In fact, well-placed sources insist the monarch views “abdication as a dirty word never to be uttered in her presence”.
“I remain of the opinion that, although the loss of Prince Philip is devastating for her personally, I don’t think it is going to impact on her role as monarch. I suspect that will continue pretty much as it has in the past few years,” says Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine.
“I think it is in her DNA. It also goes back not only to her speech in 1947 in South Africa, but more specifically to the oath she took at the time of the coronation. She is a committed Christian. That’s the contract she made with God, and I think something she feels can’t be broken. It’s just how she is… As monarch, she will continue as long as she is physically and mentally able to do so.”
Despite this, former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt believes the Queen will slowly step back from royal duties as her children take on more prominent roles.
He told The New York Times: “Fundamentally, the Queen will fade away gracefully. Covid has helped in the sense that it has accelerated what any sensible 95-year-old woman would want to do, which is not stand on your feet all day long.”
February 6 next year will mark 70 years of the Queen’s reign and plans are currently in place to commemorate the historic moment from June 2 to 5.
“The future year for her will be framed by the unique goal ahead of reaching her platinum jubilee,” Clive Irving, author of The Last Queen, tells Royals Monthly.
“This so far outstrips the record of Victoria that it’s unlikely it will ever be met again. A first for the last queen. A lot of planning has already been done. Obviously it did not anticipate Philip’s death.
Now the Queen is on her own and, without him, it will be more like Victoria – without Victoria’s glowering persona.”
Meanwhile, there are whispers from behind palace walls that Her Majesty has agreed to cede some of her powers to her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, in a historical move royal experts are calling a “gentle succession”.
“The Queen will keep to the events not requiring walkabouts and public handshaking and travel beyond either Windsor or London,” Clive explains, adding that both Charles and Prince William would now take on more responsibilities.
“Their roles will be different,” Clive explains.
“Charles always wants to be seen as the heir who is ready for the big role. William is the understudy but, more importantly, the one who seems to live in the current century, as does Kate. So they have to be careful not to seem to make too much of that contrast.”
The author also expects to see the Queen’s only daughter Princess Anne taking on more engagements in coming months.
“Don’t underestimate the increased influence and role of Anne,” Clive says. “More than Charles, she is the one who most embodies Philip’s style and closeness to the Queen. The Queen listens to her.
“The Princess Royal is far better equipped than her brother in qualities required of a monarch, much more in line with those of her mother.
“She is the most grounded of the Queen’s children and has never thought it appropriate to share her thoughts on public and political policies – as Charles too frequently has.”
Princess Anne is 15th-in-line to the throne but has long been hailed the hardest-working member of the royal family and is currently patron of more than 200 organisations. In fact, in recent months there’s even been calls for Anne to be moved up the line of succession, ahead of Prince Harry and Prince Andrew.
“If we were talking about a meritocratic institution, where the most able rise to the top – say, in academic or business life – there would be no question about it. But this is the Windsors,” Clive explains.
“The royal family does not operate on a merit system. If it did we wouldn’t be talking about the problems that would come with the arrive of King Charles III. Instead, we would be looking forward to the arrival of Queen Anne II.
“The number one problem over the next year, even including Harry and Meghan, will be what to do with Andrew. He made a clear effort to break out of the gulag during Philip’s funeral and talked on camera, but Charles wants him to remain in the shadows until the New York Epstein case is out of the way. Andrew won’t oblige Charles. He is still close to his mother and knows he can talk her into giving him some daylight.
“One of the striking things about the royal family, if you think about them as a family, is the three brothers have so little in common. They’ve never flown in formation and they’re very different characters. Charles is introverted, not a team-sports person.
"Andrew was a showhorse, the braggart, a grifter and very poor quality. And then there’s Edward, the unknown. ‘Prince Edward the Invisible’, because he’s had a very low profile – so almost as though he’s not there. Of all the children, Anne is the strongest one, she’s most soundly based, she works harder than anybody else.”
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