Days of uncertainty surrounding the Queen’s well being haven’t been helped by a brand new picture which exhibits her “fragile” state.
The British nationwide anthem, God Save The Queen, contains the lyrics “Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us.”
Her Majesty could very effectively nonetheless be “happy and glorious” however by no means earlier than in Queen Elizabeth’s 69-year reign has there ever been such a pronounced, pressing query mark over these final 5 phrases, as a result of the query in the present day is, simply how for much longer will the unflagging monarch “reign over us”?
For the previous eight days, Buckingham Palace has been contending with Her Majesty’s biggest health crisis in decades (if ever) with the 95-year-old first pulling out of a deliberate, transient journey to Northern Ireland, earlier than being secretly hospitalised for unspecified testing, earlier than skipping her common attendance at Sunday church (she’s positively spiritual about going) after which yesterday, announcing she would not be attending next week’s gathering of worldwide world leaders for COP26 in particular person. (She will probably be delivering her scheduled remarks by way of video as an alternative.)
This all comes after the Queen was seen utilizing a strolling stick in public for the primary time in 17 years and after it was revealed she had agreed to surrender her nightly gin martini for the sake of her wellbeing.
In brief: Things aren’t trying nice.
Then, as if the Queen-loving public didn’t have sufficient to stress about, Buckingham Palace launched a series of images via social media yesterday displaying Her Majesty at Windsor Castle welcoming the brand new ambassadors from South Korea and Switzerland by way of video name. The purpose was clear: Look! She’s again at work! In pearls! Everything’s FINE! Another piece of shortbread, anybody?
However, one of many photographs solely served to spotlight her fragile state much more as a result of there, on her forearm, is what appears to be like like a big bruise.
It is true, older folks are inclined to have thinner pores and skin and bruise simply. There is also the chance it might be a bruise from having a cannula throughout her current hospital keep.
But seeing such a visual reminder of the Queen’s advancing years has carried out nothing to quell the rising tide of rising public concern over her well being. (Why the dickens didn’t they put her in an extended sleeve outfit?)
In the better scheme of issues, the bruise is a comparatively minor fear, however coming after her first in a single day hospital keep in eight years and with whole thriller nonetheless surrounding what would possibly particularly be ailing the sovereign, this new picture has carried out nothing to dampen nervousness about simply how extreme this present disaster is likely to be.
While Prince Charles, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are all nonetheless set to descend on COP26 in Glasgow within the coming days to current a united royal entrance with reference to local weather change, the Queen’s subsequent scheduled public outing will probably be on November 14 for Remembrance Day.
Her Majesty has solely ever missed the wreath laying on the Cenotaph on six events throughout her reign – when she was abroad on official excursions and when she was pregnant together with her sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. In 2017, she transitioned from participating within the ceremony to watching from the balcony of the close by Foreign and Commonwealth Office. That identical 12 months, she was seen wiping away a tear.
If in simply over two weeks the Queen fails to take her place alongside Camilla, Kate and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex on the balcony to look at the service, alarm bells will begin to ring very, very loudly.
Through her almost seven-decade reign, Her Majesty has displayed unstinting assist for the armed companies and veterans. Nothing wanting a critical well being situation would forestall her from displaying her gratitude and thanks for individuals who paid the final word worth.
If she have been to not attend on that Sunday, it might be the primary very clear signal that issues are a lot worse than the palace has been letting on.
While the world stays completely at the hours of darkness about what could or will not be the reason for her present well being woes, the palace is certain to be making an attempt to forestall the Queen lacking Remembrance Day in any respect prices, as it might be assured to set off very actual panic in regards to the state of her well being.
Another trigger to spark concern
The different signal that issues are literally dire could be if Prince Harry returned to the UK. The renegade royal has solely twice stepped foot on UK soil since he and spouse Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex ditched London in a huff 22 months in the past.
First the Prince returned for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral in April earlier than making a really transient sprint again to Blighty in late June for the revealing of the long-awaited statue he and brother William had beforehand commissioned of Diana, Princess of Wales for the Kensington Palace backyard.
On each events, the 37-year-old made solely the briefest of journeys, hightailing it again to California inside a matter of days.
However, Harry has additionally repeatedly spoken with nice affection about his grandmother, revealing this 12 months she despatched the Sussexes a waffle-maker for Christmas and that she enjoys video calls together with her great-grandson Archie. (She can also be reported to have met her namesake great-granddaughter Lilibet by way of video name too.)
The Duke of Sussex is likely to be many issues, however he’s unabashedly a loyal grandchild.
At current, there aren’t any reported plans for Harry to return to his homeland, so if, within the coming weeks or months, he boards a Britain-bound flight, that may be one other trip-wire and would sign the household’s very actual fears for Her Majesty.
Hopefully, this present storm will move and the transient chapter may be merely filed underneath the Medical Household (which is a part of the Royal Household) appearing with an overabundance of warning, as effectively they need to.
Palace unprepared for lingering sickness
However, we’re removed from being out of the woods but.
Even if Her Majesty does emerge on the opposite aspect of this together with her signature jewels in place and able to get again to the enterprise of ruling, this episode has uncovered how unprepared the palace is for a future the place her well being is in public decline.
Sure, the planning for her loss of life and funeral is now many years outdated however that intensive preparation doesn’t bear in mind if her passing is preceded by a number of years of Her Majesty experiencing illness or her well being deteriorating.
What is crucial for courtiers – and which has to this point proved fully elusive – is to have the ability to strike a stability between providing her the privateness and dignity any human deserves in such a second and the accountability that comes with being a head of state. Part of that remit contains projecting stability and continuity, one thing that in the present day appears a shakier prospect.
(Also, the royal household merely can not afford, for a second, to be seen as being something lower than truthful with the general public, particularly after the palace was caught out overlaying up her hospital keep.)
There can also be the difficulty right here that ought to the Queen undergo a long-term sickness sooner or later, that may very doubtless overshadow no matter else the remainder of the royal household was diligently getting as much as.
This situation would additionally imply years of the press and public concerned in probably the most macabre spectator sport possible, watching from afar because the ravages of age take their toll on Her Majesty.
The 12 months the Queen Mother turned 101 and regardless of needing two strolling sticks to get round, she went to Chelsea Flower Show, insisted on going to Ascot, attended the opening of the Field of Remembrance exterior Westminster Abbey earlier than attending the Remembrance Sunday ceremony two days later, and the identical month, carried out what could be her closing public engagement, recommissioning the plane service Ark Royal at a ceremony in Portsmouth.
Several months after that, she handed away peacefully in her sleep.
Here’s hoping that the Queen would comply with in her mom’s indomitable footsteps.
Daniela Elser is a royal professional and a author with greater than 15 years expertise working with various Australia’s main media titles.