Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:51AM
John Prescott, the British Labour peer who is a member of Queen Elizabeth’s board of advisors, the Privy Council, was attacked a few days ago for suggesting the Queen should abdicate. The attack followed the former Deputy Prime Minister’s article in the Sunday Mirror that suggested the Queen should quit as monarch by saying he has a friend who is concerned about the head of state “overburdening” herself. "He asked me, as a Privy Councillor, to tell her that he didn't expect her to see out her royal duties as the Queen. She deserves a break and he wouldn't think less of her if she stepped down," Prescott wrote. He also added that the Queen is in ill-health and doctors have been “baffled” by her recent situation, which led to her hospitalization. However, he faced a major backlash from both politicians and certain media including The Daily Telegraph. The paper wrote in an editorial title “Time to Bow out John” advised Prescott in a mocking fashion to “retire gracefully”. "Since he has done his bit for Queen and country, he now deserves a long and fulfilling retirement. Indeed, most of us thought and hoped we had already heard the last of him," the editorial read. He was also blasted by Tory MP Amber Rudd and backbench Conservative MP Conor Burns with the latter describing Prescott’s remarks as “pig ignorant”. "Luckily for her subjects I'm sure the Queen will ignore his silly advice," Burns added. Prescott did trigger a storm of criticism but Burns seemed to have a point when he said the Queen will ignore the peer’s comments. Royal biographer Hugo Vickers says the Queen has always been "horrified" by any suggestion of abdication stressing "it's not going to happen". British monarchs have shown little interest in giving up a throne they absurdly claim they have received as a right from God and look down on the “bicycle monarchs” of Europe who retire by abdicating. There is an exception, though, who is Edward III, the uncle of the present Queen Elizabeth II. Edward abdicated in 1936 less than a year after becoming king to marry a girl, named Wallis Simpson, his family did not approve. The abdication came under pressure from the then Prime Minister Baldwin and the public opinion after the death of Edward’s father, George V, thanks to the 1772 Royal Marriage Act that require members of the Royal family to obtain the sovereign’s permission before marriage. Edward was in a sense the only English/British monarch who abdicated other than by force (Richard II, Edward II and Henry VI were forced to step down). The present Queen has also made it clear before that she considers it her duty to hold the throne and serve until her death. There is also no provision in the British law that grants to the sovereign the right to choose, on his own authority, voluntarily to alter the scope or to discontinue the term of his or her reign and any expression of intent should be ratified by the parliament. Against such a backdrop, the prospect of Queen Elizabeth II giving up on power remains hypothetical despite anti-monarchy groups such as Republic frowning on the matter. Republic said after Prescott’s comments that the debate showed "we need a more mature way of choosing and replacing the Head of State”, though no such mature approaches are in view. AMR/HE