Proposal that 'delicate' Queen should take 'early retirement' sparks controversy

A British journalist has suggested that the Queen should step down to allow Prince Charles to ascend the throne

Queen in Wales 2021
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen has been advised to retire early to help Prince Charles' transition to becoming King—and surprise, surprise, royal fans aren't one bit happy. 

A British journalist has suggested that the Queen should take 'early retirement' to 'aid' Prince Charles's ascension to the throne, much to the dismay of Her Majesty's loyal fans. 

The controversial opinion comes just a week after the 95-year-old, who has never indicated she plans to abdicate, became the first-ever monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. The historic occasion also saw the Queen confirm that Duchess Camilla would become Queen-Consort when the Prince of Wales becomes King. 

Writing for the Guardian on 14 February, Simon Jenkins put forward a detailed case for the Queen to step down to allow her eldest son to take her place. In the 3,500 word article, the BBC broadcaster directly challenged the British monarchy's long-held tradition that a monarch should (ideally) rule until their death, arguing that early retirement for sovereigns of advanced age should be 'common sense.' 


The Queen has been advised to take 'early retirement' to 'aid' Prince Charles' ascension to the throne 

(Image credit: Getty)

"The Queen may be fit, but she is clearly delicate," he wrote, likely in reference to the Queen's recent health woes. Her Majesty was hospitalized overnight in October 2021 for 'preliminary investigations' and was also forced to cancel multiple engagements, sparking widespread alarm for her wellbeing. She has since made a number of public appearances, but her health remains an ongoing concern in royal circles. 

"Any reasonable person would recommend retirement from active work for a woman of her age," he added. 

Simon went on to argue that the Queen's early retirement could help Prince Charles—who has been first in line to the throne since 1952—to adapt to his lofty new title more smoothly. If Her Majesty steps down early, she will be able to attend the prince's coronation—a duty that could positively impact the future monarch's succession. 

Prince Charles and the Queen

(Image credit: JONATHAN BRADY / Contributor / Getty Images)

"The moment of transition to any new monarch, not least after 70 years, must be one of intense delicacy. Nothing could therefore more aid Prince Charles in his succession than for it to be a planned transfer on the retirement of his mother and her blessing on his coronation," he wrote. 

Simon also claimed that the Queen's retirement could shift the British monarchy's reputation as 'a ritual of death and rebirth' to 'a simple facet of the constitution.' 

"It would also relieve Charles of a deluge of comparison, especially if he decides on changes in royal custom and practice, as well he should," he added. 

The column sparked a wave of chatter online, with some royal fans taking offense to the former editor's suggestions. 

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Other responses included arguments that the British monarchy, which is over 1,000 years old, should cease to exist altogether. While some Twitter users agreed with Simon's suggestion the Queen should abdicate, they weren't so on board with the idea of her being replaced by Charles. 

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Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.