Queen Elizabeth II Christmas Abdication Bets Suspended

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A U.K. bookmaker has stopped taking bets on Queen Elizabeth II abdicating the British throne during her annual Christmas speech after several unusual wagers today.

Several people put money at 10-1 odds this morning with Coral bookmakers that the 88-year-old monarch will quit before the company blocked wagers. The odds mean a successful $1 bet returns $10 plus the original stake.

“This morning, we noticed a number of bets which set alarm bells ringing,” John Hill, a Coral spokesman, said by phone.

About 15 bets -- all around 200 pounds ($315) each -- were placed within an hour, which is unusual, Hill said.

Buckingham Palace officials wouldn’t comment on Coral’s action. The Queen took over in 1952 upon the death of her father, King George VI.

“We always remind people about the Queen’s pledge to the nation and to the Commonwealth that she made on her 21st birthday in 1947, when she pledged that whether her life be long or short, her entire life would in the service of the nation,” said David Pogson, a Buckingham Palace spokesman.

The British monarch usually pre-records her Christmas Day speech before spending the day on her Sandringham estate in the east of England.

Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is 66 years old.

In February 2013, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced her abdication in a three-minute televised speech to the nation shortly before her 75th birthday. She told viewers she wanted to make way for a younger generation after a 33-year reign. Willem-Alexander, her eldest son, was crowned king three months later at the age of 45. Now known as Princess Beatrix, the former monarch is still active in public life.

In June, Spanish King Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son, Felipe, after 39 years on the throne.