Queen Elizabeth II has served as Britain’s monarch since 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. When she ascended the throne almost seven decades ago, the Queen was just 25-years-old. But with her Platinum Jubilee scheduled for next year, the Queen has not yet signalled any intention to step down in favour of her son, Prince Charles.
In recent weeks there has been speculation over whether the Queen, now aged 95, could ever choose to step down from her royal duties.
Earlier this month, the Queen delighted the public when she respectfully refused to accept the Oldie of the Year award.
The Queen’s assistant private secretary, Tom Laing-Baker, wrote in response: “Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, as such the Queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient.”
However, there has also been national concern for the Queen’s health in recent days, prompted by news of her hospital stay last Wednesday.
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In a statement last Thursday, Buckingham Palace said: “Following medical advice to rest for a few days, the Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits.”
The Queen’s busy schedule has been scaled back in light of her recent hospital visit, but it is thought the Queen is still planning to attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow next week.
With royal engagements in the diary and a Platinum Jubilee bumper weekend planned next year, the Queen is still as dedicated to her royal role as ever.
So for what reasons might the Queen never step down from her role as monarch?
The failure to gain approval for his love match prompted Edward’s exit from royal life, and the decision resulted in chaos for the Royal Family.
The then-Duke of York, Prince Albert, was thrust into a royal role he was never prepared for, subsequently becoming King George VI.
And the upheaval meant George VI’s eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, would become heir to the throne unexpectedly.
Due to the negative association abdication has within the British Royal Family, the Queen may never wish to abdicate herself.
Dedication to her role
Another reason why the Queen may never abdicate is that she has dedicated her entire life to royal duty.
The Queen pledged on her 21st birthday in South Africa in 1947 that her whole life would be dedicated to royal service.
She 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.”
The Queen has shown over the last 69 years that she is an incredibly dedicated monarch, and she likely considers her role as Queen as life-long.
Royal historian Hugo Vickers told the Guardian earlier this year: “One main reason why the Queen will absolutely not abdicate is unlike other European monarchs, she is an anointed Queen. And if you are an anointed Queen you do not abdicate.”