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Juan Carlos's abdication won't influence Queen Elizabeth's thinking

By Laura Elston

The abdication of the King of Spain will not have any bearing on the Queen, who will stand by her promise to serve as monarch for the rest of her life, a royal historian has predicted.

Hugo Vickers said that unlike King Juan Carlos, who is in poor health and has faced a slump in his popularity, the Queen, who is 88, is "firing on all cylinders".

He said: "The Queen is not likely to abdicate.

"We know from various biographies that she was pretty irritated when Queen Juliana of the Netherlands – Queen Beatrix's mother – abdicated in the 1980s, because monarchs shouldn't abdicate.

"Abdication put her father on the throne, so abdication is a pretty unpopular word within the Queen's household."

In a nationwide address, the king told Spaniards that he first started thinking seriously about giving up the throne when he turned 76 in January.

He said that the 46-year-old Crown Prince Felipe is ready for the post and will "open a new era of hope combining his acquired experience and the drive of a new generation".

Despite the abdication of his European cousin, the Prince of Wales looked delighted and beamed as he met schoolchildren in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire yesterday.

Charles was touring the Royal Shakespeare Company, where young thespians gave a rendition of Henry IV Part One – in which King Henry has problems with his son and heir, the Prince of Wales.

Mr Vickers said there were unlikely to be calls for the Queen – who was crowned 61 years ago yesterday – to do the same and she seemed to enjoy the experience of her Diamond Jubilee.

"The Queen will not abdicate because she is a consecrated monarch and she pledged to serve throughout her life. She doesn't have to abdicate – if anything goes wrong, she can have a regency like George III," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, the Queen is firing on all cylinders.

"The King of Spain looked dreadful at the Popes' canonisation and was walking with a stick. There's been a lot of drama in his family. It's not a happy situation.

"Recently he's lost a lot of respect and his health has been poor. But as for the Queen, today she's got a garden party, then the next day the State opening of Parliament, and then she's got a State visit to France."

He added: "The Queen Mother thrived on it until she was 101."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "It's a matter for the king and the people of Spain."

The King of Spain is the second European monarch to abdicate in just over a year.

Following her mother's example, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands handed the throne to her son Prince Willem-Alexander after 33 years in April last year.

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