Pope Benedict XVI has done it. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has done it. Will Britain's Queen Elizabeth II step aside from her 61-year reign and let the light of a new generation in?
Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI watch an honor guard from the Royal Company of Archers and members of the Royal Regiment of Scotland Band as the pope arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Sept. 16, 2010. (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis AFP/Getty Images)
Sorry, William -- assuming, that is, she would skip over the not-as-popular Charles and hand power directly to her grandson - Buckingham Palace says the queen's work-life balance is not likely to change in the months and years ahead.
A representative from the palace on Tuesday told USA TODAY that everything the queen, 86, wishes to say on the matter of going or staying has already, in fact, been said -- on her 21st birthday. In 1947.
The palace was referring to a speech the queen made in Cape Town, South Africa, where she was visiting with her parents and younger sister -- and had yet to receive her royal promotion. She was still known to the world as Princess Elizabeth.
"I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong," she said.
"We must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves. There is a motto which has been borne by many of my ancestors -- a noble motto, 'I serve'."
So she's staying, you would have to wager. And life, for the queen, means life.
"As far as we know she is a highly energized and fit octogenarian," said Miles Taylor, the director of the Institute of Historical Research in London. Taylor is currently writing a book about Queen Victoria and India.
He said that while it was certainly worth expecting the unexpected sometimes, the historical and constitutional precedent would be for the queen to remain in her role until her death. (Tell that to the pope, who broke a 600-year precedent by taking an early-out.)
The decision of her uncle, Edward VIII, to abdicate in 1936 and leave for France so that he could marry Wallis Simpson will also likely color the queen's thinking on her job, he said.
Source: USA Today | Kim Hjelmgaard