While often seen as traditional, Queen Elizabeth II has always proven that even she can break from tradition when she chooses.
Is she planning to do so again in the most unexpected of ways - by retiring from the throne she has held for nearly 65 years?
Yes, according to a new report, the oldest-living, longest-serving monarch in history is on the verge of stepping down voluntarily.
“She has a sense of duty and planned to see it through to the end,” a senior courtier reportedly says, “but she has broken all the records."
"She has nothing left to prove.”
Her husband, Prince Philip, has already retired at 96, and her son Prince Charles, 69, has been ready to ascend to the throne for decades.
Robert Jobson, author of The Future Royal Family, says that these facts are weighing on her decision to finally pass the torch:
“I am told that when she reaches 95, she will step aside and use the Regency Act, which allows Prince Charles to take over in all but name.”
Royal commentator Phil Dampier added along similar lines: “She wants the changeover to be seamless and feels this is the best way."
"No one deserves a rest more than the queen.”
Elizabeth, 91, has not reached this conclusion lightly. She first came to the throne at 25, when she was a young, married mom of two.
Her uncle, Edward VIII, shockingly gave up the throne to to marry an American divorcee Wallis Simpson, transferring the British rule.
Elizabeth’s father, King George, then found himself in the unlikely position of monarch before it was passed down to her - also unexpectedly.
Says Jobson: "[Elizabeth] never intended to abdicate because her uncle’s abdication nearly brought the monarchy to an end in 1936."
Because of that, Dampier adds, “her life’s work has been the survival of the monarchy and the success of the Commonwealth.”
Through it all, she has persevered, though “the queen has had some ups and downs,” Dampier notes. “I’m sure she has some regrets.”
But now she feels things are in a good place.
Charles is remarried to Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William is married to Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry is set to wed Meghan Markle.
Given these stabilizing factors and individuals, “those who love her feel she deserves to enjoy some years of retirement,” says the courtier.
Dampier adds of her life's work: "She will be most proud that the monarchy has not only survived but is more popular than ever.”
While she’s still extraordinarily busy meeting diplomats from around the world, “doctors have advised her not to travel abroad any more.”
"No one dictates to the queen,” says the courtier, “but Prince Charles, Prince William, and senior aides have been nudging her majesty."
The queen has been quietly easing up on her official appearances, "slowly handing over jobs to Prince Charles," the courtier says.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have also taken trips on her behalf - it's been rumored that William and Kate will be King and Queen.
Despite the popularity of William and Kate, however, there is no evidence that Charles won't take over for his mother at long, long last.
“I have no doubt Charles will want the job and won’t hand it over to William,” says Dampier of the heir apparent.
“He has waited for it all his life and I also don’t think William wants to be king until absolutely necessary.”
Case in point? William and Kate are dedicated first and foremost to raising thei children, Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2.
Their third is on the way in April.
“I will fight for them to have a normal life,” William says of his kids. “I want to bring my children up in a happy, stable, and secure world.”
Whoever takes over when Queen Elizabeth retires, “no one can say she hasn’t done all that she could,” says the courtier.
Agreed. We just hope for the sake of her continued good health that she hasn't yet laid eyes on the gallery below.