Queen Elizabeth once said “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,” which many took to believe that she intends to rule until her death. However, according to recent reports, retirement could be on the horizon for the monarch, who has been Queen since 1952.
If the rumours are to be believed, the Queen will step down when she reaches 95 in 18 month's time, after her husband Prince Philip stepped back from public duties at the same age.
Prince Charles is allegedly preparing to take over from his mother, and his recent involvement in "retiring" Prince Andrew from public life following his interview with Newsnight is said to have led to him adopting a Prince Regent role - meaning he's controlling many day-to-day royal affairs.
A royal source told The Sun: "The scandal surrounding Andrew and Epstein gave Charles an opportunity to step in to show that he can run The Firm. No one is bigger than the institution of the Royal Family. Not even Andrew, the Queen’s favourite son.
"Charles recognised that and acted decisively — like the king he may well soon be. This was the moment when Charles stepped up as Prince Regent, the Shadow King."
The Queen has been gradually reducing the number of engagements she undertakes in recent years, and passes her overseas tours onto younger members of the royal family. Prince Charles, however, has increased his duties - and is said to have been instrumental to the recent announcement that Prince Andrew will be stepping away from royal duties "for the foreseeable future" after the fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
In a statement posted on social media, the Duke of York said: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.
"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."
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