Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II cancelled her two-day trip to Northern Ireland at the last minute. The cancellation came as such a surprise to the reporters who had already traveled to NI. It does feel like something happened at the last minute, but who’s to say. Certainly the royal commentators are trying to figure it out, and it’s almost like Buckingham Palace didn’t really give anyone talking points. Which is also pretty curious. So now Dickie Arbiter and Angela Levin are fighting about what happens next with the Queen:
Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter has said the Queen will not step down, despite concerns over her health after she cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland this week following medical advice to rest for the next few days. Speaking on GMB this morning, the former press secretary to the Queen, 95, told Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid that anyone asking the monarch to retire was ‘patronising and fighting fire’.
Speaking on ITV today, Dickie said: ‘The Queen made her feelings very crystal clear when she told the “Oldie awards” to naff off. Remembrance Day is coming up and is sacred in her diary. To suggest she’ll step back is patronising and fighting fire – the Queen will instead ask her officials to pace her engagements more.’
Explaining why the Queen would not step down, he continued: ‘During her coronation she made a vow in the eyes of god, and you can’t compare that promise to the pope retiring. The Queen has had a very strenuous few days ago, which is why doctors probably advised her to cancel her upcoming trip. It’s a lot to ask of anyone any age – even when she’s not at engagements the monarch has mounds of paperwork to go through. The officials at Buckingham Palace will be looking very carefully to pace her engagements. There’s only so much Charles, William and Kate can do.’
However biographer Angela Levin argued that the Queen is battling feelings of guilt, and should be encouraged to step down. She said: ‘The Queen feels very guilty as she made a promise at 21 that she’ll be Queen until she dies, but the Pope made the same vows and has since retired. Things have changed since the royal made that promise and people live longer nowadays.
‘The Queen is incredibly alert but it’s too much for her physically – at the moment it’s a fight between mind and body – she should be encouraged to step back slowly.’
Arguing that the Queen should retire after the Platinum Jubilee in June, which marks 70 years on the throne, Angela added: ‘The Queen needs to look after herself and make allowances. Prince Philip said the same thing when he retired and allowed himself a break. We should all be encouraging the Queen to step back and enjoy the rest of her life.’
I think it’s interesting that there’s this last gasp from this older generation of royal commentators who are realizing that all is not well in the House of Windsor and that things are getting shambolic. On the surface, I kind of agree with both Arbiter and Levin – the Queen is going to do whatever she feels like anyway, and she clearly wants to be seen out and about, but she’s going to have to learn how to take it easy. I also think Levin is right that sh-t changes and it would not be the end of the f–king world if the Queen retired.
This was also an interesting quote from Arbiter: “There’s only so much Charles, William and Kate can do…” Kate has only done one public event since the Earthshot flop on Sunday. Since Sunday, William has only done two private receptions (back-to-back) on Tuesday night. And that constitutes a “busy” week for them! It will be genuinely funny if the Queen’s period of rest ends up highlighting how spectacularly lazy Will and Kate still are after all these years.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.