The British line of succession has always been a top conversation topic. A point that has recently come to mind and heavily dissected by royal enthusiasts are the Regency Acts. These are Acts passed by the United Kingdom Parliament during the event of a reigning monarch’s incapacitation or minority. The Prince Regent theory’s recent resurrection can be traced back to royal commentator Robert Jobson’s column for the London Evening Standard.
King George IV
The title of Prince Regent was last in effect from 1811 to 1820 due to King George III’s incapacitation through mental illness. His son, George IV, was bestowed the Crown’s powers under the Regency Act during the famed era. The title is also the namesake of Regent's Park, Regent Street, and Regent's Canal, which George IV commissioned.
In 1937, a new Regency Act needed to be created to accommodate the then underage Princess Elizabeth when her father George VI became King. The Act required that the regent be a “British subject of full age and domiciled in some part of the United Kingdom” as well as “a person who would, under section two of the Act of Settlement, be capable of inheriting, possessing, and enjoying the Crown.”
In May 2013, Buckingham Palace was forced to issue a formal denial due to wild speculation about Prince Charles becoming Prince Regent after it was announced that he would take his mother’s place at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference.
No clear word has been given by the royal herself since then, but it’s been widely speculated that the Queen plans to make Prince Charles the Prince Regent when she approaches her mid-90s. People who know the Queen, however, are certain she would only pass on responsibilities if she became seriously ill. Phil Dampier, a writer who's been covering the royal family for three decades, tells the Royal Central:
“The Queen will certainly never abdicate. At the moment she is in excellent health and so she won’t be giving this serious thought right now. In fact, I know she has told friends that she wants to live to 100 like her mother.
“The only reason a regency would ever be contemplated is if she became seriously ill, either mentally or physically. But I don’t believe she would consider an artificial cut off time such as reaching 95. She will consider the situation as each year passes.”
The theory may have some backing: In a speech she made way back in 1947, the Queen made it clear she has no plans of abdicating saying, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.”
The Queen’s speech to Parliament during the Diamond Jubilee reflected and strengthened her earlier statements, saying: “I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come.”
Long live the Queen! Long may she reign!
h/t: Royal Central