A royal expert has claimed the royal family is in its "end game" and probably won't "outlast" Prince William's reign as king.
Hilary Mantel, the author of The Mirror and the Light, told the UK Telegraph, "I think it’s the end game. I don’t know how much longer the institution will go on."
"I’m not sure if it will outlast William. So I think it will be their last big era," she said, adding that she wondered whether the Queen was now "the only person who really believes in the monarchy".
"I wish the Queen had felt able to abdicate … I understand that she thinks of this as a sacred task, from which you simply cannot abdicate, whereas the rest of us think of it as a job, from which you should be able to retire."
"She believes that she cannot cease to be a monarch — she made those promises to God.
"It’s such a cliche to say, but what a lonely position to be in. It’s a conflict, because most of the world sees the royal family as a branch of show business. And I’m sure that is very far from the Queen’s own thinking," Hilary explained.
Speaking of Prince Philip's funeral, and the heartbreaking photos of the Queen on her own, the author added, "No other family would be expected to parade a very elderly, newly widowed lady before the TV cameras, and yet it’s taken for granted that’s what will happen."
Hilary continued, saying it's similar to when royal mothers are forced to appear on the hospital steps so soon after giving birth and that there's "no legitimate public interest behind it".
Interestingly, Hilary said she "wouldn't judge" Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and wished them well, adding she doesn't believe we'll ever know what really happened to them.
However, the author's comments have sparked backlash online, with royal fans calling her claims "absurd".
"Absolute load of tosh," one user Tweeted. "All the statistics say that we as a nation are behind the monarchy. I think there have been a few smear attempts this weekend at the royals and [especially] their future, but I think we are blessed to have them."
"The Royal Family are the impartial glue that keep the country together," another said. "They pull the county together as one under the Union flag. Big parties, weddings, funerals. State dinners and so on. We need that to remain neutral and impartial. The country needs a Royal Family IMO."
"Nope. If anything, the monarchy will surge in popularity when William becomes king," someone else suggested.
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