Palace insiders have today told the Royalist that there is no chance of the Queen abdicating on Christmas Day, but big British bookmaker Coral has said it will not take any further bets on the chance of the Queen announcing her abdication in her annual Christmas message, following a rash of suspicious bets and 'specific enquiries' which it suspects may have been placed by individuals with insider knowledge.
The speech to the nation, which concludes Christmas dinner at homes up and down the country, has already been recorded.
Nicola McGeady, a spokesman for Coral, told the Daily Beast: "Throughout the year there has been major speculation about the Queen’s future but today’s gamble has really caught us by surprise. As far as we are concerned there’s no smoke without fire when bets like this come through all in succession, so we have decided to be safe rather than sorry and pull the plug on the market."
The kerfuffle began with a £200 bet, followed by several smaller bets in quick succession.
A palace insider however insisted to the Daily Beast today that the Queen was not about to abdicate.
“The Queen dedicated herself to 'a life of service' whether that would be 'long or short' when she made her 21st birthday speech in South Africa,” a senior courtier – who refuses to even utter the word ‘abdication’ - told the Daily Beast today, “The word ‘life’ is the important bit. We don't comment on what bookmakers do."
However, Coral reportedly stopped taking bets after an "unusual" rash of wagers which "instantly set alarm bells ringing", according to the Telegraph.
It had offered odds of 10-1 on the Queen abdicating during the Christmas message.
In the UK, abdication is associated in the national consciousness with the darkest days of the monarchy, the abdication crisis in 1936.
Edward VIII had fallen in love with the American divorcee Wallis Simpson and was determined to marry her, but was barred from doing so by the establishment on the somewhat spurious grounds that as a divorcee she could not marry within the Church of England.
Edward VIII (Real name: David) lost the argument, renounced the throne and his brother, George VI (real name: Albert, nickname Bertie, as in the movie The King’s Speech) took over.
Fortunately George VI was an inspiring and much-loved wartime king and immensely popular, as was his wife, the Queen Mother, and the existential threat to the monarchy passed. But Bertie died young, meaning that our present Queen Elizabeth came to the throne at the tender age of 25.
Where she has remained ever since.
And, apparently, intends to remain for a good bit more.