Prince William as King: Not very soon

November 17, 2010

Kate and William discussing engagement/Photo MSNBC

Everyone is excited about Prince William and his new bride-to-be Kate Middleton. Both are young and vibrant. What a great king he would make for the 21st century. Sorry to dash your hopes, but it will likely be a long time before he is king, and he will be old when he ascends the throne.

Queen Elizabeth II is now 85 and aging well. Her mother lived in excess of 100 years. Health is not a problem. The heir to the throne, her son Charles is 62 and again health is not an issue.

Assume the Queen lives at least another 10 years. Charles will ascend the throne at age 72. Barring anything unexpected he will likely live into his 80s. Assume he will live until 90. Do the math, that’s another 30 years before William becomes king, he will ascend the throne at age 58 years, no more the young man he is now. Some thoughts on this situation,

1. Would Charles consider stepping aside or abdicating to allow his son William to become king at a younger age.

Not likely. Charles is very much a traditionalist. He has trained all his life to be king and wants to be king.

2. Would the Queen consider stepping down if her health fails? Again not likely as she too is a traditionalist. It could happen though. She may defer to relative youth. Still Charles will likely not be king until he is in his late 70s or early 80s.

Bottom line, the English monarchy is an hereditary institution and will continue to be so. The only modern abdication took place when King Edward VIII decided he wanted to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson, rather than remain king. This opened the way for his younger brother George to become King George VI and subsequently his daughter Elizabeth to become the present Queen.

Ah but wouldn’t it be something to have a King William who was 28 or 30. It will never happen.

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