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‘Radical’ Queen forced into adopting beloved tradition to hit back at public criticism

Queen encouraged to undertake 'walkabouts' by Martin Charteris

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The Queen was encouraged by her closest advisor Martin Charteris to undertake “walkabouts” where she meets members of the public, a new Channel 4 royal documentary has revealed. The Real Windsors programme features interviews with royal experts, including the daughter of Mr Charteris, who offers an insight into how the monarch was moved to adopt the radical but now beloved tradition. 

Ms Charteris told the Channel 4 documentary: “My father was very keen that the Queen should be seen as she really was. She was a very reserved and rather shy person at the start anyway. I think he wanted her to be able to really engage with people, that she should be more available for that.

“I think he found a way to help her, relax a bit, gain the confidence in herself and be more at ease with people that she saw.”

“Charteris encourages the cautious queen to do something radical, like getting out of her car and meeting new people to trial the so-called walkabouts and foreign trips. It was a small step that made a big impact,” adds the documentary’s narrator.

Historian Alex von Tunzelman told the programme: “It’s really interesting to see this reaction happening also wonderful is really just a middle-aged lady getting asked for a car and walking about but you can see on those walk that some even quite serious people often getting quite overwhelmed by the prospect of shaking hands with the queen or even just seeing her.”

Meanwhile, the Queen’s traditional welcome to Balmoral Castle by a guard of honour will be held privately this year for her “comfort”, sources have said.

A military unit is normally inspected by the monarch at the gates of her Scottish retreat to mark the Queen taking up residence at her home.

But the event will be held behind the gates on Tuesday inside the grounds of Balmoral, with a source saying “This is a change in line with events being adapted for Her Majesty’s comfort”.

The Queen has faced episodic mobility issues since last autumn and now regularly uses a walking stick, with some of her official engagements this year shorter in length then would have been expected.

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She missed much of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations during the extended Bank Holiday weekend in June but did make two separate brief appearances on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

The Queen, who travelled to Scotland on July 21, is believed to have been staying at a property on her estate and will move to her main Balmoral home on Tuesday.

The monarch is unlikely to be alone for very long as members of her family are invited to spend time with her at Balmoral every summer.

She is also expected to break her summer holiday and travel back to England to hold audiences with the outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his successor in early September.

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The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert has held on to its spot at the top of the 2022 TV ratings chart, seeing off a challenge from England’s victory in the final of the women’s Euros, new figures show.

The star-studded concert, which took place in front of Buckingham Palace in early June, was watched by an average of 13.1 million people on BBC One.

England’s appearance in the Euro 2022 final at the end of July was always likely to pull in one of the biggest TV audiences of the year, with overnight ratings suggesting more than 17 million were watching at the moment the final whistle blew.

But official figures released on Monday show that average ratings for the whole of BBC One’s coverage of the game did not quite manage to overtake the royal knees-up, coming in at 11.2 million.

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