This year marked 66 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth II, who is Great Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
In recent years, the Queen has slowly started to pull back on public engagements, offering up more responsibility to the heir to the throne, Prince Charles.
Last year, royal correspondent for The Express, Richard Palmer revealed “the winds of change are sweeping through palace corridors”.
So, at 92-years-old, could Her Majesty be considering it might be time to pass the reins over to Charles?
According to royal correspondent Robert Jobson, it’s a definite possibility.
“I understand the Queen has given the matter considerable though and believes that, if she is still alive at 95, she will seriously consider passing the reign to Charles,” Jobson previously told the Mail on Sunday.
With two-and-a-half years until the Queen turns 95, we decided to take a look at all the signs Charles is preparing to take over from his mother.
Prince Charles’ charm offensive
As of recent it appears Prince Charles has certainly been on the charm offensive, especially as a doting grandfather.
A series of heartwarming photographs – taken by photographer Chris Jackson – have been released portraying Charles as the ultimate family man.
Most recently, the heir to the throne featured on the new cover of The Sunday Times Magazine where he’s seen cuddling up to seven-month-old Prince Louis, who has hardly been pictured since his christening in July.
— The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) November 18, 2018
The baby looks overjoyed to be in the arms of his grandpa, while Charles – who is dressed to the nines – has a mirroring grin on his face.
A second unseen photo showcases the whole family together and shows Louis reaching over to grandpa Charles and adorably grabbing his face.
— The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) November 18, 2018
These photos in The Sunday Times Magazine, followed the official family portraits which were released to celebrate Charles’ milestone birthday.
The snaps show Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, sitting beside him on a bench with five-year-old Prince George and three-year-old Princess Charlotte.
Behind them Prince William can be seen beaming, while his wife, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, holds on tight to Prince Louis. Prince Harry, 34, is also in the photo, with pregnant wife Meghan Markle, 37.
There was also a photograph from the same shoot was released of Charles with Louis and the Duchess of Cambridge.
The adorable snap was released by the Palace ahead of the UK premiere of a new BBC documentary titled Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70.
In the documentary, Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall gushed about how amazing a grandparent her husband is.
“He will get down on his knees and crawl about with them for hours, you know making funny noises and laughing and my grandchildren adore him, absolutely adore him,” she said, according to The Express.
“He reads Harry Potter and he can do all the different voices and I think children really appreciate that.”
A new biography about the Prince of Wales by royal correspondent Robert Jobson has also just been released.
Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams, has been described as painting an “intriguing new portrait of a man on the cusp of kingship”.
Prince Charles: A modern man
Last month, the Prince of Wales graced the cover of GQ magazine for their October issue.
The 69-year-old royal was photographed in the gardens of his home at Clarence House, and his interview with the publication very much positioned him as the modern figurehead for the future of the British monarchy.
Discussing his passion for environmental issues, Prince Charles spoke about how his viewpoints go against the grain, again, very much pinpointing him as a man which looks to the future, which is what many people are looking for.
“You are accused of being controversial just because you are trying to draw attention to things that aren’t necessarily part of the conventional viewpoint,” he said.
One of the main objectives Charles supports is sustainability and champions any projects which work towards a sustainable future.
“For His Royal Highness believes that economic and social development will best succeed when it works in harmony with Nature, rather than in conflict with Nature,” the Prince of Wales website states.
Support from Prince William and Prince Harry
While his sons have never been quiet about the love and adoration for their late mother Princess Diana, as of late Prince William and Prince Harry have also spoken out in support of their father.
Charles gallantly stepped in to replace Meghan Markle’s father and walk her down the aisle on her wedding day, after Thomas Markle pulled out of his duties at the last minute due to a reported heart attack.
In fact, 34-year-old Harry was the one to approach Charles about walking his then soon-to-be wife down the aisle.
“I asked him to and I think he knew it was coming and he immediately said, ‘Yes, of course, I’ll do whatever Meghan needs and I’m here to support you’,” Harry said in the recent BBC documentary to mark Charles’ 70th birthday.
“For him that’s a fantastic opportunity to step up and be that support, and you know he’s our father so of course he’s gonna be there for us.
“Just because he’s my father that doesn’t mean I can just sort of go, ‘Okay, that’s all, I’ll take it from here.’”
During the ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Harry – who is expecting his first child with the Duchess of Sussex – could be heard saying, “thank you pa”, as his father handed over the bride.
In the same documentary, Prince William praised Charles for his fantastic skills as a doting grandfather, although he admitted he would like Charles to “have more time with the children”.
Last year in a documentary about their mother’s death, William and Harry opened up about their father telling them the heartbreaking news.
“One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that your other parent has died,” Harry said.
“But he was there for us, he was the one out of two left and he tried to do his best and to make sure we were protected and looked after.
“But, you know, he was going through the same grieving process as well.”
Stepping in for the Queen
In the last couple of years, Charles has stepped in for the Queen on many occasions.
One notable for Charles stepping up in the Queen’s shoes was last year during the Remembrance Day ceremony in London.
Her Majesty watched from afar for the first time during her reign as monarch, while Charles took centre stage during the laying of the wreath.
Last year also saw Charles clocking up the most engagements completed by a royal family member – 374 engagements in the UK and 172 abroad, which makes that a whopping total of 546 completed by the Prince of Wales in 2017.
Following the Prince’s year of travel, in April this year the Queen discussed her eldest son eventually taking over from her as the Head of the Commonwealth.
”It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity to future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said, addressing the Commonwealth heads of government at Buckingham Palace.
Will the Queen officially abdicate?
While Charles most certainly is taking on more of his mother’s responsibility, there is still a question mark as to whether the Queen will officially abdicate.
A royal insider allegedly told the Daily Star last year when she turns 95, the Queen is to “request for Charles to become King all but in name”.
The publication reported this means Charles could be set to become Prince Regent.
The Queen would still officially be head of state, it would be just mean the monarch – like her husband Prince Philip did last year, officially retiring – would be taking a huge step back from public life.
“We have absolutely no comment,” a Buckingham Palace representative said when the outlet contacted them for a statement.
It’s hard to picture the British monarchy without the Queen as she has been such a massive figurehead, through a major period of change in history.
However, she has worked hard for 66 years so we can understand why she wants to relax and put her feet up, hopefully with a glass of wine as her son takes on the crown.
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