Long live the King!

Prince George


Exciting news, we’re going to have another King George, the 7th in fact.  I have to admit I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t call him Arthur, Arthur Lancelot to be precise, but then King George is a good solid “King” name so on balance I’m happy and naming our King after Graham Chapman was always going to be a long shot if I’m honest.

As expected the press has gone into a heightened frenzy of activity, commenting and speculating over what little Prince George’s life will have in store for him. Most of what I have read involves lovely, super stuff including not having to worry about money, a house (or two) over one’s head, or being able to pay off his student loan or save for a pension, not that he would even need it.  Sounds like he has the advantage on a lot of things, or does he?

Well not when it comes to one’s retirement age it appears.

According to the DWP State Pension Age Calculator (which is very good – and worth a try to work out your own state pension age if you haven’t already https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension) Prince George of Cambridge’s state pension age is expected, under current legislation, to be on 22 July 2081, his 68th birthday.

The issue however is that, like many of us, he won’t be retiring then, or even ever.  According to my actuarial calculations (details below including my HUGE actuarial caveat for those who are interested*), he probably won’t even START WORK as King until he’s at least 64, and there will be absolutely no retirement at 68 or even 78 for King George VII.  The reality is that he will probably have at least another 30 years ahead of him at 68 in quite a demanding main role and will almost certainly have to work for most of his life.  So with this he is like a lot of us.  We’re all equal, and by having to work hard in return for his lifestyle, however different it may be to ours, he can expect no more than any other baby born this week, no matter how privileged.

*Here’s the maths and I have to be very, very careful what I say here.  Other life expectancy calculations for Royals are available (see here for a particularly interesting take on matters  http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/07/date-when-according-math-royal-baby-will-be-king-or-queen/67447/ ) and I can absolutely guarantee that none of the assumptions below are likely to be borne out in practise. Anyway, here goes…

1. The average 31 year old (William) can be expected to live to around 83 – based on a normal actuarial mortality table for an average person.

2. Now, I don’t know much about William but I can see that he is:

a. not very average 

b. from a family that appear to have a strong genetic tendency to live longer than average (Queen Mum, Queen etc)

c. is living in what I would describe as a “nice area” – one of the proxies actuaries use to assess longevity; and

 d. looks like a pretty active and healthy chap who knows a bit about what is good for him, and appears to exercise some moderation with regards to the stuff that’s not so good (beer, fags, trips to Las Vegas etc etc). 

3. So given all of the above I would expect him to live longer than average and so have given him a very (un)scientific weighting of around +12 years which gives an estimated life expectancy of 95 years. 

4. Based on the above, and that William is currently aged 31, George VII could be expected to ascend to the throne in around 64 years time.


Important actuarial comment:  I actually consider this to be quite prudent and it is very likely that William will live much longer than this but it’s a reasonable starting point for the purpose of this article (primarily about Prince George’s state pension age, and I do genuinely wish William a much longer life expectancy than 95 and hope that it is he who sends me a telegram in 2076 to wish me Happy Birthday, not his son (gosh it’s tough being an actuary but someone has to do it).