Royal Family press offices set to merge

File photo dated 14/05/13 of Queen Elizabeth II being greeted by the Prince of Wales as she arrives at the Chapel Royal, at St James's Palace, central London, to attend a service for members of the Order of Merit Image copyright PA
Image caption Commentators have said the move signals a gradual shift to the day when Prince Charles will be king

The press offices of the Queen and the Prince of Wales are to be merged, in a further sign of preparations for the day when Prince Charles becomes king.

The new operation will be run by the prince's spokeswoman, but will be based at Buckingham Palace.

Last year, the prince represented his mother at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka.

A palace statement said: "We are merging the press offices to better co-ordinate various strands of activity."

'Transition not takeover'

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the move, which he said was a return to how the palace communications team was run in the 90s, was about transition and not a takeover.

Royal officials also described media reports of a mother and son "job-share" as incorrect.

It comes after a suggestion by the Sunday Times that the 88-year-old monarch's state visit to Normandy this summer for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings could be her final official foreign trip.

She has made more than 260 overseas visits during her reign.

But our royal correspondent said that, as things stand, this would not be the case.

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