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Coffee & Kate: Upcoming Events + A Regency?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Good morning all! It has been in the low 40s here, and sometimes even hitting 50 during the day, yet I still run round all bundled up with chattering teeth. But, I love this cold weather on a morning I get to stay inside with a steaming cup of coffee and watch the gusty wind blow the leaves all over...from the the cozy side of the window pane. I thought I'd briefly share Kate's calendar updates with you to get us started. 

Kate's Calendar 

KP announced yesterday that on the 22nd, William and Kate will pay a visit to Birmingham for a Coach Core appearance. Then on the 24th, the couple will attend the Royal Variety Performance, and finally on the 28th, Kate will visit the Foundling Museum in London. It's a great line-up! I am, of course, massively excited for the Royal Variety Show, at which these two made their debut in 2014 while Kate was pregnant with Charlotte. They were representing the Queen, and it was a big event for them, since generally only Charles stands in for his mother. More passing the baton, me thinks, which, brings us to the next chit chat.

Is Elizabeth Preparing for a Regency?

I know there has been quite a bit of conversation in the comments this week about whether the Queen is slowly moving toward a regency or abdication, and I wanted to add my two cents, or two pence depending on your side of the pond. ;) 

The Queen is 91 years old. When her time comes, she might die quietly in her sleep. She could drop dead on a brisk walk with the corgis. She could catch a cold that takes her quickly... My point is not to muse darkly about death, but to highlight that some people are hearty and hale until one day they just go. My grandmother was fit and seemed set for some years, and one day she suddenly declined, and was dead within two weeks. But, other people decline more slowly. They move from walking without assistance to needing a walker, to a wheelchair etc. Perhaps they begin to slip a little mentally... You see my point. Aging can culminate in an abrupt end, or a slow descent. 

We seem to assume, I think, that the Queen will be as she is until the day she dies. The narrative that her life, be it long or short, will be devoted to the service of the crown, has created this idea that she will be able to serve to the bitter end. I saw a comment on Twitter that essentially asserted that it is all in the attitude, "you can will it." Well, no you can't. Unless you are hiding the fact you are God, which would be very interesting, none of us can will reality into existence. Positive thoughts can only take you so far. I think that Philip is declining, just in the general aging process, and the Queen knows that if she is lucky in years, it is inevitable that she too will grow frail. She will not be able to carry the full load her whole life. So, she can either still undertake every single duty, or she can start to lighten her load, which is the same thing as beginning to pass the baton. It does not mean that she will ever complete the transfer. I do not believe she will ever abdicate. She will die the Queen. 

From a PR perspective this is a good move. She still looks healthy, but she is (of her own volition) choosing to begin to transfer some of the burden. That way, she can also keep her health private. She can minimize the possibility she will have to publicly alter her pattern due to health, because she will already have set a precedent for a slow transfer. The Cenotaph is a prime example. Royal reporter Richard Palmer (and I confirmed this with him) asked the Palace reps if the Queen would lay the wreath in the future, they said no, she would never lay it again. That duty has passed to Charles. 

What about a regency? Depending on how long she lives (the Queen Mother lived past 100), Elizabeth may very well need a regency of some kind. That's just the reality. Or, she may just reduce her duties more and more and prioritize big State events. Only time will tell that, but I think we can certainly see a plan in motion here, and that's not a bad thing. 

Roger Federer & Family Visit the Cambridges

Federer and his family are in London for the ATP Finals, and they were pictured leaving their hotel with two wrapped gifts and then arriving at the Kensington Palace gates! The family spent about two hours visiting with William and Kate, according to the Daily Mail's report. You can see pictures of the family leaving the hotel and arriving at KP here. As you know, Kate loves tennis and has admired Federer for years. Since becoming a princess, it appears she has developed a social relationship with Federer and his wife. 

The connection has extended to Kate's family, and you all know that Roger and his wife Mirka were guests at Pippa's wedding in May.  A month or so ago I did a post on Kate and tennis, if you missed it you can read it here. It would be so fun to see Kate do some kind of joint engagement with Roger! 

Ok, I better leave this post here, because the day and other duties, beckon. If you are feeling nostalgic for school days and the joys of intellectual (over) stimulation, I have posted a Kate fashion quiz on my Instagram stories (Stories are only available on the mobile app, and only available to those who have updated their phones within the last year, *cough* Mom!). Don't miss it! It will expire around 9pm EST today. Lots have already taken it, and I hear it is hard. I thought it was hard, too, but I hope you still enjoy it!  Good luck! 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I think we should refrain from discussing the end of Her Majesty and Prince Philip’s lives.
    They are both still very much alive and I imagine they find comments like these very distasteful.
    How can they make the effort to carry on their appearances if they know people are expecting them to drop dead any moment......."Long may they live to reign over us "

    1. Sorry, Margaret, I just have to jump in here to defend my comments. :) First, I do not royal watch with a constant thought that the Queen or Philip will drop dead any day, and frankly it is one of those things that feels as if it will never happen. But, it will someday, as we all will die one day. We are seeing an interesting shift in the monarchy, and it isn't distasteful to discuss it respectfully. The Queen has obviously been giving it considerable thought, as she should. History has shown how disastrous it can be to refuse to plan for mortality. One of the Queen's duties, in fact, is to think about this, because she cares for the smooth transition of the institution she serves. Straying beyond the scope of this post, I personally feel that a little introspection on life's brevity and inescapable conclusion is very healthy. It puts a lot of things in perspective and ensures we don't look back toward the end having missed what's important.

    2. Jane, your remarks about the queen were thoughtful and realistic. As much as she is loved and her participation is enjoyed and anticipated, realistically keeping pace with the numerous demands of crown and duty must be terribly taxing. How lucky she is to have enjoyed so many momentous occasions during her reign. She has certainly earned the privilege of picking and choosing her appearances. She has Charles, as well as William, Kate, and Harry to take on some of the duties, it must also be with a sense of pride that she is able to pass the duties forward. May she continue to make appearances as long as she feels comfortable doing so.

    3. Reign over us... and that is why I love royal watching from an assured cleared distance, across the pond in the US.😂

    4. The whole family prepares for a possible period of mourning every time they pack a suitcase. They all bring mourning clothes with them just in case a senior member of the family passes either naturally or unexpectedly while they are away. It's a part of their lives. They couldn't be seen descending from an airplane in brightly colored clothing from a trip to India if someone in the family just died. Jane, your comments were perfectly appropriate and just the kind of chatty conversation one would turn to when speculating how these next few years will play out.

    5. Maggie - MinneapolisNovember 19, 2017 at 5:00 AM

      And like...the fundamental premise of the monarchy is that it is a power or leadership structure that determines the ability to access power and leadership through hereditary means. So while the power and leadership structure that a representative democracy uses has key and very important moments of transition based in specific term limits then forcing elections presumably based on meritocracy in context of the things the public thing are important... For a monarchy the key transition moments happen not based on a certain length of time served but rather the death of the current leader which is responded to by promoting their genetic heir to thr vacant position. Especially as monarchies around Europe have consistently lost power and in many cases any role at all...the transitional moment of the most powerful monarchy remaining in the world is an especially crucial moment that matters so much. I think just remembering that we are not trying to hypothesize about deaths of individual ppl even though that becomes an inevitable thing..but the purpose is recognizing the historical and political relevancy of the monarchy and just how long it has been an important institution esp in great Britain and so why the magnitude of all that makes transition moments now esp not just worrisome moments... But even if not worrisome, just... historic.

    6. Maggie - MinneapolisNovember 19, 2017 at 5:15 AM

      Analogously it is why the birth of an heir in monarchies is viewed as so important to any monarchy sustainability..that birth should also be seen as totally individual and personal if that's how death should be seen. And like then the only reason births of heirs are important for a monarchy at best is same as why like other famous ppl like actors and politicians who attract more attention too just bc we are always more interested in famous ppl.. But there is a reason that's not actually how births in a family in monarchy is not valued entirely like other famous ppl. The others giving birth has no national significance in terms of the structure and governance setup of a country even when the birth of the child of a political leader in other non hereditary systems.. No part of the nation's governance institutions rely on the idea of current leaders having children as a good or bad thing. Whereas the monarchy, while yes the unique popularity and interest in cambridges bc of their personal appeal does increase how much ppl pay attention to and value their family choices, it's not the only reason that birth is given so much attention and natoional significance for royals. Church bells don't ring when a politician has a baby, or definitely not every year for the birthday of that child. But life and death is the monarchy even more than all of life being about that cycle in some way. Can't care about birth part without recognizing how that relates to the death part also being important too then.

  3. Regarding a regency. There is very little that the Queen currently does that she can hand over to anyone else. Certain duties are sovereign specific. Audiences (or which there are many) and meetings with PM, signing legislation, majority of papers in the red boxes, officially appointing PM, Head of the Church, Head of Armed Forces etc are non transferable. These currently take up about 70% of her duties but are not too wearing because they mainly take place inside the Palace.

    The issue is being seen by the public - she said, after all, “I must be seen to be believed”. She is still touring the UK ( great trip to Hull this week) but this is going to be the dilemma for her. How to find the balance between managing her physical capabilities/increasing age vs being seen by and meeting the public.

    So there is very little remaining that can be delegated. And a regency obv isnt handing over some of the job, its all of the job.

    Sad to envisage but I think that in the end much will rest on the health and life of Prince Philip.

    1. In terms of handing over, I am envisioning purely exterior and taxing activities, namely her still heavy schedule of public appearances, which as say, is the majority of the monarchy for modern purposes. Those she can continue to delegate. Can you explain further why you think that Philip is a deciding factor?

    2. Re Prince Philip - it is how she responds if he dies before her.
      Regarding your comment about exterior/taxing activities - the most taxing are probably Trooping the Colour and State Opening of Parliament which can't be delegated. The taxing activities are those such as the trip to Hull this week and this is the dilemma I mentioned. She feels she needs to be seen and that is correct. There isn't a heavy schedule of public appearances, not any more.

    3. I agree that how HM responds to the death of PP is a deciding factor in how often she will be seen in public. They have been together a very long time and he does seem to be declining quite a bit. Not surprising as he is five years older than HM which, for most of their lives, wasn't a big deal. When you start talking about people who are in their nineties, however, it's quite a gap.

      I do not, however, see her ever abdicating. It was her life and the life of her father that were directly effected by the abdication of Edward VIII and she made a promise to her subjects at the time of her coronation. I think the duties she must do as sovereign will stay hers and she *may* only carry out visits locally in London or near Windsor. I believe she will hand most of her other patronages and visits to Charles, William, Kate, and Harry. I can see Harry being given many of PP's military responsibilities.

      I do believe that we will see great changes set in motion over the next 2-5 years and it will be jarring because HM has reigned for such a long time and from such a young age. She is the glue that kept the family together when all else was crumbling around her. I also believe there are far fewer people willing to support a King Charles than are currently willing to support Queen Elizabeth II. William, Harry, and Kate will need to step up quite a bit and be seen regularly as the future of the monarchy because, unlike Princess Elizabeth becoming queen when she was 25 and relating to the younger generation, Charles will be in his 70s and has always seemed to be old for his age. He's not very relatable and Camilla is just not queenly. Their personal history is a big black eye on the monarchy and it will be up to the younger generations to keep things fresh. I think Edward and Sophie are actually better representatives than C&C.

    4. Maggie - MinneapolisNovember 19, 2017 at 4:50 AM

      It seems like Phillip would be a deciding factor only in terms of emotional health affects that affect esp in old age motivation and ability to continue that high level of commitment to any part of her role in the monarchy. But entirely on a logical level, the argument for why she rejects abdication now and that logic shouldn't be affected by something like a spousal death. But I think that tension in a world of Phillip dying first would be accepted by the public bc of gender norms - I. E. a king would be viewed much more as weak and failing to meet his duty if the death of his wife led to shifting out of most of the visible parts of the monarchy that as Jane says is a huge fundamental part of it. I don't think this means we should dislike or think badly of the queen if in the event of her spouse dying it affects how much of a role she continues to play in the monarchy. Mostly bc I just do not think it is a useful criticism to make in this specific circumstance that isn't more true and with more important implications if made as criticism about gender norms from much earlier always playing certain negative roles in how the queen has ruled as monarch (not bc of her fault obviously not blaming her for gender norms) and how she is perceived.

  4. I thought both the Queen and Phillip looked very emotional on Remembrance Day, more so than usual. For 2 people who have had such good health and ability, this turining point may have hit them quite hard.

    I too believe that the Queen will die a Queen. If Phillip was to pass before her, I think that we will see a completely different face to the royal family and much less of her.

    1. I totally agree - no abdication but if PP dies before her, we will see less of her. I felt really sad last Sunday, it felt like the end of an era, a good era

    2. I agree as well. As strong as the Queen has been, if PP does pass before her, I think it would have a tremendous impact on her on several levels. And, ultimately, it may impact her own wellbeing.

  5. Maggie - MinneapolisNovember 19, 2017 at 3:36 AM

    One interesting thing that I don't mean as definite denial of everyone who thinks prince Phillip and the Queen looked sad and the tying of that to the unique circumstance of maybe health concerns now or the transition to no longer laying wreaths and being involved in the remembrance processions and shifting to observation making them sad bc end of Era etc... Like I felt the same way at first but then I started thinking.... It does seem like we are really tying our own sadness and concern about those things and assuming maybe too much that anything about how they seemed this yr is actually different or proves that they think a certain way instead of being mostly confirmation bias. I Google searched on the images tab just 'prince Philip remembrance' and most pictures for me were from other years or other remembrance related events and Philip looks sad in a lot of them... Bc it's sad obviously just based on the purpose of remembrance Sunday and so maybe even the sadness theyre showing now is still about that. Also like... Esp with prince Phillip but with all ppl esp as they age... Their faces I think become more tending towards appearing to express certain feelings (like same concept as 'resting bitch face' but resting whatever face as you get older like level of wrinkles for some will make even their smiles look like grimace etc). So if there is a real arg for them looking more sad than usual this yr that can't be explained by us reading that into it bc we find new reasons to be sad ourselves... That level of really looking differently or more sad could just be an age thing.

    Now like I said at the very beginning,I don't think this firmly disproves the idea that they are more sad and it is bc of the transition or health concerns...but I think does sort of make sure to emphasize how much ppl are relying on assumptions and acknowledges without some acknowledgement that
    .. And yes, most discussions about royals are very much based on assumptions since they are so not public or reality TV like as part of their allure. But I dunno, I feel the need to make sure we try to reiterate and emphasize the assumptions being made in cases like this bc something like the interpretation of health problems is such a huge thing to assume... Bc in this context it matters more and is scarier than even assumptions about how sick kate is from hg based on how she looked at appearances while still suffering from it for ex... Those assumptions don't lead to conclusions that she is likely to die or not die. Health concerns given the context of where the queen and prince are in life are so much more serious in terms of implications, which for me increases the importance of reminding ourselves that ultimately for now are based in just assumptions. I know I sound very convoluted... Not entirely sure I've figured out how to express this feeling I have inside lol.

  6. The subject of a cutting back of duties versus a Regency or Abdication is interesting. Personally, it seems to me that when physical or mental impairment of a Monarch occurs, it's time for either a Regency or Abdication--it's not a great idea to drag things out well past a person's ability to fully function.

    Of the two options, Regency and Abdication, the latter seems preferable because it's more humane and more clean-cut; I cannot think of anything more sensible than to permit a king/queen to retire at a set age which, hopefully, would allow that individual and spouse to enjoy some years off-the-hook, so to speak, and while still healthy. Further, Abdication makes it perfectly clear--we'll know who's in charge.

    I've read all about the two main arguments put forward whenever Abdication is mentioned: 1. that Abdication is anathema to the Queen because of Edward VIII's shenanigans, even though the circumstances between Edward VIII and the Queen differ entirely; 2. that the Queen couldn't Abdicate because of the fallout re the Charles-Diana-Camilla saga--that is, because the first and last were so unpopular, BUT even if unpopular, wouldn't it make more sense if Charles were King whilst the Queen was still around? After all, it's been suggested that some realm countries intend to delay a referendum until after the Queen's death, so allowing Charles to sit on the throne while the Queen still lived would, presumably, give Charles and Camilla time to prove their worth, give the British public and the realm countries a chance to get used to them and just might dampen the animosity toward the pair.

    As for that youthful speech the Queen gave to the effect that she would serve her country as long as she lived, why do so many take this so literally? There's more than one way to serve the best interests of a country, and a monarch who really is "past her sell by date", who has relied ever more heavily upon younger family members to pick up her slack, could choose to Abdicate as a means of service.

    Lastly, if Abdication ever becomes the norm in the U.K., as it has in several Western European monarchies, it might make it a whole lot easier for George to find a wife willing to take on the wretched job of Queen Consort.

    Retirement, via Abdication, is obviously the best way forward, at least, to me.


    1. I was following your argument JC until the very end. I'm not understanding though why it would make it easier for George to find a wife. Because he could say "hey honey, you'll get to be QC pretty quickly because Dad will step down. But don't worry, we will be able to retire once our first-born is old enough to take over?"

    2. JC, you make a very good point about the Queen's speech about serving as long as she lived. That was actually written by King George VI's private secretary, Tommy Lascelles, during the King's tour of South Africa in 1947. The idea was to get young people the idea that the monarchy was a good thing, because at that time countries were rebelling and demanding their freedom from the British Empire.

      As far as a regency, I read in the Guardian or the Independent that if she lives to 95, then she will ask that the Regency Act take effect. I don't think she should ever abdicate and that term really needs to be reserved for situations like Edward VIII where he just left it all behind.

      There should be a fixed retirement age of say 80. And after that, the next in line gets it. The retirement should mean they give up the funds from the Duchy of Lancaster, they give up the real estate and retire to a house on one of the estates. And they stay out of the limelight and no longer have a court and they be given a new title, like King emeritus like professors get when they've retired.

      I totally agree with Jane's view. People do decline and staying on might be that her judgment has declined and that is the reason for the regency. Charles is already taken over so many of her duties.

      Btw, I went back and read over the press during the 2012 Jubilee and if you recall, Prince Philip had a bladder infection right after that ride down the Thames. He then had to have surgery and he spent the summer and fall out of sight. I think he may have had prostate cancer which is very slow growing in the aged and often causes bladder infections. I think he may have had the tumor removed during that surgery and received some form of treatment. I think it was cancer because they would not discuss the type of surgery he had, yet when he had to have a stent placed for his cardiac aliment they had no problem discussing that.

    3. JC,as I have mentioned previously, Abdication in the British monarchy is not just a glorified retirement.
      I am not certain about all the European monarchies that employ abdication routinely as a retirement and means of bringing on the next generation. I do know the monarchy which Elizabeth II heads was founded on the principle of the " Divine Right of Kings." That was behind the shock of the royal family that Edward VIII's abdication caused; behind the public shock with the death of Charles I, the one monarch I know of who has been publically executed, not in battle, an honorable death. God put them on the throne; it is not for Man to remove them. If not for that foundation, George VI might have felt free to decline to serve. Reportedly, his wife blamed Edward for forcing her husband to take on the task and felt it caused his early death. (actually, cigarette smoking played a part)
      That may sound like a lot of malarkey to some, but the Queen takes it seriously.
      A Regency under circumstances that did not require that the Queen be ruled inadequate is possible. The question is whether or not Prince Charles would accept that limbo state--almost as bad a being POW for 50 years. He would have more authority and could perform monarch-exclusive tasks, but his wife would not be Queen.
      I don't think we will see an abdication and "the rules" can't simply be changed. It would mean changing the soul of the monarchy.
      The statutes governing a Regency probably should be amended.
      I would absolutely hate for HM to simply fade away, becoming more and more disconnected . The British monarchy has never been a matter of one monarchy slowly transitioning to another. A Queen seen as gradually becoming weaker or obsolete is not in the best interest of the country. A slow transition does no one any good and it could cause a great deal of harm to the monarchy.

    4. Anon1, in what way do you see the slow transition doing no one any good, and even harming the monarchy? I am trying to think of examples, but I am not coming up with any. Interested to know what you are envisioning when you say that.

    5. I'll try to explain.
      It would do Charles little good because his status and power would remain basically the same yet he would have to assume more work. The real status elevating duties such as opening Parliament would likely not be part of the slow transition process, although he managed to appear at HM side in Phillip's place.

      It would not help the Queen. For one thing, I think it was a huge blow to her self image as Queen to have to stand there and watch her son take over this significant responsibility. What other British monarch as had to stand and watch a monarchy be slowly taken away? Whether she is attempting to ease Charles's public acceptance or not, it is chipping away at her monarchy. As I clearly pointed out, his performance of that Cenotaph function was unnecessary as far as conserving her energy or health. What purpose did it serve? Other than to elevate his image.

      Finally, what effect does slow transitioning have on the public? For one thing, I imagine Charles getting out amongst the UK public with daily chores might give his future subjects a better chance to adjust to him than nearly back to back foreign tours or a Cenotaph duty . Have Sophie and Edward take on some of those tours. There is no reason they could not have visited he Caribbean islands, for example. William and Catherine seem to have done a number of the more significant tours anyway, with more coming up. Harry is out there, too. What about Andrew?
      Also, we have a public now that is already mourning the Queen as they see her slowly giving up one task after another. Contrast that with a Queen in Regency who can appear as Phillip does on select occasions, yet be photographed taking long walks at Windsor, riding her horses, tending the Corgis, as well as maybe going for ride in Phillip's horse carriage. Much better for public morale, in my opinion, than the slow wasting away of her Monarchy.
      Re: public image of British monarchy. The only way to exhibit the strength of the monarchy is to go from one strong monarchy to another. Not from a gradually disappearing monarch to her substitute.
      The longer Charles remains POW with his status in limbo the more restless he may become. He could conceivably force the Queen's hand and bring about a Regency based on incapacity of the monarch; or make real the rumors of a power struggle. That won't do Charles, HM, the royal family, or the kingdom any good.

      As I have said, in my very humble, non-expert opinion, I recommend the swift change by Parliament of the protocol for Regency followed by a well-timed follow-through.
      Enactment of Regency should be timed to allow her to leave her duties with dignity, if not at the height of her reign, at least as a functioning monarch. Not one who has been declared inadequate. I think giving up patronages and other visits makes sense. Giving up significant public ceremonies only serves to undermine her image and in a way, the monarchy--which could effect Charles's reign. If the day comes that she is unable to host the Diplomatic Reception or appear at Trooping or can no longer keep up with the paper work, even with assistance...then the revised Regency could be invoked, hopefully with her agreement and assistance.
      Otherwise, we are literally talking about the living death of a monarchy.

      PS As my friends are well-aware, don't ask me a question unless you are prepared to sit a spell and hear my answer. :+)

    6. Anon1, the so-called "Divine right of Kings" was cooked up by James VI (who was known as James I in England). It's a political and religious scheme. The monarchy was not founded on it.

      And the often repeated story about the abdication being such a burden for George VI was because George VI didn't want to give anybody any ideas. He was not supported by the politicians, not even Churchill, or those in the aristocracy who found him to be a poor second to his brother. There was talk of skipping him and choosing his younger brother. Instead of arguing with them, George VI simply agreed with his critics that it was an "impossible burden" and then went right on being King. It put the naysayers on the back foot.

      Chain smoking and the heavy smog in London killed George VI.

    7. MK--and the meaning behind the Anointing of the monarch during coronation? And when did that first occur?
      As I said. Smoking.
      I was presenting Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's viewpoint. What you presented was one view from an historical perspective. The man on the street, the public, were not privy to the behind the scenes maneuverings of politicians and aristocrats.

    8. The idea that the royals had some special touch from God actually came from the pagans. But yes, James VI did cook up the divine right bits and the church reinforced it by using the Book of Samuel's mention of being "anointed with oil."

    9. MK, you have made a good point about the political implications of the concept. I was only referring to the religious meaning in reference to QEII, which I may not have made clear.
      The Divine Right of Kings was originally a religious concept written about in medieval times; the idea of the DROK was not brain-child of James I. He exploited it for his own purposes but that does not negate the place the idea played in the development of HM's concept of the sacred commitment that being an anointed Queen involves. That is what I mean by the foundation of the monarchy that would make abdication an abhorrent choice for the Queen.
      In retrospect, I wish I had said that last about the sacred commitment etc. instead of bringing in the DROK. It has ramifications beyond my intended meaning, if its political implications are considered, as you obviously have.

      Incidentally, are you Scottish or Irish? You keep calling him James VI when we are discussing Queen Elizabeth and her heirs.

    10. Anon1, you’ve got the history all wrong. James VI and James I are the same fellow. He reigned in Scotland and also in England.

      The origin of the belief that kings and queens had some special blessing by God was a pagan belief. It was James VI who exploited that and turned it into the political and religious claim known as the Divine Right of Kings. He did this during his reign in England as James I.

      He did it because he wanted to protect the monarchy from the will of the people. Since monarchs are divine, they cannot be overthrown. Any mistakes they make are divine mistakes and cannot be questioned. It was a tool to prevent insurgency. Kings and Queens were not nice people. Just ask the nobles who held King John's feet to the fire to sign the Magna Carta.

      None of this has anything to do with Queen Elizabeth other than the obvious fact that she does not want to step aside for her son so she uses any excuse to justify wasting the Prince's youth while he waits. Sacred oaths, anointed with oil, God's will, these are all man-made, by James VI and used by him as James I in England. Elizabeth is just using them as excuses, too.

  7. Meanwhile, this past week HM: attended the concert on the 11th and the Cenotaph ceremony the next morning on the 12th--a possible reason why the Duke wasn't looking his best; did investitures and audiences on the 14th and 15th; and to cap off the week on the 16th, an away day with three separate engagements. Prince Phillip was seen a couple days after the Cenotaph appearance grinning whilst driving his carriage around the grounds of Windsor. (I do hope those aren't old photos--they looked familiar).By the way, that lovely 70th anniversary photo was taken "in early November," just a week-10 days before the Cenotaph ceremony. Phillip was standing tall and did not look "fragile" in that picture.

    How is walking ten steps forward and back to present a wreath more taxing than a full away day---which includes travel time? Last year at the wreath ceremony Phillip turned around and walked down the step; Prince Charles backed off, but looked over his shoulder, which actually looked awkward and less respectful than just sharply turning around. There was no need for the Queen to risk falling. The wreath could have been handed to her at the monument by an equerry-no need for her to carry it.
    Still doesn't compute.
    I did not say the Queen would be at the Cenotaph next year; I merely questioned whether she instigated the plan to yield this State function to Charles this year and why initially Phillip was given as a reason--as he was given as the reason Charles took over for Phillip at the opening of Parliament.
    It is interesting to me that some of the same royal followers who are on the baton-passing/smooth transition by the Queen bandwagon now --not so long ago were speculating on their personal internet accounts about a power struggle causing discord among the palaces in the RF. Staff resignations and their replacements were attributed to Charles, for example. Either they were wrong and all was peace and harmony or that power tug of war has been settled-with Charles coming out ahead.
    My explanation: the Year of Diana ate at the careful foundations that have been built for the acceptance of his monarchy and Camilla's being crowned Queen. The various supportive biographies and other measures apparently did little to improve his image to the public. Something dramatic was called for.

    Just a thought--it would take an insider fairly high up the royal hierarchy to be able to state unequivocally what the Queen will or will not be doing a year from now. The thing is, only a private secretary or assistant of the Queen's staff would be privy to such information (other than a member of the RF) A staff member who divulged that sort of information would not last long in the job. So who stands to gain from a statement of the Queen's giving up forever to Charles a State function? Not just your garden-variety royal duty. News like that isn't just passed on like a copy of the menu for a State dinner. And how does a tabloid writer come upon such momentous news? Did the BBC, the Times, even Hello make such a statement?...I doubt it. We do know that there is one RF member who has given at least one exclusive interview to a tabloid---on the record.

    1. Mary from ManchesterNovember 19, 2017 at 7:45 PM

      When the time comes, the support for Charles will be there. The tide always turns.

  8. She'll be 92 in April. It's obvious to any one who cares to pay attention that she is frail. You can doubt all you want but the transition to Charles has been going on for a long time now. And it's terribly naive to think the Palace doesn't manipulate the press. They have leakers just like politicians do. They pick and choose the reporters and papers they give information to especially when they want to send up a trial balloon to ee how the public reacts to coming changes.

    1. Manchester? Would you be that royal blogger who comes from Manchester? IF so..busman's holiday?

    2. Mary, did you read my comment regarding HM's activities this past week? Frail? I don't think so. The old girl still has a lot of mileage left. If I had stayed up late attending a concert and then had to get up early the next morning for an outdoor ceremony that required standing outside, balcony or no, in wind and weather...well, I doubt I would have looked as good. I think what we saw Sunday was a sadness and withdrawal and a bit of depression, on top of fatigue. Certainly not frailness. The only thing that will defeat Elizabeth is no longer being useful. Her role is who she is.

      That was my point. A RF member must have leaked the "never again" statement, for whatever purpose, if it is actually true. The gardener wouldn't have that information. There is at least one RF member who has the DM on speed dial. It was given as a statement of fact, not as a possibility. No trial balloon.
      Your reply was somewhat snitty, perhaps. "It's obvious to anyone who cares to pay attention..." A wee bit insulting.

    3. No, sorry, not the royal blogger. :)

    4. Mary from ManchesterNovember 19, 2017 at 10:51 PM

      AKA Anonymous, so sorry, no offense or snittiness intended. My apologies.

      Did you see the photo of Philip leaning against the wall of the balcony on Remembrance Sunday. I'm wondering if that is why the Queen had tears in her eyes. Rather than ask for a chair or leave, he simply leaned against the wall. He's intent on carrying out his duty to the end. I'd cry too if I was her.

  9. I have found it interesting to watch The Royal Family's social media the past few months. Not only are Prince Charles, Prince William & Kate and Prince Harry taking on more duties; TRF has been showcasing Prince Edward and The Duchess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra, Prince Andrew and possibly one other older princess (I can't remember) at all sorts of events. I have no idea what their plan is going forward, but it seems to me they definitely HAVE a plan and are already implementing it.

    I also agree with those who think the death of Prince Phillip would bring about change for Queen Elizabeth. I suspect anyone married 70 years would mourn quite deeply at the loss of their spouse.

  10. Great post Jane! Selfishly I wish you wrote books, your writing style is lovely and I appreciate and value your take on all things royal. I say selfishly bc I know you’re a busy lady :)

  11. lizzie, to reply to your comment, the answer is two-fold. In the first place, for the most part members of the BRF have long lifespans; it must irk Charles that he's had to wait so long in limbo, and until some form of retirement is put in place, the same situation will continue to recur. No doubt, it also irks Camilla. Further, I like the way The Netherlands hands off from one generation to another in good time; Queen Beatrix was only 75 when she stepped down, still in good health, and her heir was in his mid-forties, young enuf that W-A and his wife were still physically appealing, but old enuf to have acquired a reassuring measure of maturity.

    And I simply am of the opinion that retirement/abdication is far more humane than insisting that someone carry out royal duties until they die or become infirm. Sure, it's said that Prince Philip and the Queen were very resistant to the notion of cutting down their engagements, but whether that's the truth....

    At any rate, the job of spouse to a British Monarch, as things now stand, is most unappealing, and, I suspect may be part of the reason so many young women are quite willing to indulge in a fling or long-term affair with kings and princes--married or single--causing scandals, but draw the line at marriage. This certainly does the Monarchy no favours and would make many young women think twice before marrying into a family where adultery is part of an already unpalatable position.

    Like I said, good luck to George finding someone he loves and who loves him and is willing to put up with all of the above. Society is changing, including attitudes to sexual scandal in high places; time for the British Monarchy to play catch-up.

    You'd think the Monarchy would've learned from the Charles-Diana-Camilla debacle and to a certain extent they have--they've dropped the requirement for virgin brides, and to the expectation that a bride, especially for a direct heir, marry a member of the aristocracy. There is still much room for improvement, and as elsewhere in society, to introduce a sensible retirement package. Nor do I care what its called; retirement seems to be more agreeable than Abdication to some.


    1. I think I understand your reasoned defense of abdication JC. Not sure I buy it but am mulling it over. But your reply hasn't helped me understand why you think adoption of that practice would make it easier for royal heirs (like George since you mentioned him) to find people willing to marry them. For George, it would mean his wife would take on the "wretched" (your word) job of Queen Consort at a younger age. If it is indeed such a wretched job, why would knowing it would come sooner rather than later lead to faster acceptance of a marriage proposal? Plus, we are assuming if princes (Will & I guess Harry in particular) don't marry early & there are rumours of young women not being willing to commit to life with "The Firm", that's all there is to it. I admit it would be a challenging life in MANY ways (but also one with MANY actual & potential rewards) But isn't it also possible that W&H's too-often  negative attitudes about their royal responsibilities are a turn-off to a permanent commitment to that sort of life? It would be hard to buy into the idea of living that vastly different kind of a life if the other person doesn't seem to want it! And despite the rumours of rejected marriage proposals, isn't it possible they didn't really want to marry earlier? I suppose one could argue Will's attitude might have been different if he'd always known he could retire at 65-70 but I'm not so sure. (How real is the possibility of turning 65 to a 20 yr old?) Plus how does that explain Harry's situation? A totally pared-down monarchy with *everyone* routinely retiring from royal life at age X would seem to me to question the rationale for having a particular family being viewed as royal in the first place. 

      I'm totally lost on the relationship between sex scandals & non-acceptance of abdication. Just don't get it, sorry.

    2. Mary from ManchesterNovember 19, 2017 at 10:12 PM

      Not everyone retiring and certainly not retiring at 65. Waiting till death is not realistic considering modern medicine and how more people are living well into old age and still working. A new era of retirement for the reigning monarch reconciles succession with modern times and it's not at all abdication. Other European monarchies have done it successfully.

  12. Mary from Manchester, I quite liked your ideas for a retirement package, and think it might make a good starting point for TPTB. And I note that you're probably from the U.K., altho the U.K. doesn't have dibs on place names. I hope you are from Manchester, England; it rather proves my point that society, including the British, may be far more ready to accept the notion of a Monarch's retirement than the Monarchy itself. I might quibble a bit re the age you've chosen; I prefer 75, when royals are generally still enjoying good physical and mental health. A bit too late for skiing, but not to take some lovely river cruises, as tourists. I see nothing wrong with that.


    1. Mary from ManchesterNovember 19, 2017 at 7:38 PM

      Anonymous, Yes, my family is from Manchester. You have a point about going out at 75, but I suggested 80 because it fits nicely with giving William about 30 years on the throne and George would get about the same. When William and Kate turn 75, I expect they'll still be very active and George will still only be in his 40s. I think the 50s is the perfect maturity for assuming the throne. At least it seems like a good age.

      Most British will grumble about the costs of the monarchy but would vote to keep it. People waiting on the sidelines sometimes come to tears when they see the Queen going past, even today. But there is usually no sympathy for the royals when they want to foist a big cost onto the taxpayers. What upsets people is that they seem to think nothing of it, just, "Let the serfs pay it," sort of attitude. As the Queen did with the Windsor Castle fire.

    2. Mary from Manchester, would love to argue with you as a fellow member of the Privy Council. Basically, we'd see eye-to-eye...but there is the matter of retirement age, and I'd fight you tooth and nail! :-)

      Regarding cost to the British taxpayers, does this mean that they'd prefer it if Prince Harry chose a lesser venue than Westminster Abbey to tie the knot? St. George's Chapel, perhaps? That would be a sensible choice, but would Charles allow it? or would his hubris insist that Harry (also his seed) be given a ceremony to rival that of William? What do you think?


    3. Mary from ManchesterNovember 20, 2017 at 5:06 PM

      Hello Anonymous, I've actually commented about Harry and Meghan on the newest thread about the Queen's anniversary.

      It's not really a question of cost for Harry and Meghan. It's more to do with the fact that Meghan was previously married and is now divorced. It's really hard to do a second act at the Abbey. And the Queen is from a different era that takes a negative view of divorce. I would imagine her sensibilities would frown on any wedding for them at the Abbey. But certainly at St. George's Chapel.

      It's convenient to Windsor Castle for the reception and it has a long and distinguished history of service to this particular royal family. Charles and Camilla had a lovely marriage blessing there, Edward and Sophie married there, I think Princess Anne's son, Peter Philips and his bride Autumn married there, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are interred there.

      It would be a lovely country family wedding for a family that owns a castle in the country.

  13. Not being allowed to comment in the appropriate spot.
    MK---James I may have exploited the concept but he did not "cook it up," The concept had been around since at least the middle ages. I was referencing its religious significance-that the monarch was consecrated by God, which is expressed in the anointing. It was originally a religious concept. It later took on a political meaning that made the monarch answerable only to God--not Parliament, for example.

  14. Mary from ManchesterNovember 19, 2017 at 8:25 PM

    I just noticed the photo of Philip on the balcony at Remembrance Day. He's leaning against the wall. That shocks me. I had no idea he was this weak.

    1. So was Princess Alexandra at one point, yet later she was seen standing up talking with Sophie and Kate. Both the Duke and the Princess had a late night at the concert, followed by an early rising for the Memorial.
      Not to worry. A photo was published reportedly showing Phillip out happily driving about Windsor in his horse and carriage a couple days later. I imagine that photo was reassuring to a number of folks.

  15. The Queen's commitment to the Monarchy is strong. But how lovely it would be if she and Prince Phillip were allowed to retire to the places they love, to live out the rest of their lives together.

    If Prince Charles became Prince Regent, this could happen for her, but it's her choice--barring some serious illness. She seems to be performing just fine at 92.


  16. I think the Queen has realized that her family is big enough to handle the load.


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