In the Event of the Queen’s Death…

In the Event of the Queen’s Death…

By Dramaturg Isabelle Smith-Bernstein

In the Event of the Queen’s Death

Queen Elizabeth II has been the center of world events for five generations. It is difficult to imagine her passing. The Queen’s funeral has been planned down to the last second. Before the public can be alerted to her passing, several things must happen behind closed doors. First, the Palace must make sure that the Queen’s four children and eight grandchildren have been notified. Then the Prime Minister must summon his ministers for an emergency cabinet meeting. The cabinet must then convene an Ascension Council which includes: Privy Council members, Lords of the Realm, High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries and the Lord Mayor of London. The Ascension Council is to formally proclaim the new monarch.

King Charles III?

If the Queen never abdicates her throne, then Charles could be in his seventies by the time he takes the throne. Charles is already three years older than the oldest monarch to ascend. In the aftermath of Diana’s death, Charles made the critical error of leaking a story that he would be “privately delighted” if the Queen stepped aside. This made Queen Elizabeth furious, and she demanded—and received—a public apology from her son. Diana’s influence on the monarchy still persists, as she had openly stated that she would rather William succeed the Queen than Charles. Public opinion polls still reflect the presence of Diana’s ghost.

Charles’ role as Prince of Wales has largely been waiting to be crowned king. He spent a lot of his time creating and working for charities, which reflect his wide array of political interests—too big of a range for most people’s comfort. Charles is known for his “Black Spider Memos” (named for his spindly handwriting), which are out-spoken politically, rambling and frequently insult specific members of the government and Parliament. These memos are frowned upon because the monarch—and by extension the heir apparent—is by tradition supposed to be politically neutral.