Queen Elizabeth, 95, prompted new concerns for her health today after telling two official visitors to her audience rooms in Windsor Castle that she couldn’t move, and pointing to her feet.
The queen was using a stick as she conducted her first in-person audiences since her son, Prince Charles, was diagnosed with coronavirus two days after having a face-to-face conversation with her. The in-person meeting will allay any lingering fears that she could have caught the disease from Charles.
A brief video of the meeting was released by the Palace, and Palace sources clarified to The Daily Beast that the queen’s offhand remark referred to the fact that she felt a little stiff, as opposed to being injured or in pain.
The video saw her greeting incoming Defense Services Secretary Major General Eldon Millar and the outgoing holder of the position, Rear Admiral James Macleod.
The men were waiting outside the Oak Room at Windsor Castle when the queen beckoned them in, saying, “I’m here… good morning.”
Asked, “How are you?” the queen replied, “Well, as you can see, I can’t move,” and pointed towards her feet and legs.
She did however manage to take a few small steps forward towards the men before shaking hands with them.
She seemed sprightly as she chatted to the pair about her dog, Candy, which they said had been guarding her. When Millar suggested the dog had let out “a little growl” the queen said, “She doesn’t normally growl.”
First rule of meeting the queen: Don’t suggest her beloved dogs are anything other than impeccably mannered.
Despite her restricted mobility, the queen seemed remarkably chipper given the turmoil of the previous 24 hours, which saw one son, Prince Andrew, make a settlement with his rape accuser Virginia Giuffre and another, Prince Charles, asked to co-operate with police inquiries into an alleged cash-for-honors scandal.
The queen’s health has been the subject of much speculation since the death of her husband Prince Philip last year. Initially, it appeared Her Majesty had coped well with the bereavement, but subsequent bouts of ill-health forced her to cancel keynote appearances and she even spent a night in the hospital.
The queen marked her jubilee by renewing her commitment to a “whole life” of public service first made in a radio address as a young woman, but despite her intention to never abdicate, the pressure for her to do so continues to be felt.
On Monday the respected commentator and broadcaster Simon Jenkins penned a lengthy opinion piece that raised the issue.
“The queen may be fit, but she is clearly delicate,” Jenkins tactfully opined.
Earlier this month, the queen marked 70 years on the throne, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
On Tuesday she received the Ambassador of Estonia, Viljar Lubi, via video link, but Wednesday’s event was the first in-person audience for several weeks.