Bookmakers Coral has suspended betting on whether the Queen will announce her abdication in her Christmas Day broadcast after a number of “unusual” bets were placed today.
A spokesman told City A.M a handful of different bets had been made within half an hour of each other – prompting the team to question whether there had been a leak from Buckingham Palace.
Coral had been offering 10-1 odds on the Queen announcing her abdication during the Christmas Day speech, but given how obscure and specific the market was, the bookie had not received any bets on it “for months” he said.
“It's a big coincidence to have two people within half an hour.”
He noted that there had been a similar pattern to betting around the Duchess of Cambridge – nee Kate Middleton's - first and second pregnancies. “Betting on the Royal Family is very popular, but they do have their leaks.”
“It could be smoke with no fire – could be a couple of people chancing it – but someone might have heard a whisper,” he said. One of the bets was placed in a central London shop while the second was made online.
The last time was January, when a £200 bet was placed. Coral also suspended betting at that point.
“Throughout the year there has been major speculation about the Queen’s future but today’s gamble has really caught us by surprise,” said Coral’s Nicola McGeady.
“As far as we are concerned there’s no smoke without fire when bets like this come through all in succession, so we have decided to be safe rather than sorry and pull the plug on the market,” added McGeady.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment.
There has been much debate about whether the Queen could abdicate, but on her 21st birthday in 1947 she gave a speech in which she said: "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."