Is the Queen stepping down really soon? That has been the question for years, but more so when it became apparent that she's scaling back on some of her duties and activities this year.
The pandemic is naturally a factor but is the rest of the royals starting to prepare for the day? Allegedly, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry are.
Are Kate and William truly stepping up more these days not because they need to in times of pandemic, but because they had to get used to working so much for when the Queen officially steps down from her role?
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, the queen's abdication just might be the main motivation for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to be more active and visible these days.
The Duchess, 38, and the Duke, 37 are presently in the limelight because unlike the previous years where they are not as active in their royal duties publicly, they are preparing for the Queen's stepping down. The expert claimed that the Queen simply could not go on forever, even though she is already the longest-reigning monarchy to date.
Therefore, even during a pandemic, or because it is a pandemic, Prince William and Kate Middleton have to continue supporting and cheering on charities. They have to continually be the face of calm and cheer for the frontline staff through video calls.
At the same time, they have to be reassuring and hands-on parents for their three children as palace staff are reduced.
According to Nicholl, even though the palace is adamant about playing down rumors that the Queen is already retiring, or the verge of abdication by scaling back, nobody is fooled.
The reality is that it is apparent more than ever that Prince Charles as well as the Cambridges are genuinely stepping up now. This is good evidence that the Queen is retiring soon.
Moreover, Prince William and Kate Middleton are already warming up to their duties. Nicholl said that it is apparent that as days pass and the two become increasingly involved in the thick of things, they are also letting their guard down." We're seeing them letting their guard down, and that is a result of what we are going through," the expert added.
The royal family plays an important role in the UK in ordinary times. Instead of losing their value during extraordinary periods such as a pandemic, they are being perceived as more valuable. This is because in really bleak times, people turn to the royal family for a sense of support, comfort, and even hope.
British people, in general, more so when they are royal fans and avid followers, can feel uplifted when they see or have a picture of what the future royal family is going to look like. If the royal family is a semblance of unity and the young generations of the family look happy and healthy, then the people can feel comforted as well.
This is why it can be observed that even though the times are uncertain, the royals have become more social and open.
"The royal family has gone to great lengths not to be seen to be aloof or distant or unrelatable," Nicholl explained.
Even though the Queen is stepping down and Kate and William are being so active these days to prepare for that eventuality, it does not mean that the Queen is already frail and cannot do anything anymore.
In fact, her recent activities, which include using a digital platform to communicate with the British and give them uplifting words and encouragement, just show how much she's still embracing her role as the monarch, even at 94.