As she prepares to mark a major milestone as Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has also been voted one of the greatest monarchs the country has ever had.
A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times has given her a resounding lead of 27 per cent, more than the combined score of Elizabeth I on 13 per cent and great great grandmother Victoria on 12 per cent.
The 89-year-old Queen made her annual appearance at the Braemar games in the Highlands yesterday, marking a tradition established by Queen Victoria in 1848.
On Wednesday she is expected to make a rare public speech when she will overtake Victoria’s record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne.
The Queen has given no indication that she would abdicate in the event of ill health, yet 50 per cent of her subjects believe she should retire if she becomes too ill regularly to carry out royal duties or appear in public.
The newspaper’s poll shows a drop since January, from 46 per cent to 38 per cent, in those who believe she should stay on the throne in such circumstances, even if it becomes necessary for other members of the royal family to carry out some of her official duties.
Most of those with an opinion are also prepared to entrust her son Charles, the Prince of Wales, with the role of Prince Regent, with 43 per cent in favour and 33 per cent against.
However, only 16 per cent want his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, to become Queen Camilla if Charles becomes King, while the largest group, 38 per cent, want her to have the title Princess Consort.
Support for the monarchy was strongest among people aged 60 and older, with 40 per cent believing the monarchy has become more popular during the Queen’s reign.
Conservative voters were most likely to say she was the greatest-ever monarch (39 per cent), with Labour voters least impressed (21 per cent).
Having originally intended to spend Wednesday in private, the Queen will now break her holiday at Balmoral to open the new Borders Railway.