King Charles, abdication or Regency Act: the Crown at the crossroads after cancer diagnosis

Elizabeth Smith

The British monarchy has never been so fragile. The late Elizabeth’s son, Andrew, is the subject of foul scandals. The second son of the current king, Harry, is now a stranger to the palace. The wife of the heir to the throne has been hospitalized for weeks, in the hope it is nothing serious. And lastly, the health conditions of King Charles, suffering from cancer, are certainly worrying.

And we wonder what he will do with the Crown, whether he will leave it to his son a little earlier than expected, with the abdication, or will he cede power – temporarily – to his wife with a Regency Act.

King Charles, abdication hypothesis

Elderly and ill, the King could choose to do something that has not been done in England for almost a hundred years: abdicate.

Just as, less than a month ago, he chose to do the eighty-three-year-old Sovereign Margaret of Denmark who, tired and advanced in years, chose to prematurely give up her place to her son Frederik.

“King Charles should also abdicate – the Guardian wrote on that occasion – getting older certainly shouldn’t be a limit. But age is something that cannot be negotiated. Of course, he deserves a substantial regency after waiting so long. But not until he died. William is capable and ready to take over from him.”

Royal biographer Phil Dampier was also of the same opinion. And, at the beginning of the year, had hypothesized that the King would abdicate within 5 years.

“If he had health problems or believed the time was right, he could leave the throne to William.” Charles’ mother, Dampier explained, could not grant herself a “pension” because, in her case, abdicating would have been considered an unseemly act and the reason can be found in 1936.

The last abdication in the British kingdom

“His mother Elizabeth II could not do it, because his father George VI became king after his brother’s abdication. And therefore it was something not to be repeated. But times change” wrote Dampier regarding a possible abdication of Elizabeth. Who, became the longest-serving sovereign in the world with over 70 years of reign. And she became one thanks to an abdication.

The last time a royal renounced the throne of England was 1936, when Edward VIII preferred to marry the American actress Wallis Simpson (divorced, which led to a scandal at the time) to becoming monarch. In his place, his brother, George VI, father of Elizabeth II, who duly took his place on 6 February 1952, ascended the throne.

If Charles were to abdicate, his place would pass to his eldest son William, first in line to the throne. The new most direct heir would become Prince George and, followed by Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, the Duke of Sussex Harry, Prince Archie, Princess Lilibet and, finally, the Duke of York Andrew.

Camilla and the Regency Act option

Abdication is not the only possible scenario. In the event of poor health of the monarch, the option of the so-called Regency Act could also be implemented, which will be activated if, for example, the King were to become unable to speak or move at home due to an illness. Regency Act is a law, updated in 2002, which regulates precisely this type of emergency.

With the Regency Act, the Counselors of State would take the place of the king. And it was Charles himself, after the death of Elizabeth II, who asked Parliament for the possibility of updating the list of Counselors of State.

Among them we find, of course, Prince William. But in this case the power would also belong to Camilla, even though it is in no way possible for her to aspire to the Crown. Also qualified to handle royal affairs would be his sister Anna and his younger brother Edward, as well as his niece Beatrice of York.

It was Charles himself who asked that his younger brothers also be included in the list of his closest advisors, to take the place of Harry and Andrew, the Duke of York. Who, in fact, are extraneous to the affairs of Buckingham Palace and hardly interested in taking care of the monarchy.

Although, just in the last few hours, Harry took to flight to reach his sick father in London as soon as possible.

Read also: Prince Harry puts the British monarchy at risk: 15 revelations in his bombshell book Spare

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