Major bookmaker Coral has suspended betting on a shock abdication announcement by Queen Elizabeth II in her traditional Christmas message.

The surprise move came following a flurry of interest in the scenario which saw a "handful" of bets placed, of no more than £200.

It certainly would be unexpected by Her Majesty, who is known to consider her vows to reign all as a solemn duty - meaning no quitting the throne early.

Despite that, the bookmaker is taking seriously the sudden interest, in the belief there is "no smoke without fire."

Odds of 10/1 were being offered on the Queen using her traditional Christmas Day broadcast to announce abdication.

"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."