Quietly, Queen Elizabeth II prepares for the end

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II is 87 years old.

On the surface, it merely looks like a short statement from Buckingham Palace about the long-haul travel plans of Queen Elizabeth II.

In reality it is the first time the monarch and her courtiers have acknowledged that the end of the reign of the 87-year-old, and much-loved, head of the British state, may be approaching.

For the first time since 1973, the Queen will not attend the meeting of leaders of Commonwealth countries, due to be held this year in Sri Lanka in November. The Commonwealth is a grouping of 54 countries that were, for the most part, formerly ruled by the British Empire, although some countries asked to join later.

The Queen is head of state of several other countries, including Canada and Australia.

She will be represented in Sri Lanka by her son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

“I can confirm the Queen will be represented by the Prince of Wales.

“The reason is that we are reviewing the amount of long-haul travel that is taken by the Queen,” said a spokesman at the Queen’s official London residence, Buckingham Palace.

But seasoned royal watchers say the statement is highly significant. Queen Elizabeth takes her responsibilities very seriously and only misses official engagements under the most unusual circumstances.

The British Broadcasting Corporation’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt said this morning: “It is about transition, about preparing this country for an elderly head of state who will be able to do less and less,” he said.

“There is no intention of abdication. It will just not happen during her reign. It is the palace addressing the practicalities of her advancing age — you will see less of her and more of him.”

Earlier this year, the Queen was hospitalized for several days with a bout of gastroenteritis and missed several engagements — the first time that has happened.

The Queen remains deeply loved and popular in Great Britain because of her unswerving devotion to duty during her 61-year reign and her ability to remain steadfastly non-political.

By contrast, polls suggest that Prince Charles would be a less popular monarch. His perceived ill-treatment of Diana, Princess of Wales, during their marriage earned him many enemies among the British public, and some of his views on subjects as diverse as organic farming to archaeology have not endeared him to his future subjects.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Local

Police warn of attempted assault on woman near…

Police in Cambridge issued an alert after a woman said she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault after leaving Porter Square early Wednesday.…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

MLB

Injury bug tearing holes in Red Sox

Red Sox fans will recall that last year the bullpen was decimated by injuries. From Franklin Morales to Andrew Miller, from Craig Breslow to Andrew…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.