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Prince Charles is next in line to the throne, but the Prince of Wales could abdicate in favor of another royal – and his replacement might not be Prince William. Royal watchers believe there is a chance that Charles will give up his right to the throne so that his younger brother, Prince Andrew, will inherit the crown. The rumors are based on how Charles is now 70 years old and might not want to spend his final days ruling the monarchy.

Prince Charles and Prince William
Prince Charles and Prince William | Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Fans question Prince Charles’ future as King

Fans of the royal family are beginning to wonder if Charles really wants to become the King of England after Queen Elizabeth II. In the event that Charles abdicates the throne, royal experts have always thought Prince William would be the one to replace him.

But, as some fans have pointed out, Prince Andrew would also be a valid candidate for the job. After all, at the age of 59, Andrew has more experience than William and could be a better choice for the position.

The only problem with this theory is that Prince Charles cannot pick just anyone to replace him. According to International Business Times, the royal family has already decreed who will inherit the crown after Charles. As second in line to the throne, William will be King after Charles, barring some kind of tragedy.

After William steps down, his son, Prince George, will take the throne, followed by Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. That line of succession, of course, will change in the event that George gets married and has children of his own. Based on that law, it is very unlikely that Andrew will ever sit at the head of the table.

What happens if Prince Charles abdicates?

All signs point towards Charles accepting the crown, but there are specific things that would happen in the event that he abdicates. If Charles decided to give up his title and wanted Andrew on the throne, he would have to dictate such wishes in a document called an Instrument of Abdication.

Parliament would also have to approve of the document, which would outline exactly who would inherit the crown after Charles. Right now, Charles does not have the authority to declare Andrew next in line and will not until Elizabeth is off the throne.

The only legal way Andrew could take the throne is if Prince Charles did not father any children. Because Charles has two children, Andrew has zero claim to the crown. The same rule holds true with William, who recently welcomed his third child with Kate Middleton.

If William did not have any children, however, the crown would have been passed to his brother, Prince Harry, who has one son with Meghan Markle. As it now stands, Harry is currently sixth in line following all three of William’s children.

When will William be King?

While Andrew is clearly out of the running to be King, there is a chance that William takes the throne sooner than expected. Queen Elizabeth turned 93 years old this year and many experts believe there will be change in the monarchy within the next ten years.

Depending on how much longer Elizabeth lives, Prince Charles will likely take the throne closer to the age of 80. If that happens, there is a very real chance that he abdicates so that he can spend his final years in retirement. This would open the door for William to become King of England at a manageable age.

Recent surveys suggest that citizens throughout the UK like the idea of William becoming King over Charles. Not only is William one of the most popular members of the royal family, but he also does not have as much baggage as his father.

Charles faced a lot of criticism in the wake of his divorce from Princess Diana, especially after she revealed that he had an affair during their marriage. Charles has since repaired most of his public image but he still trails William in popularity.

The royal family has not commented on the rumors surrounding Prince Charles.