Prince Charles will essentially live in a “flat above the shop” in Buckingham Palace when he becomes king.

Prince Charles

Prince Charles

The 72-year-old Prince of Wales is known to advocate for a slimmed-down monarchy and he's reportedly been involved in a number of meetings to discuss what will happen to the royal residences when his mother, Queen Elizabeth, passes away and he takes the throne and the direct line of accession is reduced to himself and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and his son Prince William and his family.

According to a friend of the prince, Charles is exploring a “much more modest flat-above-the-shop situation” for Buckingham Palace, similar to the Prime Minister's set up above Downing Street.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper reports Charles would consider turning the queen's beloved Scottish retreat, Balmoral, into a museum to his mother, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could relocate from Kensington Palace to Windsor Castle.

Charles himself favours staying at Highgrove with Camilla, and having a more modest set of living quarters at Buckingham Palace, which would largely be open to the public all year round.

A source told the newspaper: “The central point is: when the Queen is no longer here, how do you effectively spread two generations of the family across quite a large number of properties?

“The Prince of Wales strongly believes that these places have got to deliver something for the public beyond just being somewhere for members of the royal family to live.

“Everything is seen through the lens of the question: ‘What value is this offering to the public?’

“Everybody recognises it makes no sense to run so many residences but if you give them up entirely you will never get them back when Prince George and the younger royals grow up and need somewhere to live.”

Charles' official Clarence House residence could be set aside for younger royals, while his siblings would stay in their current homes, Windsor's Park Lodge for Prince Andrew and Bagshot Park for Prince Edward, and Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire for Princess Anne.

The queen's living quarters at Buckingham Palace - which is currently undergoing a £369 million renovation - currently includes 52 bedrooms for royals and guests, 188 bedrooms for members of staff, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.