Abdication, Buckingham Palace, Diamond Jubilee, Elizabeth II, Grand Duchy of Luxembourgt, King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, the prince of Wales, United Kingdom of Great Britain
I have always been against abdication but I have found that my position on abdication has softened a bit over the years. My position has come from the way I view kingship. It doesn’t stem from any religious theology. I certainly do not subscribe to any theory of the divine right of kings. I do see kingship differently from the position of an elected official. One of the aspects of monarchy is its continuity with the past. Here it is 2012 and Queen Elizabeth II is 86 and has been on the throne for 60 years. I can pop open a book and look at pictures of the queen as a young girl with her grandfather, King George V, who himself was a grandson of Queen Victoria. George V was born in 1865 and to me the queen represents an important bridge to both the past and the future. This bridge is weakened to some extent with abdication.
I also think the heart of monarchy is one of duty and dedicated service. The queen pledge her life to the duty and service of her country whether it be short or long. Thank God it has been a long life! With kingship being about service and duty to ones country and ones people and the fact that a constitutional monarch embodies the noble aspects of the country, kingship is more than just a job or a position. If kingship is just a job like any other job then why not just have an elected head of state like they do in other European countries?
Having said all of that I will say my position has softened a bit. Ironically the Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II has helped me with this change. It has been quite a year for Her Majesty. She has had a full schedule of official visits and celebrations and twice her 90 year old husband was hospitalized with health problems. As if the year was not busy enough London hosted the Olympics this year with Her Majesty attending the opening ceremony and officially opening the Olympic games. The Duke of Edinburgh was in the hospital at that moment and Her Majesty certainly looked worn and ragged at that time and who could blame her?
People on average are living longer and as a Head of State she has access to excellent health care. As the role of Head of State is a demanding one, I do question the sensibility about working the queen so hard. Now I do not want to see the queen abdicate but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Prince of Wales beginning to take over more of the queens duties and give the poor gal a break. In having more understanding and compassion toward the heavy burden these monarchs carry as they age I have more empathy and understanding for those countries where abdication has become the tradition.