King Charles’ Abdication Backed by Americans

Most Americans would support King Charles III abdicating the throne in the event his health got worse, polling for Newsweek has revealed.

The monarch, 75, was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment on February 5, returning to public duties for the first time on Wednesday, February 21, when he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for a face-to-face meeting at Buckingham Palace.

Sunak has previously revealed doctors caught the cancer early, during a separate procedure for an enlarged prostate. The palace would not confirm the type of cancer but said it was not prostate.

King Charles III and Prince William are seen a composite image made from photographs of the king’s coronation, in May 2023. Most Americans would support the king abdicating if his health worsened.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images/Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage
On behalf of Newsweek, Redfield & Wilton asked Americans how they would feel about King Charles abdicating the throne if his medical situation worsened.

Such a move would leave Prince William succeeding his father as Britain’s new king, making Kate Middleton his queen consort.

And 51 percent of a representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adults said they would support Charles stepping down, while only three percent would oppose his early retirement.

YouGov regularly posed a similar question to British adults about Queen Elizabeth II: “In the event that the Queen were to become too ill to regularly carry out royal duties or appear in public, then do you think she should remain monarch, or should she retire and let the throne pass to her heirs?”

Between 2019 and 2022, the public regularly indicated a desire for the queen to remain monarch even if it meant other royal family members carrying out some of her duties.

By the final months of her life, when this hypothetical question had started to become a reality, 55 percent of Brits felt she should remain queen, compared to 32 percent who felt she should stand down.

YouGov phrased its question slightly differently to Redfield & Wilton and different polling agencies sometimes operate different methodologies.

However, Americans appear to have a somewhat different view of the question of abdication in relation to King Charles than Brits did in relation to the queen.

Charles might find abdication a difficult path to walk down having spent 70 years as the next in line to the throne and only become king in September 2022.

He is yet to reach the one-year anniversary of his coronation and his face will only be on bank notes from June 5.

Yet already he has been on restricted duties, with public engagements cancelled or postponed what will have been a major blow.

The king has continued with his state duties, many of which can be performed without appearing in public. These include, for example, giving “royal assent” or rubber stamping new Acts of Parliament.

However, he has not been visiting the charities and causes that he has worked to promote as he rests on doctors orders.

One major event that will likely test his capacity to return to work will be his official birthday parade, Trooping the Colour, which takes place in June.

Another will be the state opening of Parliament, which forms part of his constitutional function, and will take place after an upcoming general election, expected in the Fall, though some believe a spring election may also be possible.

Jack Royston is Newsweek’s chief royal correspondent based in London. You can find him on X, formerly Twitter, at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Uncommon Knowledge Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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