Sources say Anne – who began her working royal life at age 18 instead of going to university, as Charlotte is expected to – has already, “in her own blunt way”, encouraged William, 39, to hand the title to his little girl as soon as it becomes available.
“Anne isn’t one for standing on ceremony. She’s 71 and is thinking about what that means for everyone,” says a source. “Besides, she has a real soft spot for William as she’s been something of a confidant over the years, and lately she’s had quite a lot to do with Charlotte as well.”
Palace insiders say William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, have been encouraging Charlotte’s love of horses. When they told her that her great-aunt Anne rode in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the youngster was “starstruck”.
“Charlotte told Anne last year that she’s her hero. It was very sweet, and Anne, who’s usually quite brusque, was quietly chuffed,” says an insider.
“Anne offered to give her some riding lessons. She’s very impressed at the early talent Charlotte’s showing in the saddle, and thinks there could be something there for her.
“Since then, Anne has taken a special interest in Charlotte, and it’s obvious she feels an emotional tie to her great-niece since they share the similarity of being the second-born child and first-born daughter of a monarch.”
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