Is Queen Elizabeth really planning to retire in two years?

Rumors that Queen Elizabeth will step down and allow her heir, Prince Charles, to take over her royal duties have been swirling for years. While the Queen is still in good health, Prince Charles has stood in for her on more than one occasion, seemingly confirming the rumors that she has plans to step back and let her oldest son take over. 

Is there any truth to the rumor, though, or is it more royal gossip? Some think that Queen Elizabeth is holding out until her 95th birthday, which is in 18 months. According to The Sun, her husband, Prince Philip, withdrew from the public at that age.

Buckingham Palace denied the rumors that Queen Elizabeth plans to retire

It's true that Queen Elizabeth has been pulling back lately. In 2016, she completed 332 public engagements. In 2018, that number was down to 283, while Prince Charles completed 507. Many think that by 2021, she will have withdrawn entirely, letting Prince Charles step up and rule as king — in all but name. 

Buckingham Palace has been quick to shoot down the rumor, though. A senior royal aide recently told Vanity Fair, "There is no sign of any hand over or retirement." 

A spokesperson for Prince Charles said, "There are no plans for a transition of responsibilities at age 95 or any other age."

Prince Charles' biographer said he will soon be named Prince Regent

On the contrary, according to Prince Charles' biographer, Robert Jobson, Queen Elizabeth does have plans to transition power after her 95th birthday. Jobson said she plans to name Prince Charles as Prince Regent, leaving him in control of the running of the monarchy while she still remains the official monarch. 

"It is the Queen's intention is to hand over to Charles when she turns 95," said Jobson. "We are in a period of transition at the moment and it is my understanding the Queen wants to hand the regency over to Charles and in doing so, give him all the executive powers of the monarch. She will retain the title of Queen, she's not abdicating, but there is enough scope within the Regency Act for her to step down should she wish to. We are talking regency not an abdication."

Jobson added, "The most important thing is to maintain the strength and integrity of the institution. If she feels her advancing age is in any way weakening the institution, then she would bring about change."