Is it ‘patronizing’ to suggest that 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth should step down?

Global Investment Summit reception at Windsor Castle

Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II cancelled her two-day trip to Northern Ireland at the last minute. The cancellation came as such a surprise to the reporters who had already traveled to NI. It does feel like something happened at the last minute, but who’s to say. Certainly the royal commentators are trying to figure it out, and it’s almost like Buckingham Palace didn’t really give anyone talking points. Which is also pretty curious. So now Dickie Arbiter and Angela Levin are fighting about what happens next with the Queen:

Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter has said the Queen will not step down, despite concerns over her health after she cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland this week following medical advice to rest for the next few days. Speaking on GMB this morning, the former press secretary to the Queen, 95, told Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid that anyone asking the monarch to retire was ‘patronising and fighting fire’.

Speaking on ITV today, Dickie said: ‘The Queen made her feelings very crystal clear when she told the “Oldie awards” to naff off. Remembrance Day is coming up and is sacred in her diary. To suggest she’ll step back is patronising and fighting fire – the Queen will instead ask her officials to pace her engagements more.’

Explaining why the Queen would not step down, he continued: ‘During her coronation she made a vow in the eyes of god, and you can’t compare that promise to the pope retiring. The Queen has had a very strenuous few days ago, which is why doctors probably advised her to cancel her upcoming trip. It’s a lot to ask of anyone any age – even when she’s not at engagements the monarch has mounds of paperwork to go through. The officials at Buckingham Palace will be looking very carefully to pace her engagements. There’s only so much Charles, William and Kate can do.’

However biographer Angela Levin argued that the Queen is battling feelings of guilt, and should be encouraged to step down. She said: ‘The Queen feels very guilty as she made a promise at 21 that she’ll be Queen until she dies, but the Pope made the same vows and has since retired. Things have changed since the royal made that promise and people live longer nowadays.

‘The Queen is incredibly alert but it’s too much for her physically – at the moment it’s a fight between mind and body – she should be encouraged to step back slowly.’

Arguing that the Queen should retire after the Platinum Jubilee in June, which marks 70 years on the throne, Angela added: ‘The Queen needs to look after herself and make allowances. Prince Philip said the same thing when he retired and allowed himself a break. We should all be encouraging the Queen to step back and enjoy the rest of her life.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I think it’s interesting that there’s this last gasp from this older generation of royal commentators who are realizing that all is not well in the House of Windsor and that things are getting shambolic. On the surface, I kind of agree with both Arbiter and Levin – the Queen is going to do whatever she feels like anyway, and she clearly wants to be seen out and about, but she’s going to have to learn how to take it easy. I also think Levin is right that sh-t changes and it would not be the end of the f–king world if the Queen retired.

This was also an interesting quote from Arbiter: “There’s only so much Charles, William and Kate can do…” Kate has only done one public event since the Earthshot flop on Sunday. Since Sunday, William has only done two private receptions (back-to-back) on Tuesday night. And that constitutes a “busy” week for them! It will be genuinely funny if the Queen’s period of rest ends up highlighting how spectacularly lazy Will and Kate still are after all these years.

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60 Responses to “Is it ‘patronizing’ to suggest that 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth should step down?”

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  1. Elizabeth Regina says:

    The queen should have retired at least 10 years ago. She is 95 and she’s done her bit. Charles may not be liked that much but he is capable and not lazy. He will be an adequate king. The keens will always keen and kopy. That’s their MO. Will they step up and do real work when the queen goes? No. The end.

    • Merricat says:

      +1

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Makes you wonder if any of these idiots have put 2 and 2 together? TQ is putting in all of these hours due to the fact that FFK and FFQC are lazy, useless and pathetic? I do believe that TQ does as she had to hold W’s hand to show him how to be diplomatic and successfully excite a charm tour. This isn’t lost on TQ, or Chaz or any other hard working member of The Firm.

  2. Selene says:

    I do think it’s patronizing, given that her role is not similar to a job, more like SHE is the job. The position itself is being her, and that’s the way she was taught and what she wishes to uphold. They should let her make the choice and roll with the punches, all those before her did.

    • Eurydice says:

      Patronizing means “looking down from a position of superiority.” In this monarchical structure, the only thing superior to the Queen is God. So, yes, it’s patronizing for people to think she should listen to them, rather than the god to which she made a vow. Practically speaking, we know the transition has been going on for quite a while now – they’ll figure it out.

  3. lunchcoma says:

    The Queen is a figurehead. There’s no real reason she needs to abdicate if she doesn’t want to. And it’s not like Charles as king and the reaction to that from the public and from William would be anything she’d want to watch.

    • Ang says:

      Also…”mounds of paperwork to go through” are we really believing this bull^+%!? What kind of paperwork is a 95 year old really going through as a figurehead? They really think we are all stupid

  4. Wiglet Watcher says:

    The queen is holding this whole sh*tshow together and she knows it. She also wants that platinum jubilee.

    Other side… she should step down for her health, but if all she’s living for is the role… we’ll, let her ride it til the wheels fall off and go out as the longest reigning queen.

  5. ModeratelyWealthy says:

    “During her coronation she made a vow in the eyes of god, and you can’t compare that promise to the pope retiring”

    Wtf is that? Is the Queen ” holier” than the Pope- I thought these folks were over this!

    I guess not!

    • Miranda says:

      Dammit, where’s a good old-fashioned Inquisition when you need one? These heretics are getting all uppity again!

    • Becks1 says:

      Right? That made me laugh. I mean I guess we can say the Queen is the head of the COE same way the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church, but do people really look to the queen for spiritual guidance or religious leadership?

    • HeyJude says:

      Yes, he literally just said her position and duties are more important than a Popes.

      FFS This is an outright cult.

      No wonder people think the palace could be behind killings, when you talk like she’s a divine entity of course they’d kill for her. Such a disturbing comment.

  6. Snuffles says:

    “ Arbiter: “There’s only so much Charles, William and Kate can do…”

    So the only solution is to overwork a 95 year old woman? I don’t know the Queen’s mind or what she truly wants. But the impression I’m getting is that she, her courtiers and the royal rota know full well the heirs are not up to snuff for a variety of reasons. From being bone lazy to being unlikeable. It feels like they are desperate to keep her alive until they can find a solution to their problems. But it’s too late now. They’re fucked once she’s gone.

    • JT says:

      This is the crux of the issue. The queen is holding the entire monarchy together by the tips of her boozed soaked fingers, so she can’t just give it up now. All hell would break loose. It’s already been falling apart. Most of people’s reverence, or apathy depending on who you ask, all relies on the queen. Charles is capable but completely unlikeable. Will Jung Un is more popular but lazy and dumb as hell. (Also he’s just f*cking destructive) The one person who had matched the queen in popularity and even overtook her at times, is living his best life in Montecito. Not to mention the fact that Harry would have been extremely capable of keeping it together as a shadow king. The firm has no choice but to work Betty to the bone because they’ve backed themselves into a corner.

      • Thirtynine says:

        Destructive is the perfect word to describe William.

      • aftershocks says:

        @JT said:
        “The one person who had matched the queen in popularity and even overtook her at times, is living his best life in Montecito. Not to mention the fact that Harry would have been extremely capable of keeping it together as a shadow king…”

        Agree with your entire post, @JT. Your above comments remind me of how the firm absolutely knew years ago that Will is lazy and unproductive, and that he has no leadership skills. He skated by on his mother’s looks and youthful charisma as a teenager. But the glow began to wear off as it set in just how selfish, petty, and rage-filled he is, especially behind-the-scenes.

        With fully recognizing Will’s problematic personality, and his lack of work ethic, palace p.r., senior royals, and rota ratchets knew Harry was needed to exude true star power and next-generation leadership. However, none of them ever admitted how much they needed Harry. It was always portrayed as, ‘Oh, the brothers are a package pair, tied at the hip.’ But that was never true. Harry and Will always had a sibling rivals relationship, with petty jealousy coming from Will.

        The Queen, Charles, and the courtiers placed pressure on Harry to retire from the military, at a point when he likely was considering making it a career, and executing a clean break from royal life. They knew Harry is the better brother!

        I believe in the long term that serving as a ‘shadow king,’ with Will getting all the public credit, would ultimately have destroyed Harry’s sense of self. He would have been a shadow of his true self. Meeting Meghan was Harry’s salvation, and his victory.

        M&H could have been the modern-day royal family’s salvation once the Queen passes, but the incompetence of the firm had them rejecting and smearing the couple who were their ace-in-the-hole.

    • Couch potato says:

      Arbiter knows he’s talking BS! In a “well functional” monarchy the heir takes on more and more responsibilities as the monarch ages. When they reach a certain point, when their health is to frail, they’re monarchs in the name only, and the heirs are prince/princess regents. Some monarchs has abdicated resently, while other european monarchs plans to go on to the bitter end.

      Pretty much everyone knows Charles is a shadow regent by now. @Snuffles, you’re spot on with them being desperate. They know they are in deep shit without her, especially after Harry left. Had they treated Meghan with respect, they could’ve had a new wave of popularity for the RF, but the FFK couldn’t handle to be overshadowed. They need to keep her alive until George and Charlotte becomes saleable with more than adorable childrens picks.

    • iconoclast59 says:

      The solution was right there. Unfortunately, the RF and courtiers were too blind to see what was right in front of them, and they drove them straight to America.

      And now they get to reap the consequences. Too bad, so sad.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I think about this. My late grandmother was the same way. She failed to see the change and her not being able to do what she did in the past. It was things like not giving herself enough time to get ready and head out and being late everywhere. Holding up the group because she was slower then others and then when help is offered turning it down. It got so bad that people just stop offering to help or volunteering to take her places. She really has the mindset that the world stopped for her. So I get where this is coming from but the big difference is, my grandmother worked at a factory for 32 years before retirement and the result was her body aching and aging faster than a billionaire welfare recipient who hoards her wealth, drinks like a fish and is a ribbon cutter.

    So to answer the question, no, I don’t think it is patronizing to tell Betty to go away and count her money and play on her gold piano.

  8. lanne says:

    I also think she should have stepped down the day after she beat Queen Victoria for longevity. Use her popularity to ease the transition to Charles, who could have then retired after a time in favor of William.

    Financially, it would have been problematic due to their inheritance laws and the desire to keep their wealth intact. But then again, paying the huge amount of estate taxes, which they can afford, would have been an incredible goodwill gesture to the country that could have bought the royal family generations of support. They could always rebuild their wealth through their shady deals anyway.

    • Lilibetp says:

      I think she’s trying to beat Louis XIV.

    • Nope says:

      What an excellent point. For some reason my brain always stuck on “well they can’t do an early handoff for inheritance reasons.” As though the tax were some extraordinary undue burden–and of course it’s not. Do the best thing for the country, you jackasses.

      • Lorelei says:

        Exactly…I mean for the love of Christ, how much wealth and land do these people need?! Especially since they’re “slimming down.”
        It’s not as if they would realize any difference whatsoever in their lifestyles after paying the inheritance tax. It’s probably pocket change to them; I get the impression they have a lot more stashed offshore that the public just doesn’t know about (yet).

        @Lanne imo they’re too greedily short-sighted to realize how much goodwill this would buy them, at a time when they couldn’t possibly need it more.

  9. Jais says:

    I thought it was funny that dickie arbiter says she has mounds of paperwork to do when she’s not attending engagements. Lol, I don’t believe that. Some maybe but not mounds and he just wants to make it seem like she does work when she’s not at engagements. At this point, she can be allowed to just do engagements and leave the paperwork for others, which is what I’m sure is happening anyways. Even without the paperwork, she does more than will and Kate. No need to front like it’s otherwise, dickie.

    • Lorelei says:

      I assumed he was referring to whatever is in those red boxes that she gets every morning? But there’s no way that Charles didn’t take that over ages ago.

  10. Miranda says:

    Does TQ really NEED total physical and mental awareness? It’s important for a Pope to retain mental agility, because what he says and does is actually relevant to the lives of hundreds of millions of people. I thought British monarchs were little more than just mascots at this point.

  11. LeonsMomma says:

    It really is patronizing — let the woman do her duties as Queen. I wish someone would read William the riot act and tell him that he needs to step into these things as they will happen more frequently. Though I suspect he has and ignores it. Charles has his faults, but he is committed to his causes and shows up. William is going to be a shitty king.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ LeonsMomma, unfortunately they have created the monster that they must now contend with. Had they raised W to be a man and not give in to his every whim, forced him to be accountable for his actions and created boundaries, he would have been a half decent person. Instead, they are faced with a perfect Andrew 2.0 with W.

      Chaz should hit him where it hurts, financially. Take away the toys, the money and the never ending supply of giving him everything he wants. Make W earn what he has, same with Keen. No more freeloading.

      • Sid says:

        I’m trying to figure out how and why they coddled Willileaks so much. QEII was around 10 when her uncle ran off, so from that age she was being prepped as a future heir. And maybe they started prepping her even earlier than that considering her uncle married late and had no legit kids, so the possibility of things switching to her father’s line had to be considered. I highly doubt QEII was coddled that much by courtiers and co. growing up. So why was Willileaks allowed to run wild?

      • Lorelei says:

        @Sid, same. It’s probably (?) intertwined at least somewhat with whatever Harry was referring to when he said “if you knew what I know.” And I hope we find out, sooner rather than later. Because right now, they are in deep sh!t, and William is their great white hope? Yikes. It feels like their future is precarious as it is, and there’s SOMETHING going on with William that is *this* hugely concerning to everyone?

        I’m surprised they’ve been able to keep it hidden so long, if it’s as damaging as we’ve been led to believe.

  12. Amy T says:

    If a Pope could retire…..just sayin’

    • lanne says:

      Kings of Belgium and Spain retired–due to scandal. Queen of the Netherlands retired. Emperor Akihito retired. So there’s plenty of precedent

  13. whatever says:

    I think she should work as long as she wants to, and certainly should not be pressured to step down.

    But the idea of anyone her age working because they think they HAVE to is unsettling. I hope it’s made clear to her that she’s more than done her duty, no one would think less of her for stepping back, and that it’s okay to take it easy and enjoy herself at her age. I wonder if she realizes that, and that knowing that, it’s actually her choice to continue. I suspect that a tremendous amount of pressure is put on her to keep going.

  14. Rai says:

    As a person of faith, I am fascinated by the comparison to the Pope. Utterly fascinated.

    And probably more uncomfortable with the comparison than I should be…but still.

    • Eurydice says:

      I’m uncomfortable with it, too, but I have to remember that it’s one “royal commentator” who is saying this.

    • Leigh_S says:

      As the British Monarch is also head of the Anglican Church, there’s definitely a parallel. Except the Pope isn’t born into the role so the idea of leaving the role is easier.

    • Nic919 says:

      Henry VIII did break off the Catholic Church to set himself up as English pope so in a way the comparison makes sense. It was arrogance to do it then and remains so to this day.
      The irony is that the pope is elected into the position and has had to acquire decades of education and experience before he even gets considered for the position. The English head of church simply has to be born in the correct order.

  15. Noki says:

    “There’s only so much Charles, William and Kate can do…” i think he means that she is the QUEEN and it doesnt matter how many appearances the dullards make there are certain events and presentations that are only fit for the Queen to be front and center.

    • Truthiness says:

      I think she is better at it than Charles or Will. Lord knows she has tried to teach Will but he is too obstinate. Charles still has his pay-for-access thinking and Will thinks that awarding $6M is a year’s work and it will change the world. QEll truly loves her work too much to retire and be a lonely widow. King Pay-For-Access-and-Honors will just have to wait.

  16. Hillbo Baggins says:

    She truly believes it’s her god-given duty to rule as queen until she dies. And that’s what she’ll do. Retirement or stepping down has never been an option in her mind.

  17. Over it says:

    If kiniging alone is too much for Charles and William, then maybe it’s time to close up shop permanently for all of these grifters.

  18. Nic919 says:

    William and Kate should have being doing 500 engagements from 2011 on. At this point the Queen is staying on because she knows the Cambridges don’t have the same appeal and Charles is holding up his end of the bargain with his engagements but isn’t personally popular.

    And we know the Queen doesn’t think much of the Cambridges because she basically ignored them when they had returned from what was supposed to be the triumphant Covid choo choo tour and she ended up going to Scotland herself after that to fix the mess they created.

    • Julia K says:

      What?? 500 ? When would she find time to shop for 500 new outfits? 250 then, to compromise. 250 new outfits would be doable; no need to lower the bar, then.

  19. Becks1 says:

    There was no reason not to send William and Kate to NI yesterday. None. Yes, it may have required some scrambling, but their schedules were clear and Kate has plenty of clothes, so it shouldn’t have been THAT much of a scramble. And yes, I know they were in NI a few weeks ago, but at least this way you weren’t leaving the RRs etc hanging. Or even just send William as the future future king if they didn’t want it to turn in the Keen Show.

    Charles was busy making Mary Berry a Dame and Camilla was hosting the Osteoporosis society’s annual reception at Clarence House (something she would not miss if at all possible in my opinion), so they were booked up. So send the ones who weren’t busy.

    As for the Queen retiring/abdicating – she should have done so years ago, to set the precedent that its acceptable. “abdication” is not the dirty word it was 70 years ago. It’s worked in other countries, even when the abdication was for scandalous reasons. She should have retired when Philip did so they could live out their last few years together (lol, like he wanted that.)

    I don’t think its patronizing to discuss it, she’s clearly worn out and not up to the same schedule she used to be, AND her grandson and granddaughter-in-law aren’t up to any sort of schedule. something has to give.

    Oh, if only there had been popular royals who were willing to work hard to represent the monarchy.

    • Eurydice says:

      I agree. It’s just that this isn’t what patronizing means. I think what they’re doing is indulging her and placating her. They’ve all been brought up to know she’s the boss, whether she’s capable or not. I’m sure Charles doesn’t appreciate the calls for him to step aside in favor of William – I don’t think he has any intention of riding off into the early sunset with Camilla.

      It’s a dilemma, what to do about Will and Kate. Whether the Queen steps down or dies, the situation remains the same – Charles doing the work and W&K doing…whatever…

    • Lorelei says:

      @Becks, totally agree. It seems like she’s had the “ABDICATION BAD” mindset for so many decades and she’s never stepped back to reassess it, or been able to look honestly at how totally different the situations are and how much has changed since then.

      It would not be a scandal for her to gracefully pass the baton to Charles at this point in her life. She and her uncle are *in no way* comparable. But it seems so drilled into her that she can’t possibly view it objectively, through the lens of a 95-year-old who has had by any measure a very successful reign.

      It’s putting Charles in an absolutely ridiculous position as well, but she doesn’t seem to care one bit about him. NO ONE would criticize it or begrudge her rest for the remaining years of her life. It’s the most reasonable thing to do for everyone involved, imo, but she’s stubborn, egotistical, worried about Andrew, and probably does believe she’d be breaking her coronation vow, which…I guess opinions will differ on that, but I think Dickie here would be in the minority.

      Also—I don’t like Camilla, at ALL, but ITA with you about her not wanting to miss the osteoporosis event because it’s something she’s genuinely committed to, and it struck me that even after ten years, I cannot think of one. single. thing. that is important to William or Kate in the same way. Possibly Wimbledon, for Kate 🙄

    • Truthiness says:

      The health excuse was not the real excuse. It’s Northern Ireland we are talking about.

      The opinions of the public don’t matter one whit. The Queen is a figurehead; it’s just a very historic figurehead. British monarchs die on the throne. The scandal of the Queen’s uncle abdicating was viewed within her family as a unforgivable sin. Why ask the Queen to be something she is not?

  20. Amy Bee says:

    I think she should retire.

  21. LaurieLee says:

    What I think is patronizing is pretending that a 95 year old truly goes through mounds of paperwork, and understand it, every day. I simply don’t believe that anyone of that age could be adding anything of substance at this point, it’s not her fault, she’s 95! Let her bow out if she wants to for goodness sake. But stop pretending that she’s magically functioning at the same level as when she was crowned. Also, can we stop pretending her job is super important? She’s a figurehead, I doubt her input makes any difference, as it shouldn’t since she’s not an elected part of the government.

  22. Chaine says:

    Idk, I just look at what happened to Harry and Meghan and then look back at the rest of the royal family and I think “they reap what they sow”—

    • BothSidesNow says:

      That is my reaction as well. Had they not given it the to the tantrums of Incandescent With Rage at every moment, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. In addition to having the entire Firm, family and The Monarchy, come out publicly and support Meghan from the first day and stopped the smear campaign. Unfortunately, the smear campaign was the brain child of Incandescent, full stop. I don’t understand why they don’t pull him in and give W, and K, the much needed and overdue “come to Jesus” meeting. W has no power, nothing that W can say will create bad press that his father hasn’t tackled before or again, for that matter.

      • Ania says:

        I often think that RF has literall bodies buried somewhere and Willy knows it because otherwise it’s like BOTHSIDESNOW said – they know Chaz’s reputation is not great anyway and Will has nowhere to go. What does he have on them?

  23. Jaded says:

    Breaking news: She spent Wednesday night in hospital. No word about why, the wording of the statement is quite odd — “Following medical advice to rest for a few days, The Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits.”

    • russianblue says:

      @ Jaded: “In good spirits” is what they kept saying about Philip after he left the hospital. I think this is really it, and she’ll be gone anywhere from hours to a month from now.

      I have no love for the Queen, but this definitely brings up some mixed emotions in me. And as much as I dislike the rest of the RF, I do feel for the people that may be losing a loved member of their family as I type this.

    • Monica says:

      They’ll underplay whatever’s going on with her until the day she dies.

  24. russianblue says:

    I just saw Omid Scobie say on Twitter that Buckingham Palace intended to keep the Queen’s hospital visit under wraps, but the Sun ran a story on it that forced them to confirm that it happened. I’m not sure how reliable Scobie is, but if this is true then I doubt that we’ll know the true extent of Betty’s medical problems unless someone leaks it to the press.

    The official line is that she’s in good spirits and even got some work done on Thursday afternoon. A ton of people on Twitter don’t buy this (including myself), but what’s surprising is that I’ve even seen a few professional royalists tweet that they think this is more severe than BP is letting on.

    • SnoodleDumpling says:

      Well, it’s exactly the same line they used for Prince Philip right up until we got the death announcement.

      Honestly, that was…unsettling, the way just talked about ‘he’s in good spirits’, ‘not really anything serious’, and then he was dead. It does tend to make one think that they’ll underplay it until the notice goes up and the whole country has to stop for 10 days.