Saturday, October 22, 2011

the age of elderly monarchs

i guess we can thank modern medical science that these days a monarchy means the passing of power from an elderly monarch to an also pretty old successor.  the monarchy is probably one of the oldest forms of government in the world. for most of that history the term "crown prince" would imply someone who was pretty young. that's not really true anymore. prince charles is 63. as far as i can tell his mother is in good health and isn't going anywhere soon. hell, the queen's mother lived to be 101. if queen elizabeth lives that long, charles will have to wait until he is 80 before he is king.

i'm not just talking about britain. the passing of saudi crown prince sultan bin abdul-aziz al saud at age 80, means that the next crown prince will probably be 78 year old nayef bin abdul-aziz al saud. the king of saudi arabia abdullah bin abdul-aziz al saud is 88. king adbullah ascended to the throne at 81, succeeding the 84 year old king fahd (although abdullah had acted as regent for the last 10 years of fahd's reign, after his debilitating stroke in 1995)

i guess the kings of morocco and jordan are fairly young (both are in their 40s, though king abdullah of jordan turns 50 in a few months). but i still think that medical science is dramatically reducing the odds that we will have many young kings.