Queen and Prince Charles to merge media teams
The communications teams of Queen Elizabeth and her heir, Prince Charles, are to merge, helping to smooth his eventual transition to the throne.
The Sunday Telegraph called the latest move "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 switch is expected to take place in the next few months.
With Queen Elizabeth now 87 and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 92, their eldest son Charles, 65, and his 66-year-old wife Camilla are gradually expected to take on more duties on behalf of the monarch.
Charles's media staff will be moving from his Clarence House residence to Buckingham Palace, with his communications secretary in charge of the new combined operation.
The separate Kensington Palace press team - which handles Charles's elder son Prince William, his wife Catherine, their baby son Prince George and Charles's younger son Prince Harry - is also being brought into the fold. Reports suggest the move should avoid clashes of coverage as younger royals perform more engagements.
William, 31, and Harry, 29, have both in the past year given up their roles as military helicopter pilots, which should allow them more time for royal duties.
"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 said. "There will be more activity and in that context it makes sense to ensure tighter co-ordination. It stands to reason that by combining the operations now we are well prepared for any future transition."
Charles is increasingly taking on major roles representing his mother, particularly abroad. The queen has not left Britain since visiting Australia in 2011.
Queen Elizabeth is the symbolic head of the Commonwealth. But in November, Charles represented her for the first time at the organisation's biennial summit in Sri Lanka.