How royals’ fortunes have changed
AS Australia - and the world - goes crazy over Harry and Meghan, a real-life "Game of Thrones" threatens to play out as the monarchy changes to ensure its survival.
There has been much speculation about what the monarchy will look like in future years, and how it will stay relevant.
Royal watchers in the UK believe Prince Charles has a long-term game plan for the monarchy when he eventually becomes king.
Sunday Times royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah said this week that Charles wanted something much leaner - and in fact, there were signs that was already under way.
In 2012 during the Queen's jubilee celebrations, there were only a handful of senior royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony to wave to the crowds. Apart from the Queen, only Charles, wife Camilla, William, Kate and Harry were present.
"The Prince of Wales is fully aware that Britain doesn't want a 'full fat' royal family," a source told The Times. "His vision of a slimmed-down family is the direct line - him, William, William's children and their children."
And while Harry may not have been a big part of those plans, things may have changed largely thanks to the Australian royal tour.
Many believe the stuffy monarchy can be saved by the glamour of the younger royals, or more specifically, the recent arrivals Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
Harry and Meghan have said they want a "normal" life for their child with no royal title but they will all still play a vital role in Prince Charles' future plans.
"Even though he is not in the direct line to the throne, Charles sees Harry and his family as an essential part of the core of the monarchy. You'd be crazy to sideline them and the Prince of Wales can see the impact they are having (on Australia) with which we have a tricky relationship," the source said.
As popular as the royal couple are, the threat of a republic in Australia and other Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand is still real.
Prince Charles, who was once put out by Diana's huge popularity, is now confident his sons, their wives and their children will benefit the monarchy, and not threaten to overshadow his own position once he assumes the throne.
Not everyone is happy though - and if there is going to be a split in the royal ranks it would be the slim monarchy that would ignite the tension.
Prince Andrew was reportedly furious when he and his children were left off the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2012, and will no doubt be upset at the way Harry and his family are being elevated, despite not being directly in line to the throne.
It exploded into the public arena this month when he made a reference to daughter Princess Eugenie's wedding being bigger than Harry and Meghan's "because they have so many friends". And then at almost the exact time Meghan's pregnancy was being announced his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson tweeted she was "so proud of these two" alongside a picture of Eugenie and new husband Jack Brooksbank. There was no mention of the pregnancy.
Charlie Proctor, editor-in-chief of Royal Central, told news.com.au it was evident Harry and Meghan would be an integral part of the royal family in the years to come.
"You simply cannot underestimate their universal popularity all over the globe. Look at the tens of thousands of people who lined the streets in Australia to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan. In the UK, we see these scenes every time the couple make a public appearance with far more people coming out to see them than most other members of the royal family."
He said, as a result, they would play a "key role in keeping the monarchy relevant in the 21st century".
But exactly what that role may be was still unclear.
"The roles which Harry, Meghan and their children will play under the reign of Prince Charles when he becomes king is less certain. It is widely thought that Charles wants to streamline family so there are less members who conduct official engagements. Whereas currently, the monarch's cousins and other distant relatives are funded by the taxpayer to be full-time working royals, it is widely rumoured that Charles will reduce the amount of royals who have official roles."
That could leave Prince Charles' siblings - Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne - out in the cold with a less official role.
"But, it is my understanding that the children of monarchs and their spouses will still undertake engagements as working royals. This means it is likely that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to carry out engagements for many decades to come. On the other hand, Harry and Meghan's children will likely have a similar position to that of Prince Edward's children, Lady Louise Windsor and Lord (James) Severn, meaning they will not be working royals when the time comes."
Senior royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told London's Daily Express Harry and Meghan were the "perfect complement to William and Kate".
"Everyone knows William will one day be King and Harry is sixth in line to the throne but this allows him and Meghan to champion causes more informally, which widens the monarchy's appeal.
"Meghan wants to 'hit the ground running' with her charitable work and both of them, in Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2018, will undoubtedly be trailblazers for the monarchy of the future."
Let the game of thrones begin.