Onlookers and well-wishers were left in a state of shock today while Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was addressing the crowd at a Southend gathering to celebrate her official birthday. At the end of her speech, she revealed that this was the perfect time to step down from the role and retire – she also added that the search for her successor has already begun.
The Queen was speaking at a small private event organised in her honour at the Cliffs Pavilion, and the Ministry of Royal Affairs released a statement shortly afterwards. It said: ‘Her Majesty chose to make this announcement in Southend On Sea because the town has a very special place in her heart – her family has been visiting the Essex coast for generation after generation. On the occasion of her 90th birthday, she feels that it is time to pass on the role to a younger candidate who understands the needs of a modern and multicultural Britain, and the Ministry of Royal Affairs has already started the recruitment process to hopefully appoint a new monarch by the beginning of September.’
Royal commentator Sir Humphrey Codgeworth spoke to our Chief Reporter earlier today, and he said: ‘I am completely shocked by this news, but Her Majesty was always the best person to say when it was the right time to retire. She will spend the foreseeable future indulging in her many hobbies and we wish her well.’
We asked Sir Humphrey for more details about the process to appoint a new monarch. He said: ‘The Ministry would have been preparing for this for a while now, and it could be a fascinating time for the British monarchy. With the recent election of London’s first Muslim mayor, a number of senior ministers have said that the monarchy could follow this initiative for our next King or Queen.’