Days after she was too ill to attend the official opening of Parliament, the Queen is out and the photos expose her ‘cunning’ plan.
And… she’s back! Smile! The pink lipstick! Fundamentally superglued pearls! Her Majesty The Queen, after the mysterious mobility issues, wheelchair claims, eleventh hour cancellations, cryptic statements and heart ruckus is BACK!
Fridays (UK time) she made an unexpected appearance at the Royal Windsor Horse Show putting on a positively jubilant display, laughing, chatting and looking much more lively than she has in years.
Then, early Monday morning, the 96-year-old arrived at the closing night of A Gallop Through History, an equine extravaganza staged by the show and co-starring Helen Mirren and Tom Cruise, positively beaming .
Dressed in a pale blue embroidered dress and gray cape, she received a standing ovation from the crowd as she made her way to her seat. Again, she looked positively thrilled to be out of her castle and having a night out.
Image editors and photo agencies around the world must be positively confused right now: the world hasn’t seen such a preponderance of photos of the queen so cheerful and bubbly in years and years.
Because all of this comes days after things looked so dire, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if Prince Charles had cleared his schedule devote a morning to practice wearing the Imperial State Crown.
Last week it was announced that for the first time in almost 60 years the Queen would not attend the official opening of Parliament, due to health reasons, officially replacing Charles to read his speech while Prince William, aided by walking behind his father. (That royal game, hard right?)
Both men looked so grim that royal watchers clutched their pearls (it’s the uniform you see) with the general impression that things it must be really really bad back to Windsor Castle.
And yet days after the state opened, the Queen looked as fair as rain and delighted as punch, beaming positively as she chatted long enough with the racehorse trainer at the retired, Henrietta Knight, and later joked with Colin Brooks, chairman of the show’s committee.
(It is believed that unlike the official opening, she hasn’t missed a single Royal Windsor Horse Show in 79 years.)
So are we looking at a royal Lazarus? Have Oxford University boffins found a new wonder drug to pep up Her Majesty? Or was there something much more devious and cunning?
There is no doubt that King Charles III will be a less than popular ruler when he finally takes the throne. Take it for granted that the vast commemorative collection of coronation china pumped up by the Royal Collection Trust at some point in the future will gather dust on the shelves, right there with the series of pieces they produced to mark the marriage of Princess Eugenie in 2018 with Tequila Ambassador Jack Brooksbank (really).
A poll last week found that only 36% of Britons think Charles will make a good king, in stark contrast to the 80% who think the Queen has done a great job.
Given all of this, what’s a worried monarch – and mother – to do?
Enter “the master plan”.
This weekend, The temperature published a rather extraordinary report raising the possibility that the Queen may have called in sick for the official opening of parliament in order to give her royal recruit a son a try and in order to accustom the public at the idea of Charles in charge.
The piece, which was titled ‘The Queen used to resist succession – now she has a master plan’, reported that ‘Prince Charles’ replacement appearance at the Queen’s Speech was part of a dance carefully choreographed by the monarch herself”.
“Tuesday’s events were planned by the Queen, Charles and their aides to ‘soften the edges of the transition’ ahead of the Charles feature currently in production,” The temperature‘ Royal Editor Roya Nikkhah wrote.
“Make no mistake, that was the trailer,” a well-placed royal source told Nikkhah of Charles’ turn at the grand opening.
“The prince was dressed very royally, but not to the point of appropriating the sovereign. Once you adjust your eyes to that, it won’t be that different when we see him wearing the crown. Technically, it wasn’t even necessary to have him read the speech.
If so, color me impressed. Who knew His Majesty had such proto-Machiavellian tendencies?
The credibility of this planned theory is that on the two previous occasions when the Queen missed the official opening (during her pregnancies with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward), the Lord Chancellor had read her speeches.
Given how lore-bound the whole royal show is, it wouldn’t have been a surprise at all if she had insisted on training on that front. However, according to The temperature“A source close to the monarch confirms she was adamant that Charles, and not Dominic Raab, the Lord Chancellor, should deliver the speech.”
“Having it read to his heir was a very conscious decision on his part. It plays so much into cementing in people’s minds that his role is coming, have no doubt about that,” the same source said. well-placed royal.”Blink, and you couldn’t tell the difference between Tuesday and when he first read the speech as king.”
If the shrewd queen was in fact planning to have Charles under for her, even though she could have potentially been physically up to it, then well done. It was a smart and necessary decision.
When Her Majesty does, hopefully years from now, join the big race meeting in the sky, the psychic jolt for Britons and those of us in the Commonwealth is going to be seismic. For 64 million people in the UK, she is the only ruler they have ever known. (There are an estimated 3.2 million people over the age of 80 who might remember the reign of her father, King George VI.) More than any other monarch in British history, she represents certainty and continuity, an immutable element of the political landscape.
Not only to lose that, but to have his place then filled by his homeopathy enthusiast, hedgehog enthusiast of a tampon fanatic son, will make the transition from one reign to the next all the more shocking and painful.
Then there are the wider cultural changes at play. The monarchy could perhaps have continued to support and respect the Top Lady (as Diana, the Princess of Wales called her mother-in-law), but that will evaporate in the second his death is announced.
For proof, look no further than Johnny, 12, from Coventry, who this week told the Time: “All the royal family does is to be born. It’s just not very fair.
Likewise Seán, 16, from Warwick, who told the newspaper he thought the Royal Family had “overstayed their welcome”.
A poll earlier this month found that 60% of Britons still support keeping the institution of the monarchy, up from more than 75% a decade ago. (Currently, 27% want everything abolished, an increase of 2%).
With it barely time to start drawing up plans to decommission Buckingham Palace or turn Windsor Castle into the world’s most expensive Airbnb, all signs clearly point to very rough waters for the Windsor home. .
In this context, any move the Queen and Charles can make at this time to try and smooth the way for him would make perfect sense.
Because while Her Majesty’s lively and jubilant turn at the Windsor Horse Show might have been a joy to watch, her advanced years are clearly catching up with her. A walking stick is now an integral part of her ensemble when just two years ago she was able to ride her Fell ponies. When she arrived at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last week, she used a small lift to reach the platform where her seat was. There has also been speculation that she may be suffering from some sort of heart condition (unconfirmed of course).
The royals are no doubt watching the barrel of what will be a tectonic jolt when the doomed day inevitably comes and they pass away. What comes next and whether they can weather this once-in-a-century tumult is by no means guaranteed, especially when a generation of Johnnys and Seáns have sadly reached adulthood just as Charles takes over. .
Luckily, there’s one thing that hasn’t faded at all for Her Majesty, despite her age: her dry sense of humor.
During Monday’s horse show, TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh took to the stage and told the crowd: “For 70 years there has been a constant beating in the heart of this nation and that heart belongs to Her Majesty The Queen. which elicited enthusiastic applause and cheers. Immediately the cameras turned to the woman in question, who at first seemed evasive before shrugging and nodding, delivering the funniest two seconds of a royal performance in living memory. Social media almost immediately latched onto the moment.
Even at 96, she is, and always will be, the face that launched a thousand gifs.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of top media titles in Australia.
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