Robert Lacey: ‘The Queen remains totally in control of her faculties’

According to the Daily Mail, Queen Elizabeth stayed in her private quarters in Windsor Castle to watch Prince Charles perform her speech at the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday. Her courtiers only canceled her appearance at Parliament the evening before, although I think it’s pretty clear that the courtiers have a chronic case of wishful thinking. The Queen is being described in some quarters as “increasingly frail,” and not only dealing with mobility issues, but also a bad back. How they expect to get her to make any appearances for her Jubbly, I’ll never understand. In any case, historian Robert Lacey chatted with People Magazine about what’s really going on and he emphasized that QEII is mentally fit, but her body is simply failing. Lacey must have been sent out with “no regency needed” talking points.

The sight of the two immediate heirs to the Queen sitting together at the Houses of Parliament is more about showing the line of succession rather than indicating Charles is set to take on more of his mother’s constitutional powers. Royal historian and biographer Robert Lacey calls Tuesday’s ceremony, which also saw Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, seated beside him, an “enormously significant moment.”

“She’s clearly thinking of the future and this can be seen alongside the moment she said it was her wish that Camilla be known as Queen Consort, which was another important development this year,” Lacey tells PEOPLE. “Asking her son Charles and William to attend is clearly about succession, about emphasizing a partnership and teamwork,” he says.

But it stops short of a regency, in which the powers of the Sovereign are formally transferred to the heir because of incapacity.

“Regency involves a surrender of constitutional authority, which is very much not happening in this case,” Lacey says. Charles — like his mother — doesn’t write the speech. That’s a role of the U.K. government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as it outlines the administration’s upcoming legislation. “Charles is deputizing for the Queen, as he has done before — and as William and Kate have also started to do in some of the duties they’ve been doing,” Lacey adds.

The only time a regency has been instituted was for George III who was deemed mentally incapable of carrying out the duties of state.

“The sense I get from everyone I speak to is that the Queen remains totally in control of her faculties and of everything at the palace,” he adds. “The problem is physical mobility — and that is not a constitutional or regency issue. She is in charge.” The paradox she faces is that while she can walk, it’s very likely that she’s worried she might stumble, “and the symbolism of her doing that is so enormous that she would not want to put herself in that situation,” Lacey adds.

[From People]

Sure, there’s nothing suspicious about a royal historian with an inside track to multiple palaces running to People Magazine to pledge that the Queen’s mind is still as sharp as ever. I mean, we can see that’s not true. No one is saying it out loud, no one is making it into a larger issue and there’s no constituency for somehow forcing a formal Charles Regency upon the Queen. But we know that what’s happening here is more than just “mobility issues” or what have you. I tend to believe that was what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw when they stopped by Windsor Castle for tea. I believe that’s why Charles rushed over there when he heard about their visit too. The family knows that there are bigger issues. Which is why Harry said what he said about making sure she’s got the right people around her too. Harry has got to be concerned about people manipulating the Queen. Charles has got to be concerned too, right?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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51 Responses to “Robert Lacey: ‘The Queen remains totally in control of her faculties’”

  1. Jay says:

    Problem is, none of the royal rats or the palace have any credibility. They tried to cover up QE’s hospital stay and her recent Covid diagnosis, so pardon me if I don’t take Robert Lackey’s word for it this time.

    • TigerMcQueen says:

      I actually take it as confirmation that she is losing it, and it’s worse than we think.

      • Leigh_S says:

        I’m positive. I’ve seen those smiling facial expressions with a couple of my grandparents. The smiling and vacant eyes? She’s absolutely declining cognitively and very likely an easy subject to manipulation.

    • Eleonor says:

      when someone from the Palace says something I tend to believe the opposite.
      In this case my take is: she has lost her husband and she is letting herself go.
      It’s not the first time I see a widow letting herself/himself dying after the loss. And I totally believe she still has her faculty, but she could be in some sort of depression .

  2. Matthew says:

    definitely some weird Game of Thrones elder abuse going on over there

    • Teddy says:

      My grandmother was 95 when she passed last year and she went through this same trajectory. Her body failing but her mind was still strong. What happened though was the people around her stopped treating her as though she was in control. I do believe the queen is mentally all there, but that the courtiers are taking advantage of her frailty.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        The couriers are taking full advantage of her inability to oversee what they are doing behind her back. Harry’s comments seem to certify these actions of those around TQ, whose has all of her mental faculties, but due she cannot see what they are doing behind her back. TQ is obviously being taken advantage of and there is no selfless constant companion looking out for best interest.

  3. Southern Fried says:

    Chucky’s been in charge I’m thinking for quite a while. The royals and cohorts are all such fkn liars. No doubt at some point I believe Harry will speak on the Q’s being manipulated.

  4. M says:

    They live in opposite land, so take whatever they say and flip it. At this point I think they’re just praying she makes it until the Jubbly. I am not convinced, especially since Harry is willing to bring his family to the pit of vipers.

    • SussexWatcher says:

      Total conspiracy on my part and likely not true, but I’m starting to think she’s already dead and they will have the jubbly and then announce her death a day or two after, and this is why the entire Sussex family is going over. For the funeral that will shortly follow the jubbly.

      When was the last time she was seen live? A while ago, right? Something fishy is going on and it’s shocking that there was no plan made for the last years/months of her life (or what to do in every possible scenario, like loss of mobility). It really feels like they’re just flying by the seat of their pants!

      • Charm says:

        LOL
        I burst out laughing at this. I managed to do it quietly but I had a big grin on my face. Yeah, everyone is lying their arses off so why not go the whole hog, eh? Its full on: Weekend at Betty’s! LOL

        Srsly tho, while I dont believe she’s dead [because, if you notice, every so often they produce a proof-of-life photo – you can tell by her dresses, also when she is said to hv met with an ambassador via zoom) I do believe that, like @Teddy said, her body is clearly too frail for sitting or standing for any portion of time, but she doesnt appear to be afflicted with dementia, even if she has prolly become a bit more forgetful than the rest of us.

        And these 2 combined: her growing frailty and her periodic forgetfulness; as well as having care-givers who are strangers, not family – means that she is being taken advantage of by courtiers with their own agenda, i:e the uninterrupted continuation of the monarchy at any cost, esp at this moment in history when it is clear that the majority of the UK population who are not yet outright republicans, are only holding off until betty goes.

        Everyone knows that the monarchy is scheduled for some intense scrutiny amid calls for change, after the betty era and BP courtiers, in particular, have a vested interest in the status quo remaining for as long as possible.

        Watch: as soon as the Jubbly is over, if betty survives it, the next palace-sanctioned, RR talking point will be her Xmas speech and whose picture will be displayed and whose wont….LOL. Just wait and see.

      • Becks1 says:

        The courtiers are 100% invested in QEII’s reign and in her reigning as long as possible so that will do whatever possible to ensure that.

        for example, let’s take the most notorious courtier here on Celebitchy – Angela Kelly. She knows she’s gone as soon as Camilla walks in the door. She knows she’s out even in a regency; she might be allowed to stay on as the Queen’s companion or something but she will have lost all power and influence. so it is in her best interest to ensure that everyone thinks the queen is A-ok and that there is nothing to see her, move along, she’s completely fine, we’re just worried about her stumbling.

      • Christine says:

        This made me laugh so hard!

        If they want us to believe she is just in pain, then they can wheel her up to the balcony door, and Chuck or Willnot can keep her upright for the 3 minutes on the balcony.

        If she doesn’t show on that stupid balcony, it’s all over.

        ETA: /things I never thought I would type

    • Sunday says:

      @M, I completely agree. What I’m getting from this is that she is absolutely not in control of her mental faculties, and that instead of the admirable teamwork and partnership Lacey is pushing, the heirs, courtiers and various hangers-on are all busy jockeying for power instead of actually caring for the queen. She might have good days and bad days, but regardless she is absolutely not holding meetings or analyzing her daily documents box or anything like that.

  5. Mslove says:

    I remember a few months before my grandmother passed from heart disease, she thought grandpa was still alive & my mom still a child. She didn’t remember who I was. I wonder if queen is going through something similar.

    • Nutella toast says:

      My grandfather was still sharp as a tack at almost 99 years old and was absolutely with it mentally but his body would not cooperate. It was super frustrating for him because everything hurt or was breaking down but he was so mentally alert that he was aware of all of it. I think it’s possible that she’s very mentally capable but that she simply can’t stand or even sit for any length of time.

      • Sunday says:

        It’s absolutely possible that people her age or older can be mentally capable, but if that were the case here I think that they would make a point of releasing a video speech or clip from a zoom meeting or something, instead of awkwardly posed photos.

        I know that sometimes the palace does let speculation run rampant intentionally as a distraction technique from other more damaging news, but I see no upside in allowing months of speculation about the declining health or even proof-of-life of the head of state, especially at a moment like this when British politics are so volatile. If she was mentally capable they could easily squash all hand-wringing while at the same time take advantage of the sympathy and support that would spring from a frank acknowledgement directly from the queen that although her body isn’t cooperating her mind is just as committed to Britain as ever. Gross incompetence can’t be discounted when it comes to these courtiers, but I think in this case even they would realize the importance of a display of competency if it were at all possible.

  6. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I think the Queen has stumbled a-plenty these past few years, metaphorically. An actual physical trip or two in public is no biggie. Have people flank her and hold her elbows. Or if she’s just standing there, she’s not in jeopardy of stumbling, right? RIGHT?

  7. Veda says:

    Such a poignant image of Charles and the crown nearby. So near…yet so far.

    • C says:

      I think he’s there already, honestly.
      She’s Queen in name only and withdrawing herself completely.

  8. equality says:

    What is the point of monarchy doing the opening of Parliament anyway? Somebody else writes a speech for one of them to read. Let the writer give the speech and move on. It would be like the President hiring an actor to read one of his speeches. Seems unnecessary.

    • Colby says:

      You could have stopped at “what is the point of monarchy”

    • Robert Phillips says:

      Or maybe just skip the speach. All this pagentry doesn’t do anything. It’s just the way its always been done. So what. They have to many people who can’t afford food or electricity. But yeah lets make sure Charles makes a speech that doesn’t really matter. And spend lots of money carrying that stupid crown around town.

  9. Merricat says:

    She’s in full possession of her faculties–but no, she won’t speak in public. Oh, she’s mobile, she’s just concerned about taking a fall–but no, we won’t see her in public, not with the assistance of anything or anyone.
    Right.

  10. K.T says:

    Reporter, on the Titanic, says that everything is going swimmingly well.

  11. Digital Unicorn says:

    I recall sometime ago there being an announcement that there were certain things that were being ‘handed over’ to Chuck – I think it was after the last jubilee. It was made clear then he was going to be more involved in things.

    Part of me thinks that there is some sort of drama going on between Chuck and TQ’s courtiers – they are pushing back on him being more involved as that means less power for them. Just look at how things with Andrew were managed – Chuck for all his faults is shrewd enough to know the Andrew needed to be cut out completely.

    • Snuffles says:

      It’s pointless for these courtiers to push back on the inevitable. The Queen is old, frail, and will die soon. They could have made this a smooth transition of power but they are fighting Charles tooth and nail. I mean, Charles ain’t shit as a husband and a father, but he’s more than capable of handling being King. They should have transferred power a decade ago.

      • SussexWatcher says:

        I wonder if there’s pushback from the courtiers because they want to loot the coffers as much as possible before they are inevitably pushed out and dismissed. Didn’t Diana’s butler steal a bunch of stuff from her after her death and then claim he was “holding” it for the boys?

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        When TQ passes they are all effectively out of a job as Chuck will bring in his own staff/household.

        I think that for many of them it’s about riding the power train as much as possible to fulfil their own agendas. Remember when they merged Chuck and TQs press teams – that was a sh!tshow and they ended up becoming separate again.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ SussexWatcher, he was accused but he was cleared by TQ as he didn’t steal anything from her. Diana entrusted these items with him as she didn’t trust anyone in the BRF or their vipers.

      • Robert says:

        All the queens courtiers will all lose their jobs when the Queen dies. Charles will bring his own in and they will then be in charge. That’s why all the infighting is going on. The queens people will lose all their power. And they don’t like that.

    • windyriver says:

      I’ve got a different take. TQ’s private secretary Edward Young is Charles’ man. He came in in 2017, after Charles (supposedly with help from Andrew) succeeded in dumping her long time advisor Christopher Geidt, which also conveniently occurred the same year Prince Philip retired and was out of the picture. At this point almost certainly Young is far from the only pro Charles operative in that household, especially as Charles assumes more of the monarch’s responsibilities; at the very least, they’d have to coordinate with CH on day to day details and scheduling. And those people may not be going anywhere when TQ passes.

      Remember during the Oprah interview when Harry basically said, TQ has bad advisors? And this is what I think he was referring to when he talked to Hoda about wanting to make sure TQ had the right people around her. As I said below, if Harry was that concerned about TQ’s mental state, I think what he said and how he appeared talking to Hoda would have been different. I suspect there’s a power struggle between a core group of people still close to TQ, and interested, as is Harry, in her health/safety/dignity/reputation – these would be the people that got H&M in to visit TQ with almost no one knowing – and a larger group of people already at BP, working primarily for Charles’ interests and paying less attention to TQ.

      • Sue E Generis says:

        I agree, this is what makes the most sense to me as well. Either way, what a horrible way to end your life, with no one really caring about you and just out for what they can get.

  12. Amy Bee says:

    The Queen has become a shut in but the Palace don’t want to admit it.

  13. windyriver says:

    I didn’t get the sense, from Harry’s Hoda interview, that he had a significant concern about her mental state. He seemed pretty relaxed, talked about her sense of humor, etc. If there was a real problem there, I think he would’ve said less. But – she’s a physically compromised, very elderly woman whose main advisor was installed by Charles; her husband, close friends and family members have passed on; and at least two other long time persons of influence have very questionable behavior and motives (Andrew and Angela Kelly). In that situation the possibility of her being manipulated is there whether she’s fully with it or not, but my sense was Harry was also concerned her physical needs were properly attended to. The picture of her with that olive coat askew was out of character and made me question why there wasn’t anyone close by, as there should have been, paying attention.

  14. Over it says:

    I feel like Betty is the face of the institution and Chucky is the real one running it, only people don’t feel about him the way they do about her , so she can’t just disappear and Rest In Peace in wood farm, hence where the elder abuse kicks in.

  15. phlyfiremama says:

    So much this. Once the queen goes, watch how fast the commonwealth countries bail, all of them. The keens will put the nails in the coffin in Scotland, it’s much too late for Anne to salvage anything, and nobody except sycophants wants Chucky or TOB. They all finally realize that their sun is setting, and are desperately trying to keep it from happening. Good riddance to this anachronistic holdover from the dark ages institution:. LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE!

  16. MsIam says:

    Well the level of attack aimed at Harry for his statements about making sure the queen is protected and well cared for tells me something is up. Tptb don’t want people looking too closely at what’s going on with the queen. The question is whether that’s for her sake or someone else’s.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Yes. His statement was clear and decisive, there was no dilly dallying in his statement. But they weren’t expecting him to “spill the beans” during an international interview. Of course given that Harry said it makes it much more offensive, to those on Salty Island of Pettiness and No Shame.

  17. Eurydice says:

    I think the Queen has her mental faculties and is also unable to participate in tradition-heavy activities. For example, if you look at the past openings of Parliament – there’s a long gown, medals, a massive necklace, a fur cape and a crown. That whole getup has to be dragged down an aisle and put up on a throne. Ok, so they can roll her in on a wheelchair, but who’s going to hoist her up onto the throne? Or do they leave her there in the aisle? With some time for thought, they could probably come up with a solution, but how can they do that when the decision to participate or not is being made at the last minute?

  18. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    This is disgraceful and bad for the future of the monarchy, but the people whose jobs depend on the monarchy existing seem hellbent on undermining the institution for short-term gain.
    It’s grotesque what The Queen is doing and what her courtiers are doing. Instead of seeing her occasionally in a role as the mother of the Prince Regent, we are watching her deteriorate on the throne. Their greed and hubris trump their ableism. The Queen should have stepped down while her son was in his early 60s to avoid this. I look forward to reading Scobie’s analysis on this.

  19. aquarius64 says:

    I’m afraid the George V option is being looked at.

  20. Jay says:

    Even if the queen is still sharp, I think it’s fair to wonder whether she has ever truly been up to the role she has taken on, and certainly whether she has the qualities you would want in a leader, however symbolic.

    She does not surround herself with people who expand her worldview, and that’s a huge problem since the world around her has changed since the 1950’s. And not for nothing, but her “leadership style” is more about being impervious to change and ignoring things rather than trying to change them. Philip was said to be more decisive and a better manager behind the scenes.

    In other words, even if the queen were at the very top of her game mentally, would she really be managing all of the different personalities and political factions? Keeping her family and courtiers all in check and on message, responding to events around her, and generally keeping her family’s brand ( because it is a brand) strong?

    • Eurydice says:

      But the monarchy hasn’t been about leadership since the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign. Now it’s about being the custodian of a legacy, which is pretty much the opposite of change.

  21. SuzieQ says:

    Frankly, I thought something was off when she stabbed that cake.

  22. Deeanna says:

    Prior to the cake stabbing incident there was another cake related strange incident where she was cutting a cake with a sword held upside down. With the cutting edge in the air.

    In my opinion, at the cake stabbing event the Queen seemed somewhat vacant. And at a video of an event prior to that where she was seated and being shown a book, she was VERY vacant.

  23. blunt talker says:

    I sense the entire royal family knows what ‘s the deal with the queen’s health-whatever happens is in God’s hands and I hope she comfortable during this time of illness.

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