Queen's Jubilee: Working Royal family members gather on balcony
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Queen Elizabeth II edged onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace, her family in tow, to appreciate the thousands gathered at The Mall celebrating her historic 70-year reign. Dressed in a sleek light blue dress and hat, accompanied by a diamond brooch and signature pearl necklace and earrings, she beamed at the flypast, pointing out the most noteworthy events of the day to her great-great grandson, Prince George. Doubt had been cast on whether Her Majesty would make a public appearance at all due to recent mobility issues.
The Palace said her presence would only be confirmed on the day, leading many to wonder if they would see Prince Charles in her place on the balcony.
But those whispers were soon quashed, and the jubilant crowds got what they came for.
Many commentators have since said that it is unlikely the Queen will make any further appearances — although they cannot be ruled out.
Speaking ahead of the jubilee celebrations, Howard Hodgson, a royal commentator and author of ‘Charles – The Man Who Will Be King’, said the Firm’s members have been keeping a keen eye on the Queen’s “mental and physical fairly”, ensuring that she is “protected” and does not overdo it.
He said the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the tragic death of her long-time husband Prince Philip had created a situation in which the Queen’s health — both mental and physical — had taken a dramatic turn for the worse.
Mr Hodgson told Express.co.uk: “The Queen is 96, and two important things have happened recently that have probably made life very much more difficult for her, and I think the Royal Family has every right to keep her frailty and maybe even her mental frailty.
“When you get to 96 nothing works quite as well as it once did, and the situation is that the Queen deserves to have every dignity and as a result of that I think they will make sure we don’t see too much of her.”
Asked if he believed the family itself was keen to protect the Queen’s physical and mental frailty, he said: “I think so yes, and I think she has every right to see out these last few years of her life with as much dignity as possible — I think that is what will happen.
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“The Queen’s health has probably suffered some acceleration of deterioration because of two things that have happened: the first being her husband, she always loved Prince Philip, and the situation was that when you actually lose somebody that you’ve been with for over 70 years it is a very big drain on you and it must be quite lonely without him.
“Very often, when one partner dies, the other one errantly either dies in a short space of time too or could be in a situation of actually becoming much more reclusive and depressed.
“The other thing that’s happened is the coronavirus pandemic. If you do something every day you won’t lose it, and I think COVID-19 broke huge amounts of routine with the queen because everyone was locked up.”
The Queen and Philip spent much of the coronavirus lockdown at Windsor Castle, away from the usual hubbub of fulfilling royal duties.
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According to royal expert Katie Nicholl this was a happy time for the couple, as they “enjoyed daily walks around the private gardens and made a point of dining together each evening,” she wrote in a piece for Vanity Fair last year.
In the time since, the Queen has suffered from “episodic mobility problems” which led to her cancelling a run over major engagements over the last seven months.
In October 2021, she used a walking stick at a Westminster Abbey service, the first time she had done so at any major event in history.
A week after this, she was ordered to rest by doctors, advised to cancel a trip to Northern Ireland.
The Queen was then admitted to hospital for “preliminary investigations” and had her first overnight stay on October 20, 2021 for eight years.
The next day, however, she was at her desk in Windsor carrying out what were described as “light duties”.
Concern for her health mounted when she pulled out of a string of high-profile engagements including the Cop26 climate change summit and the Festival of Remembrance.
The Palace again she had been advised not to carry out any official visits at this time, and she later missed the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph due to a sprained back.
For more than three months after that the Queen has generally carried out light duties, which has included virtual and in-person meetings but confined to Windsor Castle.
But today, against all the odds, Her Majesty led her family out onto the balcony and looked over her loyal subjects – something that will be remembered for years to come.
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