Of course, trying to cover up the hospital visit just raises the question: what else is not revealed? And, inevitably, it renews speculation as to whether the Queen will finally have to give up her day job.
It is therefore important to realize how much the future of the entire rickety edifice of the House of Windsor still rests on the shoulders of the Queen alone.
A moment that makes this very clear came in May. Just a month after Prince Philip’s death, the Queen was driven from Windsor Castle to Parliament to deliver the speech which opens a new session. There were no dark widow weeds. She wore a lilac dress and hat and looked full of life. While she was speaking, she was not wearing a mask. Prince Charles and Camilla, socially distant to his left, did so. The optics were crystal clear: the widow monarch remained as fiery as her wardrobe and reaffirmed her command. His longtime heir was not about to be inducted.
A year earlier, before there was any indication that Philip was fragile, many royal experts confidently predicted that when the Queen reached her 95th birthday on April 21 of this year, she would step down. finally. Charles would become the Prince Regent – indeed, he would be king save name, retaining the title until the Queen’s death.
She wouldn’t. The Queen has spent most of the year proving that 95 is the new 65. At times, she has seemed as kinetic as the Duracell bunny. When many lesser mortals are happy to use the pandemic as an excuse to stay out of the office, she was eager to return home. In October alone, she made 15 formal engagements.
This is in stark contrast to what happened in the last year of Philip’s life. The royal couple were in their own version of the lockdown, spending part of the summer of 2020 in quarantine at Wood Farm, a decidedly non-palatial retreat on their Sandringham estate in Norfolk. With only five bedrooms, it was the smallest of the houses available to them.
It was clearly heartwarming to leave the ordinary world – it was obvious that the simpler diet allowed them to relive the first years of their marriage before the full weight of the crown fell on her.
After Philip’s funeral – the only time the Queen was seen in black – it was reasonable to assume that she would need some private time to mourn and take stock of how to handle the situation. rest of her reign as she neared the epic seventy-year milestone as monarch in February 2022.
But, as her appearance in Parliament announced, she wasn’t in the mood to slow down. It was as if the oasis of serenity had, in fact, recharged the rabbit’s batteries. Certainly, some of his functions were entrusted to Charles and, in particular, to Prince Edward and his popular wife Sophie. And Prince William and Kate are increasingly fulfilling two essential tasks: taking on more public office and, with their vitality and accessibility, proving refreshingly relevant to this century rather than the last.
But the really important point is that the Queen has always kept a tight grip on her ultimate and unique symbolic responsibility – to fulfill the duties of a Head of State, to demonstrate the stability and continuity of a monarchy that has existed since the 7th century. .
Plus, it’s obvious that she really enjoys appearing on an equal footing with other world leaders. This was exposed in June at the G7 summit in Cornwall. As she sat in the center of a group photo, she audibly asked, “Are you supposed to sound like you’re having fun?” She clearly was.
At a time when the Meghan and Harry saga seemed to cast a bad light on family in America, the Queen used her unique status to rectify this situation as best she could, from head of state to head. She invited Joe and Jill Biden for tea at Windsor Castle where, the president ironically noted, the White House would fit into a courtyard.
This week, the palace said the Queen hopes to recover sufficiently to be able to attend another gathering of world leaders, at the United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow which opens at the end of the month. This is especially noteworthy because, until now, she has always been content to give Charles the space to be the voice of the monarchy on all things green. This was in keeping with the edict that the Queen should never express an opinion in public on anything, a discipline to which she has always firmly adhered.
In fact, Charles was so keen to assert his own leadership role on this issue that he granted an exclusive interview to the BBC environmental correspondent to visit him at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland where he bragged that his Vintage Aston Martin, gifted by the Queen on her twenty-first birthday (presumably to make her feel like he was sharing the wheels with James Bond), had been converted to run on an organic fuel derived from white wine and whey cheese.
The BBC reporter tried to raise the issue of Charles’ carbon footprint, which is more like a carbon footprint. For example, during a European tour to promote climate change awareness, Charles’ private jet left a 52.95 ton footprint.
Charles dodged the question and instead mentioned that he had installed solar panels on his London residence and on some farm buildings on his Highgrove estate. He never went beyond that kind of symbolism – for example, he owns thousands of acres of land in the South West of England that could be used for wind power, but that’s not the case.
Perhaps the mother, like many others, knows the truth, that while Charles was laudable early in warning of the consequences of climate change, his actions did not match his words. Indeed, the Queen’s determination to keep Charles behind the scenes for as long as possible while she remains center stage suggests that she fears that he is well short of representing the kind of invigorating generational shift that the monarchy will need to live up to the stress of the twenty-first century.
Plus, she can’t be amused by the fact that some palace insiders have made it clear that Charles intends, by becoming King, to make Camilla his Queen, rather than the Princess Consort, as his mother prefers.
There is a feeling, however, that the Queen’s determination to never cease to be a highly visible head of state is not just about the Prince of Wales’ shortcomings. It must have irritated her, reading the empty platitudes of the speech given to her as she opened Parliament, which the body she was obliged to recognize as “my government” was the one led by Boris Johnson, which sets records for lying. and serial incompetence.
The queen has every reason to have developed a after me, the deluge complex. At the end of this historic reign, she can look back on the many pressures that have changed her nation in lasting ways – political, cultural, social and economic. She did not always find it easy to adapt to them and made mistakes in tone in answering them. But now she appears to be the one steady, steady hand that helps the country stay cohesive.
A few days ago, the Queen graciously declined an offer of old magazine, which is dedicated to the spirit of longevity, to give it the annual honor of being “Oldie of the Year”. Her private secretary informed the magazine: “Her Majesty thinks you are as old as you think you are, as such the Queen does not think she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a recipient. more worthy. Hopefully she quickly regains that spirit.