Prince William to bring in 'replacements' for Harry as royal expert says 'we've seen a glimpse of the future'

When the Prince of Wales took centre stage and hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace earlier this week, fans of the Royal Family were delighted by one very sweet gesture – inviting his cousins to join him and meet members of the public.

It was understood that William personally invited cousins Peter Phillips, 46, Zara Tindall, 43, Princess Beatrice, 35, and Princess Eugenie, 34, as well as Zara’s husband Mike Tindall, 45, to join him at the celebration.

While this heart-warming move was praised, a leading royal expert has explained why it goes beyond just being a family moment and why it provided us with a "glimpse of the future".

The Prince of Wales took centre stage at the garden party

This decision to have his cousins join him on day, former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond says, gives a rare insight into what the monarchy could be like under King William, when he eventually succeeds his father.

“I thought it was joyful to see this new generation of royals step up to help William at one of the traditional engagements of the year,” she exclusively told OK!

“What a shame it was raining, but I think their guests would have been genuinely thrilled to meet this younger, less formal and, let’s face it, more fun generation of Royals.

William invited his cousins to join him -Credit:2024 WPA Pool

“I think it gave us a glimpse of the future: when William becomes King. He may not have his brother at his side, but he will have a band of loyal and close relatives to help him represent the monarchy.

"I’m sure that, whenever they can, they will step up to help William when the burden of Kingship finally falls on his shoulders.”

Not in attendance at the garden party were their two youngest cousins, 20-year-old Lady Louise Windsor, who is studying at the University of St. Andrews, and 16-year-old James, Earl of Wessex.

Zara Tindall pictured speaking with husband Mike at the garden party -Credit:POOL/AFP via Getty Images

After a challenging number of months and the King's recent return to duties, a number of engagements were cancelled so that they do not "divert attention" from a newly-announced General Election campaign.

A statement from Buckingham Palace read: "Following the Prime Minister's statement this afternoon calling a general election, the Royal Family will – in accordance with normal procedure – postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign. Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result."

The King and Queen's D-Day 80th anniversary appearances in Portsmouth and Normandy in June are expected to go ahead as scheduled. However, the announcement will disrupt other events in the carefully planned forthcoming royal diaries.