of the Duke of Edinburgh is currently with Charles, and after Philip's death it was reported he would give it to his youngest brother when the Queen dies.
Royal biographer Hugo Vickers told the Mail: "If it simply gets merged with Charles's, it will never be heard of again."
Edward is currently the Earl of Wessex, and looks after the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme which was named after Philip.
Watch: Who is Prince Edward?
He and Sophie explained in an interview with The Daily Telegraph how Philip had spoken to him about inheriting the title before they married.
Sophie said: "We sat there slightly stunned. He literally came straight in and said: 'Right. I’d like it very much if you would consider that.'"
Edward said: "It’s a very bittersweet role to take on because the only way the title can come to me is after both my parents have actually passed away.
"My father was very keen that the title should continue, but he didn’t quite move quickly enough with Andrew, so it was us who he eventually had the conversation with. It was a lovely idea; a lovely thought."
Charles and Edward have not been known for a close relationship over the years. Charles was said to be furious when Edward's television company, Ardent Productions, tried to film William at St Andrews University in 2001, despite an agreement that he be allowed privacy while studying.
Sophie was also caught out by the fake sheikh, in tapes where she spoke at length about politics, appearing to support the Conservatives, and waded into the difficult situation between Charles and Camilla, before they married.
The earl and countess took on full time royal duties in 2002, giving up their work, and have recently been called a "safe pair of hands".
A Clarence House spokesman previously said: "All stories of this nature are speculation and no final decisions have been taken.
"It would be inappropriate and disrespectful to the Queen to comment on matters of accession and we will be maintaining our long-standing policy of not doing so."
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