London, Nov 16 : Prince Charles will become the King in another five years time, according to senior Palace sources.
Apparently, the Queen, now 82, has said that she is ready to stand aside when she reaches 87, and thereby allow Charles to take over.
At a private function to toast Charles's 60th birthday last week, senior courtiers were openly discussing the arrangement.
According to the Daily Express, the Queen has made it known to Charles that she would be prepared to allow him to become King.
Though Her Majesty is in robust good health and able to carry out a full schedule of engagements, the Queen recognises that in five years this may not be the case, and by then Prince Philip will be 92.
Respected royal author Hugo Vickers, however, was skeptical about courtiers openly suggesting the Queen will stand down.
He said: "The Queen made a promise in 1947 and she has always let it be known she will not abdicate.
"She was most displeased when Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicated in 1980, telling those close to her that abdication was wrong. Having said that, I can't see anyone wanting the Queen to reign at 100.
"There is no reason, however, why Prince Charles cannot adopt more kingly duties without wearing the crown."
Last night a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Queen has always made it clear that she will not step down and that hasn't changed."