Succession speculation rampant as Queen Elizabeth turns 92

Succession speculation rampant as Queen Elizabeth turns 92

The birthday comes amid ongoing media speculation over whether the Queen will transition the throne to her heir, Prince Charles, as regent.

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Photo: Robert Michael/AFP/Getty

The British head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, turns 92 today, although her birthday is not officially celebrated until June.

The birthday comes amid ongoing media speculation over whether the Queen will transition the throne to her heir, Prince Charles, as regent.

Regency would allow her to retire from public life and cede formal duties to Prince Charles, while still technically remaining on the throne. The Queen has remained mum on the topic but this week formally asked for Prince Charles to succeed her, at some point, as Head of the Commonwealth—a grouping of 53 member states with historical and political links to the former British Empire.

The request confirms that Buckingham Palace is planning for a post-Elizabethan future. While the Queen remained strictly apolitical in her 65 years as Monarch, Prince Charles has a history of environmental activism—writing many letters to ministers. As regent, he would be entitled to a weekly audience with the prime minister of the day. His interventionist style—if not reined in—could be interpreted as overstepping by parliament.

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