Prince William is set to become acting monarch in all but name as he steps in for the Queen and Prince Charles during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Duke of Cambridge, 37, could take over the monarch and heir to the throne over the coming weeks, royal experts have told Daily Star Online.
The Queen, 93, this week fled Buckingham Palace as she moved into her Berkshire residence Windsor Castle to effectively go into self isolation.
Prince Charles and Camilla also cancelled their royal tour of Jordan, Cyprus and Bosnia and Herzegovina as they locked in at Clarence House.
Both Her Majesty and heir to the throne Charles, 71, both fall into the “high risk” category of the coronavirus outbreak.
And it is people in this category – including the over 70s and those with underlying health conditions – that have been urged to stay indoors.
We revealed exclusively last month how steps are already underway to beef up William's role in the royal family which saw him attend a secret Kensington Palace meeting in preparation to take over from his dad Charles.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that people in this category should isolate for a period of 12 weeks.
This would leave Prince William – who is second in line to the throne – as the most senior royal allowed to carry out engagements.
And royal experts have told Daily Star Online they think William will be stepping into the Queen and Charles’ shoes as a result.
Charlie Proctor, editor of Royal Central, said: “As he is the only senior member of The Royal Family under 70, he will likely be the one undertaking visits to hospitals, emergency services etc in place of The Queen and Charles who would normally do so.”
Coronavirus: Prince Charles and Camilla cancel royal tour over COVID-19 outbreak
And Brittani Barger, deputy editor of Royal Central, addeD: “I think it's possible that Prince William may take over some of the engagements of his grandmother and father, but it all depends on advice regarding Covid-19.
“As we all know, younger people can carry the virus even if they don't show symptoms.
“Everything is a big question mark at the moment with governments across Europe shutting their countries basically down.
“I think The Queen and Prince Charles will be undertaking a lot of duties behind closed doors that they can via phone or video link, as will many members of the Royal Family.”
Charlie added, however, that he thinks the Royal Family will massively scale back engagements over the coming months.
He said: “I don't think we will be seeing much of Prince William over the next few months.
“The government has been clear that people should avoid unnecessary social contact, and Prince William will have to set an example to others.
“This means he is likely to stay behind closed doors, with perhaps just the occasional engagement supporting emergency services.”
Buckingham Palace already announced earlier this week that the Queen’s garden parties are being cancelled, as were all other engagements involving mass gatherings.
It also suggested the Queen’s birthday celebrations – Trooping the Colour – also looks set to be axed as the Covid-19 pandemic grips Britain.
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The Palace said in a statement: “As a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, a number of changes are being made to The Queen’s diary.
“In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by The Queen, and other Members of the Royal Family, in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed.
“The annual Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel on 9th April will not go ahead. Three Garden Parties hosted by The Queen, due to be held at Buckingham Palace in May, will now not take place. Guests already invited to these Garden Parties will be asked to attend in 2021. Two additional Garden Parties given for the Not Forgotten Association and the National Trust will also not take place. Investitures will be rearranged to later dates.
“Further announcements on Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the State Visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan will be made in due course, in consultation with Government.”
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