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The Queen is ill! Long live …

The Queen is ill! Long live the … King? Republic? We could find out very soon, as Republican sentiment does exist in the United Kingdom.

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This morning we hear from two sources that Queen Elizabeth II is now under “medical supervision.” Which means The Queen is under the care of her physicians. This is the most serious health bulletin yet about the 96-year-old monarch. If she dies, what next for the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the world?

Long live The Queen

Reportage on the current health status of The Queen comes from Just the News and The Washington Post. The Post published their story at 8:07 a.m. Eastern Time and updated it at 9:05 a.m. (Which is 2:05 p.m. British Summer Time, or 1:05 p.m. Greenwich Mean/Coordinated Universal Time.) The Post also gives the greatest detail, including these items:

  • On Tuesday, the Queen did accept Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, and formally ordered his successor, Liz Truss, to form a government.
  • The Queen canceled a meeting of her Privy Council yesterday, on medical advice to rest.
  • She is resting at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

The following members of the Royal Family are in Scotland now or are en route:

  • HRH Prince of Wales. No one has any word on the Duchess of Cornwall (a/k/a the former Camilla Parker-Bowles).
  • TRHs Princes Andrew and Edward, and Princess Anne.
  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as TRHs Prince and Princess Henry of Wales.
  • HRH Duke of Cambridge (or Prince William of Wales). The Duchess will stay at Windsor Castle to see her children start school.

Earlier health concerns

Elizabeth II, at 96, is third in a series of very long-reigning Queens of England, and second of two long-reigning Queens of the “United Kingdom.” Recently she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, which means she has sat on the throne for 70 years. That makes her the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom or any part of it. Likewise, Prince Charles has been “in waiting” longer than any other heir to the throne.

Indeed the Prince of Wales has stood in for The Queen twice: to open Parliament in May, and to open the Commonwealth Games in August. The Post also says he “stood in” for The Queen at the Twenty-sixth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26). In fact, never before had The Queen attended that conference. But she had planned to attend it in August of last year – and then bowed out and sent the Prince in her place. Significantly, she spent one night in hospital that autumn. But no one knew anything about that until The Sun broke the story.

From Queen to king, or …

According to the Post, The Queen has in fact been planning for her own succession for some time. All indications suggest that she wants her son Charles to succeed her. That would explain his standing in for her to open Parliament and the Commonwealth Games. (It could explain his replacing her at COP-26, but “climate change” was always his “baby” anyway.)

More significantly, The Queen let everyone know at her Platinum Jubilee that when (not if!) her son succeeds her, she would have the Duchess of Cornwall addressed as “Queen Consort.” That was one concession that neither King George V nor Parliament was willing to make to Wallis Simpson when Prince Edward wanted to marry her. Which of course is why Prince Edward, as King Edward VIII, abdicated. For The Queen to concede that means that her son’s succeeding her as King is “a done deal.” The only thing not done is what he will call himself. Charles III? George VII? His choice. (After all, Edward VIII’s brother called himself George VI, not King Albert.)

The United Republic?

But republican sentiment does have a voice. As recently as August 22, 2022, the group calling itself simply “Republic” issued a blistering press release about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge acquiring a fourth expensive home – at British taxpayer expense. (And also when housing is getting ever more expensive in Great Britain.)

Republic makes no bones about its opposition to the monarchy, in principle and practice.

In fact they produced this documentary about the Prince of Wales, saying he manages the Duchy of Cornwall unfairly and shouldn’t lobby the government. In fact the comments castigate the Prince for being an explicitly political Prince – and for high-handed dealings with his neighbors.

They discuss “what will change,” and hint that an elected President would summon heads of majorities in Parliament to form governments, same as the elected President of Israel summons heads of majorities in the Knesset to form governments. The big change, they say, will be that the Head of State won’t skew political balances in the government’s favor. What that will actually mean in day-to-day practice, Republic won’t say – and very few people likely know. But their proposed “independent, neutral” Head of State would also be subject to removal from office! Parliament would have to design an impeachment proceeding.

All Crown-owned residences, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, would revert to the people. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would pursue independent careers, like the Sussexes.

Given the state of the Queen’s health, this is a developing story.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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[…] Her son, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, is now known as His Majesty Charles the Third. His wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, now becomes Her Majesty the Queen Consort, as the late Queen wished. […]

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