LONDON, U.K. (NEWS 1130) – After 67 years on the throne and witnessing some of the biggest events of the last century, Queen Elizabeth II is reportedly getting ready to take her most significant step back since her reign began.
British tabloids are reporting that Canada’s head of state is planning to retire after her 95th birthday in August 2021, and hand over the reign to her oldest son, Prince Charles, the king-in-waiting.
“Her Majesty is mindful of her age and wants to make sure when the time comes, the transition of the Crown is seamless.,” Robert Jobson, a former senior member of the Royal Household told the UK’s Express.
“I understand the Queen has given the matter considerable thought and believes that, if she is still alive at 95, she will seriously consider passing the reign to Charles.”
The Queen has been lightening her load in recent years and her husband, Prince Phillip, already withdrew from his royal duties two years ago, when he was 95 years old.
The Express reports royal succession rules say the Queen can’t completely retire and walk away without abdicating, but she can stop all of her royal duties and responsibilities should her health become a concern, in which case a regent would step in as a placeholder.
The Sun also reported that transition plans are ramping up.
“Planning for Charles to become king has been going on for some time. A transition is plainly already underway. Her Majesty is in her nineties and can understandably only do so much,” a well-placed royal source says.
Prince Charles has already been assuming a more leading role within the royal family in recent years and most notably in the last month, in the midst of the controversy surrounding his brother, Prince Andrew and his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Reports suggest Prince Charles was a driving force behind the Queen kicking Prince Andrew out of Buckingham Palace.
Abdication traditionally the only option
Dr. Sarika Bose, a UBC English professor who specializes in Victoria literature and history, says in the past abdication has been the only option for monarchs.
“She is one of very few monarchs who have lived to such a great age and there hasn’t really been a plan for that, there hasn’t had to be a plan for that in the past,” she says.
“[The Queen] was firm on never abdicating and that’s due to her family history, of her uncle abdicating the throne and its responsibilities on very personal grounds but retirement is a different kind of option.”
A sort of retirement would likely see the Queen withdraw from royal duties without renouncing her throne.
“She would symbolically still be the head of state, she simply would not have to do the many, many duties everyday that the monarch does do,” adds Bose. “And that ranges from reviewing state documents at the end of everyday tp going and cutting ribbons.”
Bose says while the concept of a monarch retiring is still a new concept, having other members take over the day-to-day duties is not too unusual.