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Prince Charles Assuming Royal Duties of Aging Queen Elizabeth II

Image: Prince Charles Assuming Royal Duties of Aging Queen Elizabeth II

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 09:47 AM

Prince Charles is assuming more and more royal responsibilities on behalf of his 87-year-old mother as Queen Elizabeth II delegates her duties ahead of the eventual transition of power.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the latest move will happen in the coming months when Prince Charles' communications team merges with the queen's.

It's "the clearest indication to date that the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are preparing to hand over an ever-increasing amount of their workload to the younger generations," the British paper noted.

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Prince Charles, who's next in line for the throne, already appears at international engagements in place of his 87-year-old mother, who hasn't left Britain since 2011.

"The thinking behind it is there are obviously a number of members of the royal family who all work in support of the queen and by combining all operations into one we can better support that activity," a royal household source told Agence France-Presse. "There will be more activity and in that context it makes sense to ensure tighter coordination . . . It stands to reason that by combining the operations now we're well prepared for any future transition."

But critics say the queen isn't likely to abdicate the throne anytime soon.

"If anyone is driving this forward, it will be the queen being realistic about what she is and isn't able to do at the age 87," royal commentator Roya Nikkhah told CBS News. "I think Charles knows that he has to step up. The junior members of the royal family know they have to step up, too."

CBS correspondent Mark Phillips was more blunt.

"Queen Elizabeth is not retiring, not even semi-retiring," he said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "She's a thoroughly modern monarch; she's delegating."

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