Queen’s latest portrait includes just FOUR royals as Charles plans to cut size of monarchy

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THE Royal Family’s decision to release a rare portrait of the Queen and three future kings could be a sign of Prince Charles’ desire to see the monarchy significantly slimmed down.

The Queen’s son, 71, is said to be keen to shave off members of the family who are not immediate heirs to the throne in a bid to cut the taxpayer’s bill. On Friday Buckingham Palace released a photo showing the Queen, 93, Charles, Prince William, 37, and Prince George, six. It marked only the third time all four were pictured in an official snap after portraits were released to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday and George’s christening. 

But while the two previous images were taken to celebrate special milestones, this one was released to simply welcome the “start of a new decade”. 

It comes after weeks of speculation that the Prince of Wales is pushing for a pared-down monarchy which could see many members of the royal family further down the line of succession booted out. 

Evidence of Charles’s plans go back as far as 2012 when just six members of the royal family stood on the palace balcony to watch the flypast to market he Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

The Queen was joined by Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. 

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The Queen poses with Prince Charles Prince William and Prince George for a New Year snap Image GETTY

The Queen poses with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George for a New Year snap (Image GETTY)

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This official photo showing four generations of royals was released to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday (Image: GETTY)

This official photo showing four generations of royals was released to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday (Image: GETTY)

The gathering was much smaller than the two-dozen strong crowd that filled the balcony 10 years previously to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. 

As the Epstein scandal engulfing the Duke of York escalated last year, royal commentators said it could accelerate Charles’ bid to axe several royals from the family. 

The first-in-line to the throne is said to have played a key role in the decision to have Prince Andrew step down from royal duties “for the foreseeable future”. 

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The Queen was joined by the future heirs at a Christmas event which saw Prince George make puddings (Image: GETTY)

The Queen was joined by the future heirs at a Christmas event which saw Prince George make puddings (Image: GETTY)

And since then there has been evidence the royals are trying to streamline. 

In December eagle-eyed royal fans also pointed to the Queen’s decision to concentrate on the three closes heirs to the throne in her televised Christmas message. 

The monarch was seen sitting behind her desk with framed snaps of her father, King George VI, Charles and Camilla, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Cambridges. 

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The photo of the Queen and three future kings was taken at Buckingham Palace (Image: GETTY)

The photo of the Queen and three future kings was taken at Buckingham Palace (Image: GETTY)

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The Prince of Wales took a key role in the decision to step down Prince Andrew from royal duties (Image: GETTY)

The Prince of Wales took a key role in the decision to step down Prince Andrew from royal duties (Image: GETTY)

Royal fans were quick to gush over the newly-released New Year photo and praise the family for ringing in 2020 with such a “momentous” picture. 

One person tweeted: “Now that’s a beautiful picture! 

“All the future generations of the throne with our current Queen Elizabeth.” 

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Prince Charles is said to be keen to pare down the monarchy to just the heirs, their spouses and children (Image: EXPRESS)

Prince Charles is said to be keen to pare down the monarchy to just the heirs, their spouses and children (Image: EXPRESS)

Another said: “Fantastic photo and it’s not every day you see four generations together and all of them vibrant and beautiful.” 

And a third said: “This is the start of what Prince Charles envisions; a slimmed down monarchy. 

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Charles, 71, wants to see distant heirs to the throne booted out of the monarchy (Image: GETTY)

Charles, 71, wants to see distant heirs to the throne booted out of the monarchy (Image: GETTY)

“Expect more events with just the four of them or photographs like this until he can really follow through with plans to phase out members of the royal family from royal duties, tax exemption… etc.” 

The image was captured by photographer Ronald Mackechnie in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. 

Source: EXPRESS CO UK