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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > June 2017 > The Duel

The Duel

Should the Queen abdicate?

Prince Philip, who will be 96 this June, has announced that he is retiring from official duties in the autumn. Is it time for the Queen, now 91, also to consider stepping down from her own much greater responsibilities as monarch?

YES Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather was killed by his doctors, with an eye to the media impact. Her father died of lung cancer at a relatively early age. She has been luckier and healthier. She could well last until she is over 100 years old and I hope very much that she does, but there will come a point when simple old age will enfeeble her and the job will become a tormenting impossibility. She might feel that enduring at all costs was her duty. Some such sentiment drove Pope John Paul II through his Parkinson’s disease, but was no example to follow. Pope Benedict XVI, who observed the process closely, learned from it and when his powers failed became the first Pope to retire for nearly 600 years.

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In Prospect’s June issue: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Martha Gill and Helen Pidd examine the election chances of the three main political parties. Wheatcroft explores the Tories’ remarkable ability to rise from the ashes and assert dominance, Gill questions why the Lib Dem revival isn’t quite getting off the ground and Pidd examines Labour’s prospects after poor performances in the recent council and mayoral elections. Also in this issue: Christine Ockrent asks if France’s new President Emmanuel Macron can charm the parts of France that didn’t initially vote for him, AC Grayling assesses whether the rise and rise of drone warfare warrants a new ethical code for conflict and Francine Stock explores whether Pixar can continue to captivate modern audiences.