Queen will ‘pass on’ crown to Prince William says expert
There has long since been a debate about whether the Prince of Wales may step aside for William when the Queen dies, due to his son’s relative popularity. Charles has been a controversial royal for a long time, alienating some due to the breakdown of his marriage to Diana and his infidelity, compounded of course by the Princess of Wales’ tragic death. Charles is also divorced and married to a divorced woman, which in the past would have horrified certain sections of society, given that he is destined to be head of the Church of England.
He has also been more outspoken than most royals on issues close to his heart, leading some to question whether he is bordering on being too political for a future King.
The most notable example of this is the infamous black spider memos, which Charles wrote to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and various members of his Cabinet.
Meanwhile, William, helped no doubt by his successful marriage to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, has maintained his popularity over the years.
Jon Temple, author of ‘Living Off the State’, questioned whether Charles would consider stepping down, hinting that he believed it is actually quite a likely scenario.
However, he claimed such a move would “smack of desperation” to maintain the institution of the monarchy.
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Some royal commentators have speculated that Prince Charles may pass the Crown to his son William
Prince Charles investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969
He wrote: “We also move inexorably forward to the time of the next succession ‒ always the point of ultimate stress for any dynasty.
“Will Charles ‒ probably by then a septuagenarian ‒ decked out in his ersatz medals, an absurd Ruritanian eccentricity, with a serious propensity to wish to intervene upon contentious constitutional matters ‒ be acceptable as King?
“Not merely to the people, but also to the political establishment, something that contains echoes of the circumstances surrounding the 1937 abdication crisis.
“If not, and I believe that it is highly likely this could be the case, will he step down in favour of his son and heir, William?
“And by then would a monarchy on anything approaching the present scale ‒ and in the face of worsening economic times ‒ be deemed appropriate?
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
“Such a ‘rearrangement of the deckchairs’ might smack of desperation, but to do nothing could appear equally complacent.”
These comments were written in 2012 for an updated version of his 2008 book ‘Living Off the State’ in which he detailed the mysterious finances of the Royal Family.
As well as discussions around whether Prince Charles, the longest-ever serving Prince of Wales, will step aside for William, there are conversations over whether the Queen, the longest-ever serving British monarch, will step down from her duties.
Her Majesty, 94, is now approaching the age at which her husband Prince Philip decided to retire and hand over his duties to younger family members.
Last month, broadcaster Sherrie Hewson told Jeremy Vine on 5 the Queen should stay “as long as she wishes” but posited that she thinks she may bypass her son when handing over the Crown.
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Royal Family line of succession
She said: “I think everybody, even if you are not a royalist, adores the Queen.
“They love her, they think she’s been there 67 years ‒ four years longer than Queen Victoria.
“And I think she deserves to be there for as long as she wishes to be there.
“The time will come, naturally, that she’ll pass it on and I think it will be to Prince William.”
However, according to experts with the Constitution Unite at University College London, Prince Charles will automatically become King by Common Law when the Queen dies or abdicates.
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What’s more, they argued that he has waited too long to be King to simply give up the responsibility.
They wrote on their website: “Having waited over 60 years as heir apparent, it would be perfectly natural for Prince Charles to want to assume the throne and perform the royal duties for which he has spent so long preparing in waiting.”
What’s more, the “passing” the throne on is not a constitutional option for the heir.
The Constitution Unite explained he had no choice but to become King when the Queen dies, although he is free to abdicate immediately if he does.
They wrote: “Under Common Law, Prince Charles will automatically become King the moment the Queen died.”
If he wishes to abdicate, that would require legislation, as happened with the Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, when his great uncle King Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Only time will tell whether Charles will take up the mantle himself or pass it onto William.
‘Living Off the State’ 2nd edition was written by Jon Temple and published by Progress Books in 2012. It is available here.