One of the biggest questions in Elizabeth’s reign has been when and if she will abdicate in favour of her eldest son, Prince Charles. In 2002 the queen was 76, and Charles was 54. If the queen were to live to 101, like her mother, by the time Charles inherited he would be 79, hardly an auspicious age to begin a reign. Furthermore, the queen now has two generations of heirs, as Princes William and Harry reach adulthood.
The queen, however, appears to be set against abdication, and confirmed her intention to continue in a speech in 2002, as she celebrated her Golden Jubilee. On hearing that her Dutch counterpart, Queen Juliana had abdicated in favour of her daughter Beatrix, she is reported to have said ‘Typical Dutch!’
In the meantime, public and media speculation can only continue to guess what her plans are for the future.