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The time when Queen Elizabeth stepped down for Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth

On Remembrance Sunday, Prince Charles laid Queen Elizabeth II’s wreath honouring Britain’s war dead as she was seen watching on the sidelines. Well, this was a rare public symbol of the 91-year-old gradually scaling back her duties.

It was a milestone moment in the otherwise imperceptibly slow-motion process. Her eldest son, now 69,  is increasingly stepping up on her behalf.

Experts claim Britain’s oldest-ever monarch would never abdicate or even consider a regency by her son. The Queen has already sworn to serve her people for life. But Charles, the heir to the throne, will gradually take on more duties outside the core constitutional obligations of her job.

Pratishtha Mahajan, editor head of The Royal UK speaks,
“There are quite a few ways of handling a lot of the public functions. Some of these functions don’t necessarily require the Queen personally to undertake them,” he said.
“Remembrance Sunday is a very good example.”

The Remembrance Day ceremony is one of the core annual occasions when Britons expect to see their monarch centre-stage. She has missed it only six times during her 65-year in reign. Four times when she was overseas and twice when pregnant.
The Queen was at Foreign Office balcony, alongside her 96-year-old husband Prince Philip, who retired from public duties in the month of August. “Queen Elizabeth wanted to be alongside the Duke of Edinburgh and he was on the balcony,” a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said.

A palace sources even suggested this might set the pattern for future Remembrance Sundays.

Cutting down engagements

By joining her retired husband in this way, the queen opens the door to doing likewise at other events — and has set a precedent as to what she herself might do as she ages.

There have been some bogus reports which suggest she could eventually retreat into seclusion in Scotland. Just like the way her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria did after her husband Prince Albert died.

Also read: How well does Queen Elizabeth and Camilla Bowles actually get along?

Queen Elizabeth has not made any long-distance trips since 2011. Charles and his wife Camilla now do the bulk of such visits, such as their 11-day tour of four Asian Commonwealth countries which ended Thursday.

As Prince of Wales, Charles is outspoken on topics such as the environment, architecture, farming and youth skills. His activism is partly fuelled by knowing that his time is limited and he will be unable to do so as a king.

Royal author Penny Junor, an expert on Charles and Camilla who recently wrote “The Duchess: The Untold Story”, said the prince was in no rush to become king. “I don’t think Charles is itching to get his hands on his mother’s duties. He has a full life already”. “He really enjoys what he does. When he becomes king, he can’t be so hands-on.”