2017 might as well mark as the year when Queen Elizabeth II began the process of finally leaving her throne after more than a half-century on it.
Her annual Christmas speech on Monday stirred speculations about abdication as the Queen spoke of her husband’s decision to “slow down a little”. While she did not reveal her intention of or speak about stepping down soon, the reference to Prince Philip’s decision has made many guess if she plans to do the same.
Watch Queen Elizabeth II's 2017 Christmas message below.
This year saw the queen delegate more responsibilities to Prince Charles, which has led to the heir apparent attending more events on his own than ever before, although Charles is also seen quite often by his mother’s side as well.
2018 will mark the 92nd year in the life of the longest-reigning British monarch, whose husband is already 96.
Queen Elizabeth II with her son, heir apparent Prince Charles
Many have come to see the queen’s decision to let Charles attend the annual Remembrance Day, on November 12, in her absence as an important decision taken by the queen.
The British monarch has hardly missed the event, which involves laying a wreath for the fallen soldiers of the First World War on the Cenotaph in Whitehall, Central London, except during her pregnancies and international visits.
Prince Charles is also expected to attend the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, in April, instead of his mother.
Prince William and Princess Kate. The prince's royal duties have increased in 2017
Along with Charles’ engagements, this year has seen his eldest son, Prince William, taking more palace roles than ever before. William, who served as a helicopter pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance’s search-and-rescue team, finally announced his departure in July, a month before Philip officially retired.
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, while Charles is the longest-serving heir apparent. He became the Prince of Wales in 1958.