Queen Elizabeth’s days as reigning monarch could be numbered, with new reports suggesting she will step down next year in favour of her son – but what will change?
Journalist and royal biographer Robert Jobson believes the Queen is reluctantly preparing to hand over royal duties once she turns 95.
“I still firmly believe when the Queen becomes 95, that she will step down,” Jobson said on The Royal Beat talk show.
Another royal reporter, Jack Royston, agreed the Queen would be apprehensive about giving up the throne for Charles.
“I think she won’t want to,” Royston said.
“But realistically she will get to a point where she has handed over everything to Charles and then how do you look your son in the eye and tell him he is not going to be king?”
This follows Prince Philip’s resignation in 2017, and an increase in Prince Charles’ duties and responsibilities, including conducting most foreign trips on his mother’s behalf.
“When [Charles] meets a king or president of high level, his visits are now state visits but he is still the Prince of Wales, which doesn’t have the same impact as the king,” Jobson said.
Prince Charles regent
In 2019, Jobson said the Queen would not abdicate, with many royalists believing she will instead choose to hand over ‘regency’ to Prince Charles.
In the event of illness, incapacitation or age (either too young or too old), The Regency Act 1937 allows a monarch to call upon a “regent”, who will act on their behalf.
“It is the Queen’s intention is to hand over to Charles when she turns 95,” Jobson told Vanity Fair.
“We are in a period of transition at the moment and it is my understanding the Queen wants to hand the regency over to Charles and in doing so, give him all the executive powers of the monarch.
“She will retain the title of Queen. She’s not abdicating, but there is enough scope within the Regency Act for her to step down should she wish to. We are talking regency, not an abdication.
“The most important thing is to maintain the strength and integrity of the institution. If she feels her advancing age is in any way weakening the institution, then she would bring about change.”
The Queen, who is the longest ruling monarch in British history, has held the throne for 68 years and will celebrate her 95th birthday on April 21.
At the time of her coronation, she promised to dedicate her entire life to the Commonwealth, suggesting she may not willingly give up her royal title to her son anyway.
“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,” she said in February 1952.
But if Prince Charles were to become king, what else will change?
Just can’t wait to be king …
One thing that may change when (and if) Prince Charles becomes king could be his name.
Most monarchs have changed their names, or go by a middle name when they ascend to the throne, though Queen Elizabeth was one of few who went by her birth name.
Historically, the other Prince Charles haven’t made a particularly good name for themselves.
King Charles I was beheaded in the 1649, and King Charles II was exiled in France for nine years, so a royal name change may be on the cards.
In fact, there is another name change Prince Charles has been considering.
Currently, the Queen’s full sovereign title is ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.’
Prince Charles said he would prefer to change the final word of the title from ‘Defender of the Faith’ to ‘Defender of Faith’ (or ‘faiths’), in an effort to be inclusive.
“I said I would rather be seen as Defender of Faith all those years ago because … I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country,” he told the BBC in 2015.
“And it always seems to me that while at the same time being defender of the faith you can also be protector of faiths.
“You have to come from your own Christian standpoint, you know, in the case I have defender of the faith and ensuring that other people’s faiths can also be practised.”
Another royal title change is expected for the Cambridges, who will become the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall after Prince Charles and Camilla become King and Princess consort (or Queen, depending on how Prince Charles wants to stylise his wife’s title).
Prince William will also officially inherit the title of Prince of Wales, currently held by his father.
Whether or not the maybe-future-King Charles III will make the costly decision to change over Commonwealth currencies (including Australia’s) that feature his mother’s stern expression is unknown, particularly as we progress towards a cashless society.
Counting out your coins at the tuckshop will never be the same.
In Australia, the status of our public holidays is sacred and luckily for us, one of the most important things that will stay the same if Prince Charles ascends to the throne will be the Queen’s Birthday public holiday.
It will likely be renamed to the King’s birthday, but it will remain on the second Monday in June, as it has since 1936.