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Despite her strength, the Queen is not invulnerable


Yet while Buckingham Palace’s attempt to play down the sovereign’s “mild, cold-like symptoms” have undoubtedly come from the top, it would be wrong to gloss over her recent health problems, not least in the light of everything that has happened in recent weeks and months.

As well as having to come to terms with the death of her beloved husband last April, the Queen has had to deal with the sorry Prince Andrew saga, and more recently Prince Charles’s charity being investigated by the Metropolitan Police over the cash-for-honours scandal.

These serious issues, combined with the departure of the Prince Harry and Meghan to the US, with a row still ongoing over Prince Harry’s UK security, have contributed to making the last year another “annus horribilis” for Her Majesty.

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Despite her forbearance, it would be wrong to underestimate the impact this string of unfortunate events has had on the Queen personally.

Moreover, while she benefits from the best medical attention money can buy, people are right to worry that she is continuing to do too much as her 96th birthday approaches in April. While she may not want it any other way, events to mark the Platinum Jubilee this summer are going to demand a lot of the Queen.

As well as attending a major equestrian event in May, she is then going to be front and centre of a four-day bank holiday weekend of festivities including a scaled-up Trooping the Colour, a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, an appearance at the Epsom Derby, a party at the palace, a “big lunch” and a Platinum Jubilee pageant.

It would be a formidable agenda for anyone approaching retirement age – let alone someone who has worked for 30 years beyond their state pension entitlement.

As such, the palace would arguably be wise to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to the Queen’s forthcoming engagements. Since she will largely spend the summer on the world stage, does she really need to be troubled with less high-profile duties in the meantime?

Despite having been less “visible” in walkabout terms since the onset of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, the Queen’s popularity as the nation’s favourite royal has grown.

Almost half (45 per cent) of people who took part in a recent Ipsos survey named her as one of their most liked royals, a rise of five percentage points since March last year. This is surely a result of her making well-timed interventions such as the “We’ll Meet Again” speech, rather than needing to be as “omnipresent” as she used to be.

Yes, the Queen needs to be seen to be believed. But when it comes to preserving the magic of our remarkable monarch, less is most certainly more.

Telegraph, London



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