Here's What Queen Elizabeth Really Said at Charles and Camilla's Wedding

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One of the most surprising moments of The Crown's final season comes in the last episode, when Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) is contemplating abdication, and announcing her decision to her family at the wedding of King Charles and Queen Camilla.

In real life, Queen Elizabeth never thought about abdication.

In 2003, she told George Carey, then-the Archbishop of Canterbury that abdication is "something I can't do. I’m going to carry on to the end." According to write Matthew Dennison in his book The Queen, Queen Elizabeth "did not contemplate abdication, she told her cousin Margaret Rhodes, 'unless I get Alzheimer’s or have a stroke.'"

In 2021, royal historian Hugo Vickers explained to the Guardian, "One main reason why the Queen will absolutely not abdicate is unlike other European monarchs, she is an anointed Queen. And if you are an anointed Queen you do not abdicate." (The monarch—now King Charles—is the head of the Church of England.) She never abdicated, and reigned for over 70 years until her death in September 2022 at her beloved Balmoral Castle.

a group of people on a stage
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth in the final episode of The Crown.Justin Downing/Netflix

In The Crown, the Queen ultimately decides not to abdicate (shocker) and her speech at Charles and Camilla's wedding is short, funny, and sweet. In real life, the Queen did in fact discuss her horses in the toast. One guest told the Telegraph that Queen Elizabeth said, "They have overcome Becher's Brook and The Chair and all kinds of other terrible obstacles" (referring to the Aintree Racecourse). She added, "They have come through and I'm very proud and wish them well. My son is home and dry with the woman he loves."

A guest, Jilly Cooper, said, "Everyone was in stitches at the Queen's speech. It was such a lovely affectionate tribute." Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl wrote in The New Royals, "It was an unusually sentimental speech from the monarch and it captured the visceral sense of relief the couple had, in their fifties, being able to make their enduring love official."


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