‘Increasingly frail’ Queen Elizabeth unlikely to be ‘visible’ during the Jubbly

Two weekends ago, the British papers were getting briefed by Buckingham Palace aides about what exactly Queen Elizabeth would “do” during her Platinum Jubbly. It was widely expected that the Queen would appear on the fakakta balcony for Trooping the Colour on June 2nd, but BP aides said a week ago that the Queen’s presence on the balcony is “by no means guaranteed.” Once again, I genuinely wonder if Buckingham Palace is wheelchair-accessible, especially given that it’s a massive construction site right now. So I still believe that the Queen’s presence on the balcony is in question, and I still believe that they just should have changed all of the Jubbly plans to make it easier for the Queen to attend in the comfort of a chair or a wheelchair. According to Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair, Trooping seems to be the only thing the Queen is hellbent on doing though.

Over the course of the four-day weekend, a number of events are planned to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years of service. The Derby, one of the monarch’s favorite racing events, takes place on Saturday, June 4th and in the evening Buckingham Palace will play host to the Platinum Party at the Palace.

On Sunday, June 5th, the Jubilee kicks off while the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in the capital. It was announced that the Gold State Coach, which transported the Queen to her coronation and on her previous Jubilees, will lead the pageant. It will be first time it has been seen on the streets of London in 20 years. Instead of carrying the Queen, it will showcase original footage from the Queen’s Coronation Day in the coach windows. Sources close to the Queen say it is unlikely she will ride in a carriage again because stepping up into the carriage and travelling in it would be too difficult for her.

While the schedule is being finalized and London prepares for four days of celebrations, courtiers planning the event have had to come up with a number of contingency plans because of the Queen’s health. The 96-year-old monarch suffers from mobility issues and some days struggles to walk. While she has been seen in public using a stick to support her, she is said not to want to appear in public in a wheelchair.

Sources close to the Queen say that the monarch is “increasingly frail” after contracting COVID-19 earlier this year and suffering from various health problems, including a back injury she sustained at the end of last year. According to one insider, “All I know is that it’s far from certain that the Queen will be visible over the four days of the Jubilee. She absolutely intends to be there for Trooping and the Service of Thanksgiving, but there’s a question mark over her attending the Derby and a number of other events. She wants to protect her image, that’s very important to her. She is very much counting on her family to support her.”

[From Vanity Fair]

“She wants to protect her image, that’s very important to her…” I wish the Queen would stop with that line of thinking, and I wish her advisors would say “you’re being ridiculous.” This is not some temporary setback either, she’s had mobility issues for seven months now, and it’s likely to get worse and worse, given that she’s “increasingly frail.” She couldn’t even make it to the State Opening of Parliament, for goodness sake, and they previewed her appearance much the same way they’re doing here for the Jubbly. They’re doing this HUGE Jubbly thing and it will look worse if the Queen pulls out at the last minute, which she’s likely to do, in my opinion. As I’ve said before… they could make it up as they go along. They could do another Trooping at Windsor Castle. They could do a Jubbly thanksgiving service at St. George’s in Windsor. It would all be much easier on her. So why aren’t they?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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61 Responses to “‘Increasingly frail’ Queen Elizabeth unlikely to be ‘visible’ during the Jubbly”

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  1. ME says:

    She’s 96 years old and honestly shouldn’t be working at all. I don’t understand why she doesn’t just give up the title to Charles now. Doesn’t she want to witness her son become King? LOL maybe that’s her nightmare.

    • Nev says:

      You last question is WILD.

    • Jane says:

      This is getting more grotesque by the minute. Any jubilee is simply an acknowledgement that someone with the very finest healthcare (and everything else money can buy) hasn’t died, but with the Queen this old and this frail to the point where she isn’t even attending most of the celebrations, it seems really unnecessary and in very poor taste.

      • BeanieBean says:

        I think just getting into the building, then the throne itself, is too long & dangerous of a trek for her, particularly considering how nobody, EVER, holds out a helping hand to an old lady as she negotiates stone steps (with no handrail) and stone pavers with carpeting. I’m not 100% certain she herself doesn’t want to be seen in a wheelchair, that may be something coming from her staff instead. Then again, maybe the accessible route is difficult for the cameras to document? They can’t set this up the way they’d like to? I think they’re just stuck in their one way of doing things and just do not/will not change.

    • MeganC says:

      She pledged to serve England her whole life and she meant it literally. She intends to die on the throne.

      • HeatherC says:

        Given her mobility issues, that may become a literal statement.

      • pennypop says:

        I imagine had her path to the throne not included the abdication, she might not have made that speech at 21 and would have been more open to the idea of a regency at this point in her life.

      • BeanieBean says:

        pennypop: she was 26. And you may well be right. Although, I don’t know, did she write that herself? Did the PM write it for her? She didn’t have the best of educations.

      • Elizabeth Phillips says:

        Beaniebean, she was 21 when she made the speech.

      • Feeshalori says:

        She made that speech in Africa, l believe, on her 21st birthday.

      • aftershocks says:

        Of course, the speech was written for Princess Elizabeth (her title at the time). She read from the speech, even as we see her sitting there in the black & white film of her speech. It was also broadcast via radio.

  2. Woke says:

    Call me cynical but I believe the mobility issues aren’t that bad and they’re using it to make Charles more prominent in the public eye.

    • Fancyhat says:

      I doubt that. Elizabeth firmly believes in monarchs dying on the throne and she wouldn’t do anything to suggest a regency

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      I think she had a fall and injured her back last year. That’s why she was in the hospital. They probably managed to stabilize her, give her pain meds, but she’s probably still in lots of pain on some days and cannot do scheduled events. This is the first time I’ve heard them admit anything about back issues. To me, it’s recognition that, as I’d surmised those months ago, that she sometimes has trouble walking and, the truth is, with back pain, she might not even be able to sit up some days. Doesn’t mean she’s dying, but sometimes people in that much pain, who’ve lost so much about what they love about life, will their own deaths. I think she’s holding out for the Jubilee, and then we might see her quickly pass on. It’s sad. But afterwards, we get to watch the entire monarchy fall in real time.

      • Eurydice says:

        Yes, this struck me, too. Have we heard about the back injury before? Or that she’s still struggling with the effects of Covid? No wonder Harry was worried about her being protected.

      • susan says:

        compression fractures of the spine most likely. Osteoporosis of the spine is unfortunately a major cause of morbidity in nonagenarians.

        and it’s progressive. there is little if anything that can be done to help.

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ I agree @That’s Not Okay. Of course, falls can happen. But I believe, the Queen’s probable fall may have been prevented by her utilizing a cane in private, and getting additional help, while also being assisted at public events. She was apparently too proud to lean on anyone’s arm, or to use a cane before she fell and thus, she subsequently has to use a cane and likely a wheelchair in private, to get around at all.

        Very elderly people who are used to having their way and being highly independent, often have a hard time accepting necessary help from relatives and/or staff. I had a 95-year-old aunt who refused to let anyone talk her out of continuing to drive her car. Of course, her reaction time was extremely slow and she’d get confused trying to navigate entrances into shopping malls, despite the fact she’d always been an excellent driver and knew the malls like the back of her hand. Sadly, sharpness of memory begins to suffer, along with physical capacity. But my aunt fought hard against losing her independence and her autonomy.

    • Kelly Sunshine says:

      Falls for anyone The Queen’s age can be devastating, even if she was in excellent health prior. My grandma just turned 99. She lived in her own home and did most of her own yard work (including shoveling snow) up until she was 92, then moved to a seniors lodge. She had a fall there and suffered a cut on her leg that she is still dealing with, years later. (Poor circulation does not allow the wound to fully heal) plus, she broke her wrist in 2nd fall. She has gone down hill steadily ever since.

      The Queen Mum and Princess Margaret were both seen in public in wheelchairs, were they not? I’m not positive about The Queen Mum, but Princess Margaret definitely was, after she suffered a stroke…

  3. Fancyhat says:

    I feel like at this point it has almost become elder abuse. They are propping her up and speaking for her in public and it seems like she is not really capable of being monarch

    • thaisajs says:

      Yes, it does seem like she’s being bullied by the grey men/women around her. I think that’s what Harry was getting at when he expressed concern that she be protected.

    • Colby says:

      I disagree. I think she intends to die on the throne and thinks abdication is not an option. For sure her courtiers have their own interest in her carrying on (job security), but we have no reason to believe she has any interest in leaving thing to Charles while she is alive.

    • SuzieQ says:

      I couldn’t agree more that this resembles — if not actually is — elder abuse. As others note, it’s no wonder Harry was concerned.
      Someone who really cared for her would advise her to use a wheelchair and reassure her that a wheelchair doesn’t equate to weakness.

      • DKC says:

        That’s exactly what I came here to say: how powerful would it be for all people with mobility issues and other dis/abilities to see the Queen of England proudly perform her royal duties in a wheelchair?
        Perpetuating the stereotype that limited mobility, using a wheelchair, etc., demonstrates weakness is really horrible and irresponsible of her.

        And if the case is that she truly IS too weak, whether from illness, injuries, age, or a combination thereof (which – as someone who was too weak to do my usual work for the last 15 months due to a serious illness – is also fine! It’s a thing that happens and is NOT something about which to be ashamed), then this whole notion of “she promised to live her whole life in service to the Crown” becomes an incredibly challenging conundrum. Because “dying on the throne” is not necessarily the same as “serving the Crown,” if you can’t actually perform your duties as monarch. If she is incapable of performing her duties (not just “embarrassed” to be seen doing them in a wheelchair, but truly unable to do them), then isn’t stepping aside so the kingdom has a monarch who IS capable the grandest gesture of service there is?

        Unless she too believes Charles will be an incompetent monarch, and her last great act of service is clinging on to this role as long as possible to protect her people from his ascension…

  4. Noki says:

    I am so happy they have already announced with their whole chest ‘only working royals ‘ blah blah. The Queen is the last standing interesting working royal,so lets see how the BM like when all who will be visible are a bunch of dullards.

  5. Snuffles says:

    It’s sounds like they are admitting she had a nasty fall last year which is contributing to her mobility issues, along with her advanced age.

    I honestly believe the Queen is pushing this ableist agenda as much as her courtiers are. But, good Lord, this is HER dang Jubbly, and she’s going to hide away from most of it because she’s embarrassed about being seen in a wheelchair!? This is ridiculous!

    • Jay says:

      Ableist is right – we just saw at Invictus that wheelchairs and other mobility aids are no longer something to be hidden or viewed as shameful, but a fact of life.
      I can understand that the queen may have this attitude, but she doesn’t appear to have anyone around her that could say: Look, you always say you need to be seen to be believed. Let’s design a celebration where you can actually be at the centre.

      Not to mention that an increasing number of her realm, especially those who would be interested in watching jubilee events, might have that in common with her and feel seen.

      PR-wise, people loved when she stood on that stupid boat on the Thames in the pouring rain; appearing, even in a wheelchair she doesn’t love, in order to carry on and greet her subjects would probably be a big win.

      • Lady D says:

        There are more than a few wheelchairs in my senior’s home that are the size of a loveseat if not a couch. They are massive, easily movable arm chairs. When talking to someone in one of them, you are not quite eye level with them. I’m sure they could find her one that could put her at eye level with most of her family, and allow her to be seen from the balcony.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Ableist is right, and it’s INSULTING. As if there is something “wrong” or “shameful” with being seen in a wheelchair. And besides insulting, it is also arrogant, to *pretend* (when we know it’s not true) that the queen, at 99, is somehow so genetically perfect and superior that she is in perfect health, doesn’t need assistance getting around, is super-woman.

  6. Feeshalori says:

    They’re treating the public like imbeciles. No one has any realistic expectations that the queen is hale and hearty at her age. And any so-called protection of her image is basically a protection of the monarchy’s image where she can’t be seen because everyone will get all shook up at her condition. That’s if you can believe anything that’s spun out of the palace. They’re insisting on a Jubilee where at this point the queen isn’t making any appearances. She should just stay home and have a nice visit with Harry, Meghan and the children.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Its obvs that TQ isn’t in great health, pretty much everyone predicted she would deteriorate when he passed (its quite common sadly), I think H&M coming over with the kids are because they know she doesn’t have long left.

  7. thaisajs says:

    She’s an old woman. If she’s not up to being paraded around for the cameras, let her sit at home with her dogs and watch it on TV. I feel like the Jubbly is for the courtiers and they’re bullying this old woman to do things she physically can’t. It’s past time she abdicated and let Charles officially take over.

    • MeganC says:

      The courtiers and RRs have made such a huge deal about the Jubilee that public expectations simply can’t be met by someone who is 96 years old. The whole thing is one more reminder of how incompetent Charles is as a soft regent.

      • harpervalleypta says:

        The Jubbly has been in the works for over a year, and I couldn’t help thinking since the announcement that this is a woman in her mid 90s: is there any guarantee she’s going to be alive during this huge celebration you’re going to be spending months planning?

        And this: “courtiers planning the event have had to come up with a number of contingency plans because of the Queen’s health.”

        Wasn’t that part of all this planning to begin with? She’s been very old this entire time, and she’s been mostly out of the public eye since the fall/the fall. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

        I’ve been involved in huge public events that absolutely had to happen on a certain day, and we had an entire book of what to do with every possible problem, from minor issues to absolute catastrophes. No one in Buckingham Palace ever sat down and said, “OK, if she doesn’t get appreciatively better in 6 months, here are some alternate activities for the Jubbly”?

      • Jennifer says:

        With you, Harper Valley. I’m sure June is a lovely time of year, but she’s freaking 96, they can’t exactly be sure she’ll live that long to have the giant party. Hell, I would have done whatever in February.

  8. Lizzie Bathory says:

    I think the courtiers’ insistence at barreling forward with Jubilee plans with little regard for the reality of the Queen’s health is part of what Harry was talking about when he expressed his concerns for her.

  9. Michael says:

    It seems like the last few years have taken a lot of wind out of her sails. The death of her husband and the drama with Edward along with Harry leaving probably is just piling up and she may see her legacy as being the last popular monarch of England because Charles and William ain’t it. They desperately need the charisma of Harry and Megan but they seem hell-bent on destroying that popularity rather than utilizing it. Another in a long line of stupid decisions

    • ChewieNYC says:

      My grandmother is 93 this year. Pre-Covid she was very active in clubs and walking, stayed in decent shape for her age. Covid aged her a decade easily. Being inside, the lack of mental and physical stimulation from quarantine took their toll. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Queen suffered the same, along with the loss of her husband and all of the Andrew mess.

      • windyriver says:

        “…the lack of mental and physical stimulation from quarantine took its toll.”

        Agree this is a likely part of the picture, and mentioned something similar a while back. It was, as you discuss above re your grandmother, an issue seen in many facilities serving seniors (e.g., assisted living, rehabs) as social activities and group gatherings were cancelled, outside visitors were curtailed, etc. And that’s in addition to the fear over the pandemic itself, all the unknowns. TQ went from a still busy, active schedule to mostly staying in one place with a limited number of people (her bubble), and communicating over zoom. It was tough for all of us, but at her age, the chances of getting back to her pre pandemic condition …throw in Philip’s decline and death, the strain of the Sussexes leaving, which happened just before the pandemic, and then Andrew, and it’s easy to see why she’s frail. Just wish she/they’d be honest about it. She’s 96, all of this would be expected anyway. The way it’s being handled is ridiculous.

  10. OG Bella says:

    Weekend at Bernie’s reboot

  11. CC says:

    So instead of saying, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” they’re saying, “We absolutely swear there is a totally alive man behind the curtain.”

  12. ChillinginDC says:

    If she can’t perform her duties, shouldn’t she be stepping down for Charles? What a mess.

  13. Beenie says:

    In my personal, non-royal experience, this is what people do when they get very old and start to decline. They dig their heels in, pretend they are still up for driving/living alone/working/whatever. They don’t want to be forced to “retire” from whatever it is they are holding on to (in this case, being a monarch).

    At least this is what 3 out of my 4 grandparents did. Not the monarch part of course, but I definitely had a 94 year old grandfather who would not stop driving no matter how hard all the kids, cousins, grandkids and neighbours tried to convince him otherwise (he eventually drove his car into a small ditch in the middle of a snowstorm and wasn’t found for 3+ hours. It was a mess).

    My grandmother also refused to move house despite being 95 and living alone in a 2 story home that required you to climb nearly 25 steep steps just to get to the front door!!

    What I’m saying is that Queen or not, people are people. Many of us pull shit like this when we’re old. Of course it’s ridiculous she’s refusing to be seen in a wheelchair, refusing to cancel events or drastically lighten her schedule, refusing to just take a break and allow the next generation (who’s in their 70’s!!!!) to take over. But I know for a fact my grandparents and now my 86 y.o. MIL wouldn’t have either. Humans are a stubborn bunch.

  14. Becks1 says:

    I think its interesting that they’re acknowledging how bad she actually is doing, health-wise. I mean we all kind of had an idea but at this point they’re saying she might not even appear on the balcony? Like it would be too much for her to skip the carriage ride part of it and just show up on the balcony for the flyover? It’s not even like Remembrance Sunday, its usually a pretty short appearance and I feel sure they could rig something so that she has support set up that we can’t see as the public. Especially if she stays at Buckingham Palace for a few days during the jubbly events…..it wouldn’t seem like it would be that much harder than having something at Windsor, right?

    The fact that they’re acknowledging she has issues walking somedays, and refuses to be seen in a wheelchair basically confirms what we have said, that she needs a wheelchair probably most of the time and so that’s the big question mark over these kinds of events. Also I would assume that BP would be more accessible than Windsor but maybe not with all the construction.

  15. Yo says:

    The Disabled community globally is up in arms about this. This is an opportunity for the queen to normalize mobility aids and chronic health issues not only for her subjects for the entire world. Instead. As she’s dying, she is deciding to uphold white supremacy and its ableist standards. Proof that will and Kate are so far beyond the pale of what is needed right now. So many people are. So many people don’t even realize how they uphold and benefit basically from white supremacist constructs. Terrible.

  16. Lala11_7 says:

    The Queen is giving…PURE…”I don’t want to be bothered” 😒 energy and I’m here for it! She didn’t do much to bolster her legacy & get her family together when she was younger…so at this point…I LOVE the fact that she is doing THE MOST…to do THE LEAST! It seems as though her priorities is to see H&M and dem Babies😄

  17. Yo says:

    What many people don’t understand is that disability is an inevitability for humans unless they die first. Either injury illness or old age causes disability. So when disability advocates are working for accessibility and accommodations, this is why. When the queen can’t even get to her own balcony white supremacy has gone too far we need to put an end to Ableism and stop treating the disabled as less then. We made the construct, we can rebuild it better. But not without help from the top. She needs to normalize this and not be ashamed. What a day in history she could be making such a difference in so many ways and she’s just letting it all fall to ruin

  18. Jaded says:

    She may very well be having sporadic episodes of dementia that, along with her mobility issues, would make it impossible for her to be out in public. Whatever the actual issue is, I think it’s being complicated by other things. A fall can cause a speed up of cognitive problems — it did with my mother when she was 92 and hastened her death.

  19. Over it says:

    What is the point of having a Jubbly for Betty if she won’t be there? It’s like a bride getting married but not attending her ceremony. Also , I know I make lots of spelling mistakes but Katie I know absolutely nothing Nichols should proofread and spellcheck her articles before she publishes them in a major magazine.

  20. Sunday says:

    There is absolutely no reason why they couldn’t have the queen make short, stage-managed appearances during the jubbly if they wanted to. They could set up screens at historic sites across the UK that played short video messages from her, they could construct a bejeweled mobile throne in lieu of a wheelchair and stage manage before- and after- theatrics so you don’t see the queen coming or going, they could literally do anything money can buy. So I don’t think it’s a lack of imagination; I believe they’d do literally anything they could to maintain the pretense that all is well. Therefore, it can’t just be abject ableism and a lack of mobility, it’s either that her physical health has declined so much that she is bedridden, or it must be cognitive (i.e. she is simply not able to make the parliamentary speech, or even record a video message).

  21. AmelieOriginal says:

    Serious question: what happens if she passes away suddenly between now and the Jubilee? I don’t care so much about if she can’t make certain events, at this point I’m going to predict she sits out the entire thing and we get a few pictures of her with Archie and Lili during the Jubilee on Instagram (LOL I can dream). What if she passes the week preceding or DURING the Jubilee? She is in such poor health, the Jubilee organizers should have contingency plans upon contingency plans. I’m guessing if it happens now, Operation London Bridge happens straight away but if it happens the week of the Jubilee or during, does it become a “celebration of the Queen’s life and legacy”? Or would they delay announcing her death until after the Jubilee and pretend she passed away right after it so they can go ahead with their celebrations? While I don’t care about the Queen all that much, I do hope she makes it for the sake of her family. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she passes away before all that.

    • SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

      Well, Steiff had thousands of Duke of Edinburgh 100th birthday Commemorative Limited Edition teddy bears ready to launch, but then he went and died at 99. They put little black armbands on them all and re-advertised as Duke of Edinburgh Death Commemorative Limited Edition teddy bears.

  22. BeanieBean says:

    This caught my eye, ‘While the schedule is being finalized’. Seriously? Less than four weeks out & they don’t have everything planned out? I thought these folks were supposed to be good at their jobs. I swear I’ve seen documentaries of the exquisite planning & set up of state dinners, but maybe it’s just the household staff at BP that’s actually good at their jobs? The grey men are, from what we’ve been reading lately, are all aristo sycophants who went to the ‘right’ schools–where their parents’ money was apparently wasted.

  23. Eggbert says:

    Maybe she already died, and they’re just trying to coordinate an elaborate weekend at Bernie’s situation.