Friday, January 20, 2006

Royal Rumour has it...

Rumour has it that the Queen will step back, pare down on her duties and allow the Prince of Wales to act as Regent.

If true, I'm disappointed. I'm not a monarchist, but I'm comforted knowing that the Queen is still around. Like a grandparent I never visit, on a personal level, I care about her. She's the only queen I've ever known. She's on my stamps, my money, and on the various souvenirs I collect.

The Queen, of course, as earned the right to kick back and relax a bit. She'll be 80 in April. When her peers are retiring and spending winters in Florida, playing canasta, and making crafts with sea shells, she is doing investitures, reading important papers, travelling, and holding state dinners for 200+. Admirably she's still going strong.

Sure the Prince of Wales will do a great job, he's been apprenticing since he was 3 1/2 years old. Unlike Queen Victoria, who did not allow her heir, Edward VII, to access any papers, the Prince of Wales will be more prepared for his future role by QE2. It's reassuring, but it's not the same. What about the glamour and pagentry of monarchy? No one wears a tiara and priceless jewels like the Queen.

But should he really be handed the reins at the moment? With all of the furor surrounding his marriage to Camilla, shouldn't she let the dust settle? Won't this bring up all sorts of issues? His suitability as king? His name as sovereign? Camilla's title? His religious beliefs? There are all sorts of things for royal experts and the annoying Penny Junor to speculate on.

In her Coronation vows, I don't recall hearing anything about stepping back. Maybe it's in the interpretation. If we question her dedication, there are royal loopholes and disclaimers to prove us wrong. Legal experts will tell us we should have read the fine print.

It's nothing new for an heir to take on more duties when the monarch is unavailable or incapacitated. The Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth did so, but it just seemed different then. With a young and beautiful queen there was something to look forward to. Can we say the same thing about the Prince of Wales?

I'm sure the Prince of Wales will make a great king; when the time comes. Until then I'm just not ready to see her go.

Let's hope it's just a rumour.

© Marilyn Braun 2006

5 comments:

Sofia said...

It's incredible how many of the tabloids in the UK exaggerate all of this...

Queen Elizabeth will never step back as in abdicating, she will only cut down on her schedule as she reaches 80 this year.

It has been said that she will leave the abroad trips to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after she has paid her visits to Australia and Singapore this year - these two trips will probably be, if not her last, then one of the last longer trips she makes abroad. It has also been said that the Queen will give Charles more access to government papers, as well as letting him take care of more investitures. I don't see anything wrong in this, nor is it a problem for me personally. Charles is already acting as the Queen's representatives at official things such as investitures.

The Queen will still be the Head of State, and she will never give up her most important ceremonial roles such as presiding the State Opening of Parliament, hosting State Dinners and appearing at the Trooping of the Colours.

I personally think that it's the great result and warm receiving of Charles and Camilla's marriage that makes it possible for the Queen to hand over some of the duties. I also believe that this will be a great test for the couple and it will make Charles less restless in his role as King-in-waiting. It will also allow the people to get used to them playing a greater role in the commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth will be around for many years yet to come I believe, and we will continue to see Her Majesty play a great and important role in her commonwealth. Not until the days she might be really old and incapacitated will we see her withdraw. No worries, as she once said:

"I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

Marilyn said...

Welcome Sophia,

I like your site.

I haven't heard this story anywhere else so I'm going to assume that it's an exaggeration.

Yes, she's getting on in age and it makes sense for her to cut back on her duties (i.e. the travel). I'm surprised that she didn't do this long ago. It's pretty remarkable that she's continued all this time.

I'm sure that Charles will be a great king and that he has been receiving access to government papers and issues for a long time.I don't think he's unprepared and yes, it will give people time to get used to the idea. But, given his behavior in the last 20 years there will still be people who will not accept him or will give him grudging respect. The Queen has set the bar high, Charles has a lot to live up to. Must be what King Edward VII felt following Queen Victoria.

In terms of the public's acceptance towards Charles and Camilla, unfortunately I think that's still an issue - we can only look towards the media coverage of their recent US tour for that. They're in a position where the can't win, regardless of what they do. We wouldn't see the reports of Camilla 'finally gaining acceptance' by wearing a tiara, her seating near the Queen at a State Banquet. She's married to the POW and that should be enough,, unfortunately it isn't. People may not be ready to see Camilla in a more prominent role - look at how long it took for her to get to where she is today in terms of acceptance with the public.

I doubt that she will ever completely withdraw, regardless of her state, her sense of dedication, as by the quote you provided and the seriousness with which she took her vows, displays this. That's why it's all the more difficult for me to think of her 'stepping back'.

I do find those reports alarming,and especially if it will be official announced, does make me wonder whether there's something we aren't being told about her health.

Dawno said...

Clueless American, here. Could there be a strategy here that takes a long view - looking towards the next generation, i.e. Prince William? Just wondering where he fits in the equation.

Marilyn said...

Hi Dawno,

Maybe, but Prince William's position doesn't change either way.

But it might be a harbringer of things to come, that as the sovereign gets older, they delegate more duties to their heir, earlier, before any type of incapacitation. When Queen Victoria died she was quite elderly and held onto power until her last breath, mainly because she didn't trust her heir. For the present Queen to do this shows a tremendous amount of trust towards Prince Charles. Which, in a way, is very reassuring.

In the case of Prince William, depending on the longevity of the Queen, it's likely that Prince William will come to the throne at a much earlier age than his father. Therefore he may have a short apprenticeship! Should Prince Charles follow his mother's example of delegating, it can only help to make Prince William a better sovereign.

I hope that answers your question

Marilyn :o)

Anonymous said...

Ran across this.. rather funny pic of Charles
http://www.godsaveourking.com