Princess Diana's Surprising Answer on If She Thought Prince William Should Succeed Queen Elizabeth

Could Charles ever opt to abdicate? Highly unlikely. Some may point to King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 after just 11 months because of his desire to marry a divorced woman, Wallis Simpson — something the Church of England didn’t approve of, as both of Simpson’s former husbands were still alive. (The Prime Minister wasn’t thrilled either.) Charles himself is divorced, as is his second wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and it is public knowledge that he was unfaithful in his first marriage to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, with Camilla. Why is the situation different?

Short answer: It is no longer 1936. In 2002, the Church of England relaxed their position on remarriage if a former spouse is still alive. Though this has changed, Charles and Camilla were still not allowed to marry in the Church of England (they instead had a civil ceremony), because their relationship played a large role in the breakdown of Charles’s marriage to Diana. But even if the Church didn’t give Charles and Camilla their full blessing at the time of their wedding, societal attitudes toward divorce have evolved as well. In fact, divorce has become relatively commonplace in the royal family: Three of the Queen’s four children have been divorced, as was her late sister, Princess Margaret.

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In December, Queen Elizabeth posed for a portrait with the next three generations of expected monarchs: son Prince Charles, grandson Prince William and great-grandson Prince George.

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