Queen Elizabeth, Unwell With COVID, Cancels Engagements, and the Last-Minute Announcement Rattles Nerves

Joe Giddens – WPA Pool / Getty Images

Having made a big deal of the fact that despite having COVID the queen would continue to work as normal, Buckingham Palace was forced onto the back foot Tuesday with a dramatic announcement that the monarch was not going to be hosting remote audiences as scheduled after all.

In a statement the palace said: “As Her Majesty is still experiencing mild cold like symptoms she has decided not to undertake her planned virtual engagements today, but will continue with light duties.”

The palace has consistently declined to offer what sources privately describe as a “running commentary” on Her Majesty’s health.

However, her wellbeing has been a renewed topic of speculation in the British press — hardly surprising given her age (95) and the constitutional implications of her passing — ever since it was revealed that her son Prince Charles had contracted coronavirus on February 10, and had met with his mother on February 8, when he was possibly infectious, but ignorant of that fact.

There has been much sympathy for Charles, who may also have inadvertently spread the virus to his wife — went down with a positive diagnosis — as he was not only triple vaccinated but also actually caught COVID in the first wave of the disease to hit the UK. in 2020.

The queen was subsequently diagnosed with coronavirus, with an announcement being made to that effect on Sunday Feb 20.

However the palace was quick to brief reporters over the weekend that the queen was not severely ill, and hinted that it was not Charles who had given her the disease, referring royal reporters instead to a cluster of cases among the “team” at Windsor Castle .

Given the unpredictability of the progress of the disease in different individuals, there were question marks over the wisdom of sources also briefing the media that the queen would continue to work through her illness, with fears the strategy left Her Majesty a hostage to fortune.

Those forebodings have now been proved justified with skeptical wondering just how much store should be set the palace’s insistence that the queen is still only affected by “mild cold like symptoms” given that the same formulation of words was used on Sunday.

If nothing has changed, why the change to the schedule?

The mortality of the contemporary monarch has been a subject of fascination for the British people for millennia, and Queen Elizabeth’s advanced age periodically raises speculation to fever pitch when she is officially confirmed to be unwell.

Although she is remarkably active for a person of her age, she has endured a series of health scares since the death of her husband last year.

In October she was ordered off work, and spent a night in hospital, which the palace initially tried to cover up, citing medical privacy.

Fear of contracting the coronavirus has led to the queen only conducting very modest and small in-person engagements since then, and she is being attended by a core group of 22 quarantined staff, dubbed HMS Bubble, who relieve each other in shifts and are regularly tested for COVID.

Last week, the queen told visitors she was having trouble with her mobility. The palace downplayed the incident but video of the queen saying, “I can’t move,” and pointing at her did little to dampen the endless speculation.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast’s biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast’s unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.

Reply