When might Prince William become king?

It has long been a fantasy of royal watchers that, maybe, possibly, when the Queen passes away, Prince Charles would decide to let himself be skipped over, with Prince William crowned as the new king. In fact, an entire Broadway play—King Charles III—was devoted to exploring this exact topic, in detailed (hypothetical) fashion.

Of course, the chances of this actually happening are next to nil. Prince Charles, 68 years old, has been waiting for decades to take the throne, and it seems near-impossible to imagine a scenario in which he would decide, "Eh, actually, let's just pass it on. William, you're it." But that hasn't stopped Brits from debating and discussing the possibility. In Sally Bedell Smith's new, much-discussed (unauthorized) biography of Charles, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, she outlines how succession will likely play out.

"Charles will be King and Camilla will be Queen," she says. "They will not skip over to William, who is being groomed to become King probably in his late 40s or early 50s." (William is currently 34 years old.)

Smith adds, about Camilla, "She's got this vibey, sexy thing. As Joan Rivers said, 'She's rough around the edges. In a nice way.' [Charles] can be rowdy and fun with her. [In terms of her public perception] I think she's made a lot of progress . . . but she's not necessarily beloved."

Last week, an excerpt from the biography in which Smith details Charles crying on his wedding night, as he felt "pressured" into marrying Princess Diana, received much attention.

Smith says of the royal family dramas: "You don't have to watch [Netflix's The Crown]. The real stuff is better."