According to the Daily Mail, “palace sources” say that preparations are being made, which could allow the Queen to someday pass on her duties to her oldest son Charles in what would be abdication without calling it that.
While this abdication-“lite”, or even full-blown abdication, would not mean an end to the monarchy, with support for the institution so closely linked with Queen Elizabeth II’s popularity, could Britain be on track for becoming a republican state? And if so, what sort of republic could emerge?
One option for post-monarchy Britain could be to pass the role of head of state to the prime minister, making she or he a minister-president. In reality, many of the monarchy’s powers are conducted by the PM anyway, and this move could formalise the shift and grant Minister-President May – or whoever succeeds her – the role of head of state, as well as government.
With British political history dominated by evolution rather than revolution, this could be a likely option when the time comes.
Presidential executive model
Then again, support could emerge for a radical replacement for the monarchy. The UK could take a leaf out of the US’s playbook and create a president with sweeping executive powers, checked by the House of Commons. If the UK went down this route, the House of Lords could be abolished and replaced with a Senate of the Nations and Regions.
Such a solution could retain the ceremonial pomp that many Brits seem to love about the monarchy while having the added bonus of democratic legitimacy.
The low-key president
An third-way could be to have a directly elected president with limited or no powers - someone who could perform the ceremonial duties required by a head of state while rising above partisan politics in times when neutrality is required.
Despite the UK's Brexit, this option would bring us more in line with some of our closest European neighbours.