Is Queen Elizabeth using a cane this week to engender some sympathy?

Ceremonial opening of the Sixth Senedd

A few days ago, Queen Elizabeth attended an event at Westminster Abbey, and she used a walking cane. Royal sources said that QEII was using the cane for “comfort,” as opposed to a specific injury, I suppose. People also noted that some of the walkways in the Abbey are a bit uneven, so it made sense that a 95-year-old Queen would want a little support. But I guess it wasn’t a one-off! The Queen used a walking cane again today, in Cardiff. She was there to open the Welsh Parliament, aka the Senedd. She wore a vibrant pink and used the same cane she used earlier this week.

There’s been some conversation on social media about why, particularly this month, the Queen is suddenly using a cane. I guess I’m little miss gullible sunshine, because I believe the royal explanation, and it seems totally reasonable that a woman of her age would need some support. But the conspiracies could also be true: perhaps she’s projecting a more sympathetic image these days to get people to focus on the little old lady who walks with a cane, as opposed to the monarch who wields her power, money and access to protect her rapist son.

Weirdly, there was also mask inconsistency with this trip. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were also in attendance in Cardiff, and as they entered the Parliament building, only Charles wore a mask and the Queen and Camilla did not. Buckingham Palace pointed out that they were in compliance with current Welsh Covid regulations. But I seriously doubt that.

If you’re curious about her brooch, it’s a diamond daffodil. Daffodils are the national flower of Wales, which I truly did not know before now.

Ceremonial opening of the Sixth Senedd

Ceremonial opening of the Sixth Senedd

Ceremonial opening of the Sixth Senedd

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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65 Responses to “Is Queen Elizabeth using a cane this week to engender some sympathy?”

  1. STRIPE says:

    My first thought is the Queen isn’t self aware enough to know she’s made an a** of herself with all the Prince Andre news, so she wouldn’t be trying to elicit sympathy.

    • ElleV says:

      clearly they don’t give two figs about how things look otherwise she wouldn’t be driving with him to church ya know?

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Agreed. Her and Prince Andrew appear to lack any self awareness about the situation, the ramifications of his choices or how protecting a rapist might be perceived by the public.

  2. Noki says:

    She is a 95 year old woman using a cane,I dont think there needs to be any other angle.

    • Heat says:

      I agree. This is too much of a stretch for me.

      • Mitchypop says:

        I agree, she’s 95 years old. Plus it’s getting cold over here in the UK so this may be a factor or y’know she is 95

    • Elaine Stritch says:

      Yeah agreed, this is a bit much.

    • ME says:

      100 % agree.

    • Jan90067 says:

      She’s had swollen legs for a LONG time, as well as bruises (could be due to a low dose aspirin regiment as well as a fall). While at 95 it’s totally plausible she needs a cane, or even a walker, to get around. HOWEVER, I suspect everything with *this* family as their “image is everything” mentality takes precedence.
      .

      I’d've thought she’d hold onto Charles’ arm (as “escorting”) before resorting to a cane, but I guess *that* would give the impression of them being “equal”, and she wants him walking firmly 2 steps *behind* her until her coffin is actually lowered into the ground (I mean, he would literally be walking *behind* her coffin in a processional to the Abbey for the service).

  3. LadyE says:

    “Suddenly using a cane”? LOL. I mean I suppose any time you start using a cane or walking aid it is “suddenly”, no?

    Having gone through the transition of cane to now walker with an elderly parent, I would bet she’s either had a few minor falls and luckily didn’t hurt herself or this is to prevent falling…because she is 95. Canes are actually really hard to walk with for a lot of people. My dad’s Parkinson’s made it impossible to get the right stepping rhythm, hence a walker. If she can use a cane, she’s really in quite good shape.

  4. ElleV says:

    wondering if someone *really* needs their mobility aid or if they’re just doing it for *sympathy* is such gross ableist nonsense I’m surprised it would be repeated on this site

    if anyone has an obvious reason to use a mobility aid it’s a 95 year old who is still showing up for work engagements while her peers are mostly dead

    • Selene says:

      Well said.

    • Lorelei says:

      @ElleV, yes, it IS gross. Which is exactly in line with everything else this family does, so it’s a valid discussion to have imo.

      Obviously with most people her age, we would not question a cane (no matter how much people love to paint CBers as monsters when it comes to the BRF, we’re really not!).

      But the BRF is all about image— and theirs has taken a beating recently —so do you seriously think it’s a stretch to wonder if all of a sudden she’s using a cane after last week’s headlines were all about how she’s paying Andrew’s legal fees, and people were pissed?
      So she’s leaning into the “sweet little old granny” thing. Bill Cosby did the exact same thing, and was seen tossing the cane aside after the guilty verdict was read.

      If we never, ever see her horseback riding again, than maybe it will seem sincere and believable that she needs the cane.

      • Totorochan says:

        Lorelei, one can be justly suspicious of the PR efforts of royals and celebrities, and I absolutely agree re Cosby / Weinstein. Nonetheless, we must remember that disabled people face real issues around whether their needs are seen as sincere and believable or not, particularly when they apply for benefits, use disabled parking, need a seat on the bus and so on. Of course those things don’t apply to the Queen. But still, the equation of “must never sit on horseback again if she wants us to believe she needs a cane” is uncomfortably reminiscent of some of the attitudes disabled people encounter. I know you did say you didn’t mean it to refer to disabled people in general, but be aware that this language does affect people. I am not a fan of the Queen’s actions regarding Andrew – and other things – but sometimes a cane is just a cane.

      • Annetommy says:

        Many quite severely disabled people ride. The charity Riding for the Disabled does great work in that area. It is perfectly possible to ride even if you need a cane, particularly if you have been riding for 90 years.

    • GR says:

      @Ellev – completely right – it is totally ableist.
      Thanks for saying this.

    • Laura-Lee says:

      Thank you for saying this!

    • MsIam says:

      Didn’t the queen get booed in Scotland? Hard to boo a “poor little old lady with a cane”. Sorry if that sounds cynical but these people make it hard to feel genuine empathy. And don’t bother trying to shame me as being ” ableist” these folks are despicable.

  5. Selene says:

    I think Charles is not above this, and definitely Andrew, but HM seems like she wouldn’t “crutch herself” on purpose to gain sympathy. If you saw the footage, it seemed like she left the cane in the car on purpose, and then Princess Anne gave it to her forcefully, as if to say “you WILL use this, you need it!”. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but she really doesn’t seem the type to want to complain about anything health related.

    • Miranda says:

      I agree, she’s probably too stoic to willingly use any sort of mobility aid. My dad, who is 80, had a fall a few months back, and while it thankfully only resulted in some large, ugly bruises, his doctor recommended that he use a cane from now on. He has been SUCH. A. PAIN. IN. THE. ASS. about it, complaining that it makes him look old and feeble. Like Princess Anne, I’ve had to nag him about using it on a near-daily basis and practically force it into his hand, saying he’ll look even more feeble when he’s stuck in a wheelchair after another fall.

      • LadyE says:

        @Miranda -The emotional issues around canes, walkers, and wheelchairs has been really difficult to navigate with my dad. It took me sobbing to him about how much it hurt me, his daughter, to see him lying on the ground bleeding because he didn’t “want” to use his cane to get through to him. I had to become way more sensitive to his feelings about independence/giving up/etc, but also for him to acknowledge he lives with his family and was creating a really stressful, scary and upsetting living environment for others with his stubbornness.

    • goofpuff says:

      It is more likely she uses it in private but in public she has always wanted to show old school style strength. I can totally see her never wanting to use her cane in public because I can also see her despising being a “sympathetic” figure.

      Her engagements aren’t particularly long so I can see her believing she doesn’t need it then.

  6. A says:

    My first thought is that she’s 700 years old, for goodness sake. Of course she’s unsteady on her pegs.
    My second thought is that this is a woman who will not abdicate and at the same time is being undermined by her son and grandson in the media with stories about ‘soft regencies’ and the like. Choosing to look weaker than she really is…it’s a weird strategy, I think.

    • Lorelei says:

      @A I can see how *they* might think it’s a great strategy, because with her, the “little old granny” thing really does engender affection and/or sympathy with lots of people.
      Considering everything you just mentioned, though, I totally agree with you that right now, it’s a terrible strategy. But they’ve consistently shown poor judgment when it comes to PR so we shouldn’t be surprised. Their instincts are the worst.

      • A says:

        Yeah, I’m not convinced either way, tbh. I can’t really dismiss the idea that her people told her it’d work, because that’s exactly the kind of dumb stuff they’ve been doing, like you said. But certainly, I would think she herself wouldn’t like that.

  7. Woke says:

    Does that make me a bad person if I say I can’t wait to see what happens when she dies ? If indeed she’s using it for comfort maybe it’s time to let her rest. Besides truly official appearance like the opening of parliament, no need to drag her out.

    • Sofia says:

      I’ll admit I’m curious too. Maybe because I live in the UK but also because she’s been around for so long and is such a large part of the status quo here. When she dies, it’ll definitely have an effect on the country. You can’t really criticise the monarchy without people going “but BUT THE QUEEN!” or “look at how committed to duty the queen is” and etc etc so I wonder what it’ll be like when she’s no longer around. Charles and even William won’t have the same affection from the public like she does.

    • Fortuona says:

      It was the opening of the Sennedd

  8. Sofia says:

    I’ll be little miss gullible sunshine with you because it’s not surprising to me that a 95 year old would be using a cane.

  9. Belli says:

    I don’t think this is a Weinstein Walker situation.

    I think if anything the queen would avoid using a stick when she needed one, rather than the other way around. She’s all about stability and status quo.

  10. Chaine says:

    She’s got some nasty looking welts on her shins so clearly she is not ambulating 100% successfully on her own. I don’t think there is any “canespiracy” here, just a normal ninetysomething whose body is winding down.

  11. anath says:

    She is an old woman. This article is preposterous.

    • Here4tea says:

      💯Agree with you. I know the Royals are extremely unpopular on this site but some of the conspiracy theories being thrown about are just ridiculous. She probably hates the fact that she needs a walking aid.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ Here4tea, I agree it’s much more plausible that she’s 95 and needs the cane more than she would like to admit, but she does need it.
        In regards to your comment that this site is more critical in the actions and responses regarding Harry and Meghan, Chaz and TOBB. But to be fair, Kaiser was bringing up the fact that these are purely conspiracy theories that are circulating online but they are not theories HERE!! Kaiser is pointing out what others are saying and as Kaiser mentioned, she is of the belief that she is 95 and she probably needs the cane, not that she is shooting for the sympathy angle.

  12. OriginalLala says:

    I’m no fan of hers but she is 95 – Of course it could be to get sympathy, who knows, I think a healthy dose of skepticism with celebs is a good thing

  13. Stef says:

    Am I the only one surprised her cane isn’t actually a bejeweled scepter?!?

  14. MangoAngelesque says:

    Considering that the Queen (and all the royals) believes she was ordained by God to be the monarch, there’s no way she feels the need to endear herself to anyone due to any of her behaviours or choices.

    Plus, I’m not going to question a perfectly legitimate mobility/functionality aid or the motivations of the person using it. Unless it’s something like Harvey Weinstein, of course.

    Now, if she suddenly started showing up with one of those giant old-timey ear-horns and loudly saying, “Eh, sonny? What’s that? You gotta speak up!” in a croaky voice, rather than wear a normal hearing aid, I’d have to be a bit suspicious of her motivations there.

    • Lorelei says:

      @Mango, obviously we’re all speculating, and maybe she really does need it. None of us know for sure.

      But the fact that it appeared only days after people were incredibly angry at the headlines about her paying Andy’s legal bills is what’s making people question it. In that way, it *is* exactly like Harvey Weinstein, because the reputation of the BRF is the lowest it’s been in a while, and she was even booed recently.

      Given all of those factors, it’s reasonable to at least question if it might be a ploy. IMO. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Ursaline says:

      I love the idea of seeing her with the ear horn! She could bring them back in some kind of hobbit style (please no).

    • Misskitten says:

      I’m not sure that anyone, even the royals, stills believes in divine ordination. Especially since the royals do NOT seem particularly religious (the only time of year they go to church seems to be on Christmas w/ the queen). Do they think they’re superior? Sure. Ordained by God? I doubt it.

  15. Amy Bee says:

    She’s using a cane because she’s 95 years old and struggling to keep her balance which is expected at this stage of her life. It would be great if BP was more open with the public about this so there wouldn’t be any speculation but I guess vagueness helps them with their contract with the press.

  16. Coco says:

    I mean, if there was some sort of psy-op going on to evoke pity, would it really work? She’s had 95 years of good health and 95 years of never paying for a single thing. Even if she did pay for something, she’s had about 70 years of her face being on the money. Sympathy not achieved.

  17. Catherine says:

    She appears to have significant swelling in her ankles which would compromise her stability. I actually think she would resist using a cane in public for fear it would cause people to question if she is still physically strong enough for the job. They definitely use her to gain sympathy but they also want to project an image that is uncompromised. The media has clearly been told not to dwell on the use of the cane because it was acknowledged and then they moved on. So I don’t think this is a ploy. I also don’t think it unfair to ask the question because the BRF/BM are grossly manipulative.

  18. Becks1 says:

    I think she just needs a cane (or prefers walking with one.) I don’t think its about image or sympathy because I think for the Queen, walking with a cane is probably something she views as weak – my guess is she has used one in private for some time and someone finally convinced her to use it in public as well. She doesn’t want to remind people she’s old and frail and human.

    Does she always open all the parliaments like this and I just didn’t notice before? (all – Wales and Scotland.)

    Also the mask wearing was weird, because Camilla was wearing one (its hanging from her ear or hat in some pictures), just not using it – why have one at your face like that if you weren’t going to wear it?

    • SnoodleDumpling says:

      It does seem like they’re paying more attention to everything Queenie does these days. I don’t know if she’s been doing this all these years (I’m inclined to say yes), but I know I’ve never heard about the opening of the Scottish Parliament before and didn’t even KNOW that Wales had their own Parliament. I thought Wales was part of the same jurisdiction as England, ever since Henry VIII made them equal under the law well after the annexation.

      Maybe they’re worried that these might be the last time she does it. They certainly seemed to have much more information about Philip’s decline than they ever let on, which in retrospect explains the urgency and why they were so handwringy about it all those last two months or so, so why wouldn’t they have more information about Queenie’s inevitable decline than they let on.

  19. evie says:

    Please, QEII is 95 for God’s sake! She obviously needs the walking stick and maybe, just maybe (gasp) she uses a walker in private. She’s probably taken a few spills at home. And let’s not forget, the video of her getting up from her chair at the Scottish Parliament recently, stumbling and knocking something over. Her ankles have been swollen for awhile now, which can be a sign of poor circulation. Also, she lost Prince Phillip, her husband and partner of 70 years, a scant five months ago. That has to have had a profound effect on her.

    Count me in as someone who thinks she should abdicate.

    • Emma says:

      Agreed, dragging out a 95-year-old woman for these events seems rather awful. Can she never retire?

      • Talia says:

        She has always let it be known that she sees her Coronation oath as binding for life. She could legally abdicate but I think it’s the difference between a secular and religious obligation in her mind.

        Also, she is by far the most popular member of the RF. I can’t imagine Charles or William want her to abdicate – they can ride public grief at her death for years if necessary. Charles won’t have the benefit of that with an abdication.

        A final point is that I think she was genuinely traumatised by Edward’s abdication. The Queen Mother used to claim the stress killed her husband and hearing your mother say that about your father’s death must have an effect.

    • rea says:

      That is agist. She should be able to work if she wants to. So what if she is 95 years old. She looks healthy and has a right mind. Don’t make it seem like older people are fragile beings some like QE are tough cookies that the youth of today will never match. Today’s youth is way too soft & work shy.

  20. Athena says:

    I was a septic when I saw the picture the other day , but looking at her legs and the swelling in her feet and ankles I can understand why she would need the cane. Also, this is not the first time I’ve noticed bruises on her leg so maybe she does have a problem with her balance.

    • windyriver says:

      Bruises could also be the result of being on a blood thinner (or other med) – she has fragile skin due to her age, so even small things, like banging your leg getting up from a chair, can easily result in a bruise. Happens to my dad, who is on one, all the time.

      Leg swelling also makes me wonder if there’s an underlying heart problem, something that she’s had for a while and is being controlled with medication. But I’m not a doctor, just suggesting some possibilities based on what I’ve seen with some people in my family…

  21. Gubbinal says:

    To be honest, I’ve been to Westminster Abbey about ten times from ages 35-65. Each and every time I lurched or tripped and could have fallen. The ancient stones are uneven and there are some big ups and downs. It’s even more difficult than the challenges of walking on cobblestones. Aging normally is filled with losses, large and small, of the abilities one once had. Her Majesty can be protecting a pedophile and perpetuating racism at the same time that navigating the Abbey becomes a difficulty.

  22. Theothermia says:

    Wow the Welsh get daffodils AND dragons!? Awesome.

  23. Nope says:

    Deciding to accept a mobility device is difficult enough without people perpetuating a cultural idea that we do it for drama or attention or sympathy, that we don’t really *need* it.

    You aren’t hurting QEII, she’ll be fine. Who you *are* hurting is those of us with invisible disabilities who are ashamed that others look at us and think that we are exaggerating our limits.

    I can walk quite well, and I’m not old. You wouldn’t know it to look at me that if I stand for very long I will probably have horrible all-over pain the next day, or digestive problems, or an anxiety attack. Or all three. Dysautonomia isn’t a well-known condition. But if I go to an art museum and don’t use a wheelchair, I’ll have to spend the next day–or two–in bed recuperating.

    Being means-tested for one’s use of a mobility device makes a difficult situation even harder. It makes you more conspicuous. It requires more determination and moxie. Emotionally I have to gear up, both to assert myself with the people who will speak to my partner over my head as though I’m not an adult, and for the sidelong looks and dismissive comments.

    Those of you who have posted about being on board with this question, who think this is something legitimate to interrogate? Take a look around and realize that you are doing a hell of a lot more punching down than punching up when you smugly speculate about this. Do better.

  24. HeatherC says:

    My opinion, she needs a cooler cane and not one that reminds me of an umbrella stripped of its umbrella parts. My dad had a very cool cane. I’ve always felt that if you require a mobility assistance device, it becomes an extension of you so make it cool AF. Someone bedazzle that thing!

    • Totorochan says:

      Ha, I used to think that till I needed a cane and then stability became everything. Of course, a cane that combined maximum grip and stability with looking good would be ideal!

  25. Chaz says:

    Being old and frail doesn’t change basic character flaws. So often wisdom doesn’t come with old age – age just comes alone. Empty chair of longevity is there for all to see.

  26. Misskitten says:

    If Prince Charles were to die before the Queen, who would be the heir to the throne? Camilla? That doesn’t seen likely. Would it be Anne? Queen Anne might be kind of cool although I’m vehemently anti-monarchy ftr. Or would it be William? Does anyone know?

    • Talia says:

      William, then William’s children, then Harry, then Harry’s children. The male primogeniture was only changed for George’s generation so after Lilibet it goes back up to Andrew, then his children, then *their* children, then Edward and his children. Only then does it go to Anne.

      Married-ins never inherit on their own. If Charles / William die before becoming King, Camilla / Kate will never be Queen.

      • Misskitten says:

        But wait Anne is older than Andrew. Are you saying that only for George’s generation, and those following, is a female relation eligible to be the monarch? Wow that sounds WILDLY unfair! So does that mean that if QE had had a younger brother, then HE would have been king upon King George’s death?
        Assuming I’m correct in all of the above, that’s really lame of QE, to make only the males up to Williams generation eligible to be the monarch. Esp since it was only dumb luck that she had no brothers.

      • Talia says:

        Up until this generation, a woman could only become monarch after all her brothers.

        And yes, the Queen was ‘Heir Presumptive’ NOT ‘Heir Apparent’ right up until her father’s death. If Margaret had been a boy, he would have been King.

        Even that is better than some monarchies (I think Japan is one) where women can’t inherit and their sons can’t inherit either.

        There was no point in changing it earlier than George – the Queen’s eldest was male and he had two healthy sons so it wouldn’t have any effect. It was changed before William’s first child was born so if George had been female, she would have been Heir Apparent from birth.

        In Sweden, they didn’t change things until after there was a firstborn girl (Victoria) and younger brother (Carl Phillip) and he was stripped of the title of Crown Prince which was given to his older sister who is now Crown Princess. It caused some fuss at the time which the British RF wanted to avoid.

      • Talia says:

        Also, daughters of the heir have always inherited before brothers of that same heir. The only change is that it goes in birth order rather than the boys going first. The only change in the immediate heirs (William, Harry and their children) is that Charlotte comes before rather than after Louis.

        Under the old rules it would be Charles, William, George, Louis, Charlotte, Harry, Archie, Lilibet.

        Under the new rules, Charlotte and Louis swap places but everyone else stays the same.

  27. ChattyCath says:

    I live in a Retirement Community. I’m supposed to use a Rollator now. For all elderly people it’s a physical manifestation of psychological trauma ‘I’m on the way out now’. She’s lost her husband too. She hasn’t ridden for many years as in riding properly on parade. The media pics show her ‘on a horse’ for what are essentially propaganda photos of ‘The Monarch’. I suspect she has a good deal of help to get up there. All Smoke and Mirrors it is

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