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A recent poll shows that only a quarter of Britons want to see Charles succeed his mother as monarch. The public seems to be in favor of Prince William to have the throne:

Only a quarter of Britons want to see Charles succeed his mother as monarch, according to a representative poll of 2,000 adults.

In comparison, more than half - 54 per cent - would prefer to see the succession jump to Prince William.

This also has to do with how popular Princess Diana was and the fact that Charles is just not as loved by the people as Diana and her sons are.

I realize that Edward VIII abdicated his throne. However, I believe that he was forced to do so because of the Church of England laws of the time in regards to his choice of bride. My understanding is that the same reasons would not affect Charles in any way.

Can Charles simply pass the throne on to William? If so, what is the protocol for doing this?

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    If public opinion polls mattered, it wouldn't be a Monarchy, and Monarchs generally do whatever they want. So I'm not really seeing the point of the question, interesting though it is.
    – Xen2050
    Dec 17, 2017 at 22:47
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    @Xen2050 The point of my question was just asking if Charles can pass his throne to his son and how that would happen. I just threw the public opinion poll in there to show that he isn't popular :) Dec 18, 2017 at 1:24
  • @steelersquirrel - I suspect the polls will move when they see how grief-stricken he is. The fickle public love nothing better than a sob story
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2017 at 1:35
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    @Xen2050: It seems to me you do not understand monarchy at all. Especially for succession and abdication, the Monarchs do not "do whatever they want". Japanese parliament had to vote a law to allow the Emperor to abdicate.
    – Distic
    Dec 18, 2017 at 15:33

1 Answer 1

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Yes, he most certainly could, assuming that Parliament agreed to accept his abdication. We have a precedent in the His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 where Parliament passed a bill confirming the voluntary abdication of Edward VIII and passing succession to his brother, George VI, despite there (apparently) being an extant heir to the throne living overseas. Note that he had to formally Assent to the Act becoming law before he could step down and that he also signed a declaration so there would be no question of whether his decision was voluntary.

No serious attempt was made to confirm whether an heir existed and the Act made it explicit that his children would not be heirs to the throne despite his prior claim.


As to whether he will, the short answer is that there's no good reason to assume that he's even considering it, nor are Parliament likely to press the issue, despite his having married a divorcee. For it to happen before he becomes King would require his mother, the Queen to sign the Act into law. If he stood down after becoming King, he could sign the Act himself.

As to the question of protocol, I would imagine that it would all happen behind closed doors. He'd inform his mother and son (the Queen and Prince William), then speak to the Privy Council (including the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition) about his decision and to discuss raising an Act in Parliament. A few days later, an announcement would be made public and a few days after that, something like the Succession to the Crown (Prince Charles Abdication) Act 2018 would come before Parliament. There would be a short debate (mostly long-winded speeches praising his long service and charity work) followed by the Act being passed and passed over for Royal Assent.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Philipp
    Dec 18, 2017 at 12:57
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    I assume that there would be additional complications compared to 1936 now that the other Commonwealth realms are considered to have distinct crowns, but are still committed to having the same monarch. Presumably parallel acts would have to be passed in the other 15 Commonwealth realms. (Edit) Actually this was also the status in 1936... I'll have to read up more to see how they handled George's abdication back then. Dec 19, 2017 at 10:45
  • @curiousdannii - The commonwealth countries coped very well with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. Most passed it unchanged within a few years.
    – Valorum
    Dec 19, 2017 at 22:43
  • @Valorum But it only took effect once the other realms had also enacted parallel laws - two years later. Two years is too long for an abdication to take place. I guess that if Charles wanted to abdicate he'd have to give sufficient notice to all the realms and hope they would fast track the bills. Dec 20, 2017 at 0:54
  • @curiousdannii - My instinct is that it's not that big an issue for the overseas realms. Several of them didn't enact the 1936 Act until the 1940s and I think several have still to enact the 2013 Act. It's only a big deal if there's a power vacuum or a struggle for supremacy (which is vanishingly unlikely in a democracy as stable as the UK).
    – Valorum
    Dec 20, 2017 at 0:55

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