Queen Elizabeth II is the
second-longest reigning monarch in British history, but after more than six
decades, she is stepping back and handing over some royal duties to the next-in-line to the throne.
It's a change in the way that the royal business is run to reflect the long understood reality:
The queen is 87 years old. She's been delegating more and more of her duties to other royals -- especially Prince Charles. And now, his people are beginning to take on more of the responsibility of running of things.
The queen has been winding down her public duties for several years. There are no known major health issues, but after 62 years on the job, 161 foreign visits and uncountable domestic appearances, there are a lot of miles on those royal tires.
Now it's expected that the royal administrative arrangements will reflect how things really are. Instead of the queen and Prince Charles having separate public relations staffs, the palace's powerful PR operation will be merged. One firm, one centralized group of image-makers, although the palace insists the queen is still the queen.
Roya Nikkhah, a royal commentator, said, "If anyone is driving this forward, it will be the queen being realistic about what she is and isn't able to do at the age 88. I think Charles knows that he has to step up. The junior members of the royal family know they have to step up, too."
How that works will be evident next June at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, when both Charles and his mother will attend. Going alone would be too much for her.
Nikkhah said, "There are seven, or eight engagements that day. She is not able to do all of those herself and travel. She is just being realistic."
But look carefully at Buckingham Palace -- there is no "situation vacant" sign hanging out here, Mark Phillips added on "CBS This Morning. Queen Elizabeth is not retiring -- not even semi-retiring. She's a thoroughly modern monarch -- she's delegating.