“The Queen and Charles met at the beginning of the year and spoke pragmatically about if and when she should step down,” shares a palace insider. “It was a difficult conversation, but one they knew they must have. It was a day they all knew might come eventually, but it doesn’t make it any easier on Her Majesty.
“Charles has spent his entire life absorbing from his mother what it means to be the monarch, and he has assured her that when the time comes he is determined to make her proud.”
When the pandemic entered a new surge before Christmas, the Queen felt it was time to make a “new plan”. During her meeting with Charles, she expressed her desire to “get through” her platinum celebrations in June, says the source, and then pass the baton to him.
“Though, her COVID diagnosis may speed that process up even further, depending on how well she comes through it,” continues the source.
The Queen hinted at such a decision earlier this month, when she announced that her son’s second wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, should be known as Queen Consort “when the time comes”.
“That was a test to see how well the public would react to a King Charles and Queen Camilla, and she was pleased with the result,” says a source. “A few years ago, it would’ve been out of the question.”
New Idea understands that “trusted figures” in her family have been made aware of her decision to stand down, including Princess Anne, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Adds the source: “For all the chaos that has surrounded her family in recent months, the Queen is content to leave her legacy in the hands of Charles and Camilla, especially given they have Anne, William and Kate alongside for support.”
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