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Prince William Could Break Royal Tradition Dating Back to Henry VIII When He Becomes King

“’His father is very spiritual and happy to talk about faith but the Prince is not,’ ” Robert Hardman quotes a senior palace figure as saying about the difference in William and Charles’ attitudes around religion

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Prince William at the funeral of Sir Bobby Charlton at Manchester Cathedral on November 13, 2023 in Manchester, England.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Prince William at the funeral of Sir Bobby Charlton at Manchester Cathedral on November 13, 2023 in Manchester, England.

Could Prince William decide not to be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England when he succeeds King Charles as sovereign one day?

Royal biographer Robert Hardman raises the question in his new book, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, serialized in the Daily Mail and out Jan. 18. According to the excerpt, there is speculation that the Prince of Wales, 41, may not take the title, which has been affiliated with British sovereigns since King Henry VIII in the 1530s, because of his beliefs.

“In royal circles, it is no secret that he does not share the King's sense of the spiritual, let alone the late Queen's unshakeable devotion to the Anglican church,” Hardman writes of William in The Making of a King, according to the Daily Mail.

<p>ADRIAN DENNIS/getty</p> Prince William leaves the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in London on May 6, 2023.

ADRIAN DENNIS/getty

Prince William leaves the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in London on May 6, 2023.

Related: Princess Anne Questioned Wearing Hat That Blocked Prince Harry at Coronation: 'Not My Choice'

“’His father is very spiritual and happy to talk about faith but the Prince is not. He doesn't go to church every Sunday, but then nor do the large majority of the country. He might go at Christmas and Easter but that's it,’ ” the author quotes a senior palace figure as saying. “'He very much respects the institutions but he is not instinctively comfortable in a faith environment.' ”

Prince William recently stepped out to attend church at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham on Christmas Day with wife Kate Middleton and their children Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, joining other members of the royal family for the outing observed for generations. Queen Elizabeth was known to attend church weekly throughout her record reign, and her “straightforward” faith was said to sustain her during the pandemic.

Kirsty O'Connor-WPA Pool/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth opens the new building at Thames Hospice in July 2022.
Kirsty O'Connor-WPA Pool/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth opens the new building at Thames Hospice in July 2022.

British Parliament outlines that King Charles automatically became Supreme Governor of the Church of England upon his accession following the death of his mother in September 2022, and he described his faith as “deeply rooted” in the Church of England in his first speech as sovereign the following day.

Related: Why King Charles' New Official Portrait Will Be Popping Up All Over the U.K.

<p> BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images</p> King Charles leaves Westminster Abbey following his coronation ceremony on May 6, 2023.

BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

King Charles leaves Westminster Abbey following his coronation ceremony on May 6, 2023.

The King, 75, has long shown an interest in interfaith relations and promised to maintain the Protestant faith and Church of England during his coronation ceremony on May 6, 2023. He can also appoint archbishops, bishops and deans of cathedrals within the Church of England on the advice of the Prime Minister — but William might do things differently one day.

In other differences between father and son, Hardman writes that Prince William favors box sets (television) where King Charles enjoys reading, and does not plan to be invested as the Prince of Wales with pomp and ceremony like his father did in 1969.

Hardman sheds new light on details around Queen Elizabeth’s death in The Making of a King, including insight into the circumstances surrounding the late monarch's death.

<p>Pegasus Books</p> The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy by Robert Hardman.

Pegasus Books

The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy by Robert Hardman.

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In an excerpt in the Daily Mail last Friday, the author shared a memo of the monarch's final moments from her private secretary, Sir Edward Young, who was at Balmoral when the Queen died on Sept. 8, 2022.

"Very peaceful. In her sleep. Slipped away. Old age. She wouldn't have been aware of anything. No pain," Young notes in the previously unseen memo that is now part of the Royal Archives, according to the outlet.

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