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

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…