Prince Charles abdication: How Charles could hand throne to William – ‘perfectly natural’

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Prince Charles has spent nearly his entire life as King-in-waiting. The Queen took to the throne in 1952, aged just 26, and has now reigned for more than 68 years. When she succeeded her father, Prince Charles was just three, and although he has taken on several new titles, he remains the same distance from the throne.

Experts believe it will take some time for the Queen to relinquish her current position.

UCL’s Constitution Unit, a wing of the School of Public Policy, said even once Prince Charles does get the chance to lead, he may pass it up.

They said it would “be a matter for Prince Charles, and for Parliament”, but added the Queen’s intentions would influence the outcome.

The unit said: “For the Queen, abdication is said to be unthinkable, for two reasons.”

“The first is the bad example of Edward VIII: his abdication brought the Queen’s father onto the throne, unexpectedly and most reluctantly.

“The second is her declaration on her twenty-first birthday that she would serve for her whole life, whether it be long or short.

“She is also said to regard her oath at her coronation as imposing a sacred duty to reign as long as she shall live.”

The Queen will likely live at least as long as her mother, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, who died aged 101.

As such, Prince Charles may end up taking the throne aged 77, a relatively advanced age for a new King.

The Constitution Unit said fulfilling his lifelong destiny would mean he would take up the opportunity.

But they added the increasingly elderly prince might also pass on to his son.

They said: “Having waited over 60 years as heir apparent, it would be perfectly natural for Prince Charles to want to assume the throne and perform the royal duties for which he has spent so long preparing in waiting.”

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“But it would be equally natural if, after reigning for a few years as an increasingly elderly monarch, he chose to invite Parliament to hand on the throne to Prince William.”

Prince Charles couldn’t pass the crown to William immediately, due to common law.

The Constitution Unit said he would unavoidably become King once his mother dies.

And passing the crown to his son would require new legislation, passed through Parliament.

The last monarch to abdicate, King Edward III, had to do the same nearly a century ago.

The unit said: “Prince William could only become King if Prince Charles chose to abdicate.

“That would require legislation, as happened with the Declaration of Abdication Act 1936.

“The line of succession is regulated by Parliament (as in the Act of Succession 1700, and the Succession to the Crown Act 2013); it can be changed only by Parliament and cannot be unilaterally altered by the monarch.”

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