Don’t follow a Queen

Edward VII was 59 when he ascended the throne, and Prince Charles is already 71. As Wikipedia puts it, he is “the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history”.

I’ve realized that three different effects conspire to make it particularly unfortunate to succeed a Queen — a perfect storm of actuarial bad luck. First, of course, women live longer than men (Victoria to 81, Elizabeth to 93 so far). Second, women marry younger than men (Victoria was 20, Elizabeth 21).

Now these two effects apply to all of us, making our mothers last a decade longer than our fathers. But there’s a third factor that hits royals especially. If you are the Queen, or destined to be crowned as such, don’t imagine you can spend a few years after the wedding working on the relationship! No, the babies must come immediately. Edward arrived 12 months into the marriage, and Charles 21.  Their mothers were practically teenagers.

[8 February 2020]

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