Queen Elizabeth II was spotted driving around her Windsor estate today, just four days after she was advised by doctors to take a two-week break from public life. The ambiguities surrounding her health have once again fired up the rumor mill, leading the British press to speculate: will the Queen be forced to retire soon?
The 95-year-old, who has been the picture of health for the last seventy years of her reign, came down with an unspecified illness last month that led to an overnight hospitalization. She canceled a trip to Northern Ireland and withdrew from the highly anticipated COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, which started on October 31st and will continue through November 12th.
Her decision to opt-out of the conference, which is hosted by the U.K. and has been described as world leaders’ “last best chance” to save the planet from the worst of climate change, has prompted concern & questions about the severity of the illness. So far, her aides have tried assiduously to keep the details private. Take a look at the likelihood of the queen’s retirement and the future of the U.K. without her reign.
How likely is it that the Queen will retire?
Queen Elizabeth II is unusually healthy & energetic for a woman just five years shy of a century, but though she evidently couldn’t sit still long enough to complete a two-week rest regimen, she’s subtly showing signs of slowing down. Her doctors recently advised her to give up both consuming alcohol & her favorite hobby, horseback riding.
The monarch has also been photographed using a cane to walk and now conducts meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson by phone instead of traveling to Buckingham Palace once a week.
Queen Elizabeth II has long made a point of refusing to retire despite her advanced age, the various controversies that continue to dog the royal family, and the period of mourning following the death of her husband, Prince Philip, at 99 in April. Abdication is still a relatively rare occurrence: only four monarchs have ceded the throne in the past 100 years, according to a research group at University College London.
What will happen if Queen Elizabeth chooses to retire?
However, a royal biographer informed Newsweek in October that the Queen will retire if “her health becomes detrimental to the monarchy.” If this happens, Elizabeth will likely remain Queen in name but will hand off her duties as head of state to her son, heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales (72).
Though the biographer predicted that the Queen may effectively retire in the next four to five years, he maintained that it’s not a decision that Elizabeth takes lightly since, at 21, she pledged a lifetime of service to England that she’s strictly adhered to ever since. Opinion polls continuously demonstrate that the majority of British subjects view her contributions in a positive light, despite the scandals that besiege her children.
In lieu of an in-person appearance, Queen Elizabeth II has recorded a video message for the delegates at COP26, which includes President Joe Biden. The Queen has confirmed that she intends to lead the annual observance of Remembrance Sunday, a national holiday honoring the service of British World War I soldiers, as always on November 14th.
Do you think Queen Elizabeth II should retire soon? Should Prince Charles really be next in line for the throne? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.