The Mail has reported that "palace sources" say the Queen is preparing to eventually pass her duties on to Charles. What could happen if she abdicated?
In the unpredictable world of modern politics, here are seven scenarios, which could play out should the Queen step down.
1. Charles takes the crown, with William taking it in the long-run
This is probably the most likely of scenarios, as it is what is meant to happen in terms of the line of succession.
In this scenario, following the Queen’s departure, Charles would reign before eventually passing away or abdicating, something that would pave the way for William to take the crown.
2. William takes over immediately
Such a scenario would be unprecedented, and go against the line of succession, yet a recent ICM poll indicates that 51% of Brits want William to take over from the Queen, according to Britain Elects. Just 22% said the rightful heir should become King while 11% said Harry. A further 14% said no one.
While the chances of this are small, there could be a prevailing view that the future of the monarchy would be better in the more popular William’s hands.
3. Immediate demand for a republic
In this scenario, there could be recognition that things would never be as good for the monarchy again. The government could decide that the Queen should be the last monarch, allowing the monarchy to end on a high rather than struggle and wither away over time.
A referendum could even be held on the issue.
4. Charles takes over and demand grows for a republic
In this scenario, Prince Charles would become King, but trouble could soon grow. Charles is clearly not as popular as the Queen or even his son William as the above poll illustrates, but this could result in a tanking approval rating for the monarchy as a whole.
Having waited so long for the top royal job, King Charles could cling on to power, and further damage the monarchy itself.
With this growing disapproval for the monarchy, Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn could seize on the opportunity to hold a referendum on the monarchy's future.
King Charles could well become Britian’s last monarch.
5. Charles takes over and demand grows for a republic, but William rebuilds trust
In a similar scenario to the previous one, Charles would take over and the monarchy’s approval ratings would sink. But instead of clinging on to power, Charles would pass the crown on to William who could rebuild trust in the institution.
The monarchy would live to fight another day.
6. Charles takes over and demand grows for a republic, and King William struggles to save the monarchy
Like the previous scenario, Charles would pass the crown on to William, but by then the damage would be too late.
Two unpopular Kings in a row, followed by the greatly approved of Queen Elizabeth II, could finish off the monarchy for good.
7. The return of the Queen
After seeing how poor Charles performs as monarch, the Queen could – if constitutional provisions were made – return as monarch.
Long live the Queen?