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Commentary: For Queen Elizabeth, to abdicate, or not to abdicate, is not the question
Published on June 13, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Anthony L Hall

What concerns me is that people around the world seem even more vested in this anachronistic institution (namely, the British monarchy) today than they were when William’s parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana, got married 30 years ago (on July 29, 1981).

I have long maintained that royalty makes a mockery of the universal principle that all people are created equal. Moreover, that a democracy that perpetuates royalty in the twenty-first century is almost as cancerous (and oxymoronic) as one that perpetuated slavery in the nineteenth.

(“The Problem is Not Kate’s Weight, It’s William’s Title,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 16, 2011)

This quote only hints at my abiding belief that royalty is as anathema to democracy as atheism is to Christianity. No doubt this is why, despite my begrudging fondness for Queen Elizabeth II of England, I relished the parting shot King Juan Carlos of Spain hurled at her when he abdicated last week:

King Juan Carlos told courtiers that he wanted to abdicate in favour of his son because he did not want his heir to ‘grow old waiting for the throne like Prince Charles.’

The 76-year-old monarch, who announced last Monday that it was time for ‘a younger generation to step into the front line,’ is said to have been influenced in his decision to abdicate by the situation of the Prince of Wales, who at 65 is the oldest heir to the British throne for 300 years.

(The Telegraph, June 8, 2014)

The Waiting-for-Godot absurdity of Charles “waiting for Mummy to die” has been tabloid fodder for years. But the focus on this royal farce shifted from Charles’s brooding wait to Elizabeth’s preening reign last year, when Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and King Albert II of Belgium, as well as the even more royal Pope Benedict VI of the Vatican, all abdicated for the same commendable, if not regal, reasons Juan Carlos abdicated this year.

After all, these abdications betray the self-importance inherent in Elizabeth’s professed view that it’s the solemn duty of every royal sovereign to reign until death.

In fact, there has never been any question of her abdicating ever since she made the following declaration in her famous 21st Birthday Speech on April 21, 1947:

I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.


Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at
The prevailing suspicion is that Elizabeth wants to seal her legacy by becoming the longest-reigning British monarch by surpassing the 63 years, 216 days her great-great grandmother Victoria sat on the throne. She will accomplish this historic feat if she reigns until September 10 next year.

But I suspect she has her sights on the European record of Bernard VII of Lippe who reigned for 81 years, 234 days; or, even higher, on the world record of Sobhuza II of Swaziland who reigned for 82 years, 254 days.

Whatever the case, there’s no gainsaying that her view stems from an irrational fear that her abdication would bring the British monarchy into the same kind of public disrepute the 1936 abdication of her love-stricken uncle, Edward VIII, did.

Except that the cognitive dissonance seems lost on Elizabeth that Edward’s choice of romantic love over royal duty looks positively heroic now compared to the scandals that have beset the British monarchy since then. Not to mention that, if this be her disqualifying precedent, Charles disqualified himself from being king when he effectively emulated Edward by divorcing his virgin bride to marry his divorced, home-wrecking mistress.

Come to think of it, perhaps Elizabeth is just hoping the tampon-envying Charles will die waiting so that her scandal-free grandson, William, could inherit the throne….

Mind you, surviving is only marginally more appealing for Charles. After all, given that the 88-year-old Elizabeth seems destined to live longer than her mother (who died at 101), he will be almost as old as she is today when/if he becomes king. Which would hardly inspire confidence in or hope for his geriatric reign.

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Randy wallace:

I am extremely disappinted in this article. The thesis statement ia anathema to the body of the opinion. Why is Juan Carlos or Beatrix heroes? because they passed on an entire country to their children. Where is the suggested potent discussion against the ridiculousness of a monarchy. Where is the disdain for the accident of birth becoming the only qualification to rule over human beings in the 21st century. What a wasted column. Thanks anyway for the tabloidesk run down on egotistical the reason for your sovereign lady to maintain her crown


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