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King Charles III stepping down could become a reality if the monach can’t live up to his royal duties. Charles became the king of the United Kingdom upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022. However, if Charles could not perform his royal duties, and the legislative body of the British government stepped in, another royal family member could take his place. What are the reasons why Parliament could force Charles to step down?

King Charles III pictured when he was Prince Charles at the opening of Parliment in 2019.
King Charles III | Alastair Grant – WPA Pool/Getty Images

King Charles stepping down? How Parliament could force King Charles to step down

According to the royal family’s website, succession is multi-layered. Therefore, Charles is now king, which places his son William first in line for the throne, followed by his children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Then, his brother, Charles’s second son Prince Harry, is followed by Harry’s children, Archie and Lilbet.

For centuries, royal succession was determined by household rank. However, this changed with the rule of King James II, who fled the country in 1688. Parliament decided that he abdicated, leaving the throne vacant.

Instead of his son, Parliament determined James II’s daughter Mary and her husband William would ascend to the throne as joint rulers. The ruling body decided that not only does the sovereign rule through Parliament, but Parliament can regulate the royal succession.

A ruler can lose their title through misgovernment. Therefore, the Act of Settlement confirmed that it was for Parliament to determine the title to the throne as reported by the royal family’s official website.

King Charles couldn’t just leave his royal position

Queen Elizabeth and then Prince Charles in 2019 at the opening of Parliment.
Queen Elizabeth and then-Prince Charles in 2019 | Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Charles is the oldest king in the history of the United Kingdom. Per the Regency Act, if King Charles were physically incapacitated, meaning he could no longer speak or move, Prince William would become regent.

Abdication is another method of leaving the throne. Until King Edward VIII, the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, no British monarch in history had ever abdicated voluntarily. However, if Charles ever decided to go that route, he couldn’t choose to resign by himself.

To make it official, he would need the U.K. Parliament to pass an Act of Abdication. Then, Parliament takes over the line of succession if the next person is deemed unfit to rule. William would become king if Charles stepped down, and his oldest son, Prince George, would inherit the Duchy of Cornwall.

Will King Charles abdicate for Prince William?

Charles spent 64 years as the Prince of Wales, standing next in line as his mother served as queen of the United Kingdom. Speculation often swirled that Elizabeth would step aside and let Charles take the throne while she was still alive. Of course, that never happened — but could Charles choose to take that path?

Royal expert and biographer Phil Dampier suggested that Charles stepping down within 10 years is a possibility. The king’s health or perception of the monarchy could motivate him to turn the throne over to his son William.

On the other hand, Charles spent nearly his entire life waiting for the chance to be king. He may see it fitting to follow in his mother’s footsteps and serve his role as monarch until the end.