There is a strong sign that Prince Charles is close to securing a title that would essentially see the end of the Queen’s reign.
If you ever want to see the Queen at his happiest – chatting happily, laughing and looking as happy as William the Conqueror when he realized they had won the Battle of Hastings and could stop for tea – so look no further further than the Windsor Horse Show.
For the horse-obsessed, the show is their Mecca, a chance to ogle as much horse flesh as an excited monarch could imagine. Normally it stands in Her Majesty’s backyard and she attends with enthusiasm and her Hermes scarves in place.
This week the Windsor Horse Show is back, for the first time since the pandemic, and Her Majesty was due to show up on day one, making the short drive from Windsor Castle where she now lives permanently. After all, she had a horse, First Receiver, competing.
According to reports, there were a multitude of royal protection officers crowding around the place, the media had been herded and an area cleared for the Queen. All that was missing was a little sovereign and her charming smile…
Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.
According to Telegraph“At the last moment word came from the castle that Her Majesty would not be coming after all.
“We thought there might have been concerns about the number of photographers present, given that she persistent mobility issues.”
(There have been reports suggesting the Queen now uses a wheelchair to get around the castle and does not want to be seen using said contraption by the public.)
This horse fall is just the latest in an ever-growing list of events the 96-year-old has retired from since October last year and for the first time a new word has begun to circulate, a word that would essentially signify the end of his reign: Regency.
Unlike abdication, which is a massive abandonment of the concert of power and would immediately trigger Prince Charles’ accession to the thronea regency would mean that he would rule in place of his mother, taking over all her official duties, while she still remained sovereign.
A consensual regency, if you will, has never been attempted before in British history.
The last time Britain launched a regency was in 1811 and King George III’s mental decline had become such that parliament finally agreed to let his unpopular son, later George IV, take over in charge. as Prince Regent. (Generally referred to as “crazy,” or if one has to leave the official royal family website “deranged,” some historians now claim that George III actually suffered from bipolar disorder.)
Contrary to this situation, the Queen’s mental acuity is uniformly and firmly believed to be at the top, but this could present a perfect solution for Buckingham Palace, as her ongoing health issues are increasingly hampering her ability to perform. day job. (One suggestion is that she is having heart issues along with her unspecified mobility issues.)
This week will go down in the history books as the first time the nonagenarian stepped back from the official opening of Parliament in nearly 60 years, replacing her son instead Prince Charles, after more than 50 years on the bench, to read his speech. (Prince William also got the go-ahead to attend, putting on his best gloomy monarch-in-waiting face.)
The symbolism of the moment was not lost on anyone; the baton had passed. It seems highly unlikely that we will ever see the Queen slowly walking through the House of Lords for the opening of parliament.
It was the most egregious example of a transition that took place quietly behind the scenes at the palace for years, with lifelong apprentice Charles now taking over all the most important and weighty ceremonial duties. of the sovereign.
It is Charles who has attended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings on behalf of his mother since 2013, Charles who for the past five years has laid a wreath in her name at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day and it is Charles who undertakes now many nominations. (The same goes for Princess Anne and William.)
This week also saw the return of the Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace and without the news that the Queen was, you guessed it, not in attendance for health reasons, leaving Charles to take on hosting duties.
Charles became king in all but name.
As the countdown to Platinum Jubilee celebrations ticks on, nothing less than a nuclear war will stop this particular royal spectacle from continuing. The Jubilee competition of 5000 people is ready. The corgis have been brushed. Even the self-exiled Sussexes return for the big day.
But could the Queen consider taking the most drastic decision of her career and consider setting up a regency after the Jubilee confetti has been swept away and the crates of voids thrown into the back of the palace?
Her Majesty has always viewed the abdication with the kind of disdain she would usually reserve, I suspect, for PETA activists, vegetarians, and Prince Philip’s German relatives.
But a regency? Now it’s a whole different story.
“Using the Regency Act is the first step towards abdication, which I suspect will happen once the Jubilee is over,” said Clive Irving, former Times reporter and royal biographer. daily beast this week.
This is a view supported by Duncan Larcombe, the former royal editor of the Sun.
“[The State Opening of Parliament] everything changes. The Queen really has no other choice if she is continually unable to fulfill her role as Head of State… if she is now apparently unable to do standard and essential duties as Head of State, then I think they will have to take it down, with the consent of course,” he also told the The beast.
Enter Robert Hardman who wrote his biography queen of our time with the support of the Palace. As he said at Beasts Tom Sykes: “I think the issue is really mobility, not something more medically troubling. But the fact is that his absence from the official opening of Parliament is not unprecedented, but the resolution of his absence – the use of the Regency Act – is.
A consensual regency would be a deft solution – think of it as a semi-abdication.
Virtually the only real outward changes would be that Charles would be able to order new stationery as Prince Regent and he would resume his weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Now, if that’s not enough to put the prince out of high office…)
The Queen could still, whenever she wanted, appear on the palace balcony or attend events like the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.
More importantly, it would give the poor woman pause. (In just about any other circumstance, a 96-year-old woman who still had to show up for work every day would see social services involved, quick sticks.) She could devote more time to her passions, such as gee-gees, and spend more time with her beloved great-grandchildren.
Plus, it would be a befitting final chapter of a historic reign, rather than that sad, shrunken version of a queen and a historic reign that we’re seeing right now.
For now, it’s time to start your coronation chicken sandwiches and order bottles of Pimms with as much enthusiasm as Princess Margaret sprinting to the drinks cart. But in a month? The royal landscape could be very different.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of top media titles in Australia.
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