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Prince William to be Britain’s ‘Shadow King’

Prince William is to undertake a “substantial part” of official public duties in preparation for becoming the next British monarch, a newspaper reported Sunday quoting a secret government document.

world Updated: Dec 14, 2009 00:01 IST

Prince William is to undertake a “substantial part” of official public duties in preparation for becoming the next British monarch, a newspaper reported Sunday quoting a secret government document.

The Queen, 83, is grooming her 27-year-old grandson as a ‘Shadow King’, the Mail on Sunday quoted the document as saying.

Britain’s royal family has, however, denied reports that Queen Elizabeth II plans to fork out a “substantial part” of her public duties to her elder grandson in order to prepare him for the throne ahead of his father.

The Mail said the paper - a briefing note written by finance ministry officials - shows that plans to ease the strain on the Queen and her 88-year-old husband are at an advanced stage.

The disclosure comes despite denials from the Palace that the Queen was planning to step back from her public duties and is set to fuel rumours that she believes William, rather than her son Charles, would make a better King.

The newspaper said a censored section of the document states that “from next year, it is expected that HRH The Prince William will spend a significant part of his time on official engagements... we need to put the necessary provisions in place in anticipation of that.”

The Mail on Sunday said: “The leak will add to speculation that the Queen believes William, rather than Charles, represents the best long-term interests of the monarchy, and will raise new questions about the timing of William’s long-anticipated engagement to his girlfriend Kate Middleton.”

It said Royal sources privately let it be known that the Queen would like other family members to bear much of the burden of her duties during the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

A spokesman for Republic, which campaigns for replacing Britain’s system of monarchy, said: “We have been misled. This shows that planning is well under way to prepare for the next succession.”