Cancelling her trip to Northern Ireland, using a stick and giving up her nightly tipple – Queen Elizabeth’s minor wobbles paint a worrying picture, writes Royal commentator and author Robert Jobson
Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
One of the reasons Prince Philip stepped back from royal duties at 96 was because he didn’t want the Palace putting out daily bulletins about the state of his health if he didn’t feel up to doing an engagement on a particular day.
He couldn’t stand all the brouhaha that went with updates about his health and rightly found it “bloody intrusive”. Eventually, he felt he has done his bit as the Queen’s consort and duly retired.
As monarch and head of state, Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t really have that option.
Her schedule has been tailored to take her great age into consideration. But nobody can account for daily changes in an elderly person’s physical health. One day they can feel great, the next dreadful.
Since emerging from lockdown and the death of her husband, the Queen has thrown herself into work and had a busy schedule.
This month since returning from her annual summer break in Balmoral, she seems to have been a constant presence in our newspapers and online.
We should not, therefore, be hugely surprised by the advice from her medical household that she should rest up for a few days.
Nor that she spent last night in hospital while ‘preliminary checks’ took place – her doctors have not gone into detail.
Buckingham Palace was forced to make a public statement when a planned two-day trip – to mark the centenary of partition in Northern Ireland – was cancelled.
The previous night the Queen attended a reception at Windsor Castle and looked sprightly and certainly not sickly.
Buckingham Palace also released video of her virtual audience with the new Governor-General of New Zealand.
At the Abbey she was pictured using a cane for the first time. The Palace said she was using it for her “comfort”.
This coupled with the fact that she has given up her favourite alcohol tipple – a strong early evening Martini – on doctors’ advice, has got some very commentators worried.
But London Bridge is NOT falling down and Her Majesty is in fine fettle, I am told.
She is determined to host world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow at the end of the month.
But these wobbles are an important reminder that despite saying “you’re as young as you feel”, Her Majesty is as old as her 95 years.
She is a robust lady, a dedicated lady, and a brilliant wise head of state.
She must, therefore, recognise, as her late husband did, that she is only human and she must pace herself going forward – for all our sakes.