Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex (R) and Princess Anne (2nd L) watch as Queen Elizabeth cuts a Women's Institute Celebrating 100 Years cake, at the centenary annual meeting of The National Federation Of Women's Institute, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain June 4, 2015. Reuters

Queen Elizabeth was expected to miss church services Sunday as she continued to battle a heavy cold that has kept her indoors for weeks. Her illness has sparked questions about whether she might step down from the throne or if her illness might be more serious than Buckingham Palace has told the public.

Queen Elizabeth has been sick since before Christmas. Her cold saw her miss church services on Christmas Day and New Year's Day for the first time in decades. A palace statement last week said: “The Queen does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold.”

Her eventual death is expected to stroke debate about the future of the monarchy, but apart from the public ramifications associated with the passing of the queen, Elizabeth is also the mother of four children and has an extensive extended family whose lives are also expected to change in the event of her death or abdication.

Queen Elizabeth's only daughter, Princess Anne, said this week her mother was feeling "better," while Buckingham Palace declined to comment on whether the 90-year-old royal would attend Sunday church services.

Elizabeth never expected to become queen as a child. But after her uncle, Edward VIII, turned down the crown in 1936, her father became king, setting her on the path toward the throne. Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, in November 1947, and they quickly began a family. Within three years of their wedding, Elizabeth gave birth to Charles and Anne. She later had Andrew and Edward as queen.

She became the queen with her father's passing in 1952, requiring her to go on a six-month coronation tour that saw her leave her children at home. A public debate over whether she was a good queen and mother soon began in the British tabloids as nannies took care of the children.

“A lot was made of the fact that when she greeted her children she shook hands with them and said ‘not now’, which she was doing in her public persona as queen because she had to greet all these people who had come to meet them," Sally Bedell Smith, author of "Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind the Throne," has said.

Her children have hinted that she was a tough mother. “She’s been a fantastic grandmother to Beatrice and Eugenie and probably revels in that more than being a mother, to some extent, always interested and concerned for what the girls are up to,” Prince Andrew has said of his mother's relationship with his daughters.

Others have argued that Elizabeth was a doting mother who simply had the tough task of balancing her parental duties and the demand of the crown. "It simply isn't true that she neglected Prince Charles," Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, a royal lady-in-waiting, has said. "People of my background did have nannies, but I stayed at Sandringham a lot during those early years, and she wasn't at all chilly with him. She used to come to picnics where he was the center of attention - she adored him. The idea of her being a cool mother is nonsense."

Now that Elizabeth's children are grown, only one is slated to take the throne. Prince Charles is her oldest son and first in line to take the crown. He had two sons, William and Harry, with Diana, princess of Wales.

If Charles couldn't take the throne for whatever reason, his sibling aren't next in line. William, Charles' oldest child, would then become king with his wife, Kate Middleton, by his side. Their son, Prince George of Cambridge, is third in line for the throne.

Prince Andrew was the third child of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh and the first royal baby born to a reigning monarch in 103 years. Prince Edward is known as the Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn. He married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and had two children, Lady Louise, born in 2003 and James, Viscount Severn, born in 2007. Princess Anne's title is the Princess Royal. She uses the surname Mountbatten-Windsor and was married twice.