Queen Elizabeth Gives a Sign She May Be Ready to Step Down From Her Royal Duties

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Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth
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Queen Elizabeth has slowly been winding down her royal duties over the last few years, and she just handed over a big one to her son, Prince Charles. The monarch stepped down as the head of the Commonwealth -- and specifically requested that Charles succeed her in the nonhereditary role. 

  • On Thursday, the queen told the leaders of 53 nations linked to the UK that it was her "sincere wish" that Charles take over for her.

    Queen Elizabeth
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    As People reports, the leaders represent 2.4 billion people globally and met at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, where the queen officially asked that they consider Charles to lead the organization for the first time. Her majesty said, "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for 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 continued, "By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us: a world where the Commonwealth’s generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all."

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  • The world leaders met at Windsor Castle on Friday, and they backed Charles as the next head of the Commonwealth.

    Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla
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    The role is not automatic, like the line to the British throne, and there had been some talk of rotating the leadership position between other countries. Considering how much controversy has surrounded Charles through the years though (hi, Camilla!), this is a pretty clear sign that the queen is keen on her firstborn son taking on his birthright as her successor.

    During the prince's opening remarks at the summit, he said, "For my part, the Commonwealth has been a fundamental feature of my life for as long as I can remember, beginning with my first visit to Malta when I was just 5 years old. And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I pray that this Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will not only revitalize the bonds between our countries, but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all citizens, finding practical solutions to their problems and giving life to their aspirations."

    He continued, "By doing so, the Commonwealth can be a cornerstone for the lives of future generations, just as it has been for so many of us."

  • Queen Elizabeth also gave her grandson Harry an important role for the Commonwealth.

    Meghan Markle, Prince Harry
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    The royal family announced earlier this week that Harry has been appointed as the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. He's been accompanied by fiancée Meghan Markle at all events this week as well, a major statement from the monarchy that she is already considered part of the family, and Harry's partner in the family business, as well as his bride-to-be.

    Harry said of his new role, "I will work to support the Queen, my father the Prince of Wales, and my brother William, all of whom know that young people are the answer to the challenges of today."

  • Is this a sign that Queen Elizabeth is getting ready to abdicate?

    It's hard to say. She has stated throughout her reign that she would serve her country as queen for as long as she was able to, and she's certainly still sharp as a tack. But we doubt anyone would second-guess her decision if she decided to step down and enjoy the remainder of her golden years out of the spotlight.