Concerns for Queen's health: Younger royals must step up if the Queen is to slow down

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Concerns for Queen's health: Younger royals must step up if the Queen is to slow down

For most of Britain’s workforce, an overnight hospital stay would also mean a day off work and perhaps time on the sofa with some daytime television.

For the Queen, at the age of 95, there will be no such slacking.

After being kept in hospital for investigations into a mystery illness, the Queen has agreed only to confine herself to “light duties”, getting back to her all-important red box and already at her desk hours after returning home.

Her Majesty, who has undertaken at least 16 official duties so far this month, has been in the midst of her busiest autumn in years, and preparing to do yet more in the weeks ahead.

With several unannounced engagements pencilled in the royal diary for next week, she was expected to make the star appearance at the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow on November 1 for a speech and to host world leaders.

Determined to make the most of being out and about again following a long lockdown, she has revelled in seeing the British people again, and delighted in face-to-face conversations after endless video calls.

Little wonder, her admirers worry, that she needed to rest.

As Buckingham Palace confirmed her “reluctant acceptance” of medical advice to take a break, the public assumed she had been somewhat overdoing it. So the revelation that there is something more to this than tiredness will cause deep consternation.

For now, the Queen is restricting herself to “light” work. According to the Prime Minister, that roughly translates to already being back to business.

“I’m given to understand that actually Her Majesty is characteristically back at her desk at Windsor as we speak,” Boris Johnson said on Friday afternoon.

The Queen has been working on her correspondence from her red boxes, including policy papers, Cabinet documents, Foreign Office telegrams, a daily summary of events in Parliament and other state papers.

Concerns for Queen's health: Younger royals must step up if the Queen is to slow down

It has been a busy month for the Queen, who has taken part in 16 official duties so far… and there is more to come. Photo / AP

A source indicated that she could also be making a small number of calls, or meeting with her closest senior aides to discuss what still needs to be done.

The late Duke of Edinburgh would have encouraged the Queen to slow down, said Angela Levin, the royal biographer, speculating her late consort would have been the one to tell her: “Look, stop it, don’t go to so many engagements and relax a bit.”

She added: “We’ve got to sort of encourage her to take a step back or sideways or something to allow her body to recover from the engagements that she does.

“I think it’s a fight between her head and her body, because she wants to do it. She feels she can, she’s very articulate, she’s absolutely spot on with everything she says. But her body is 95 years old.”

Slowing down will require the help of younger members of the Royal family. And while three of the Queen’s children – the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex – have accompanied her on events this week, the family only recently known as “Team Windsor” has been disintegrating at pace.

Concerns for Queen's health: Younger royals must step up if the Queen is to slow down

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been left as the only working royals of their generation in the senior Royal family. Photo / Getty Images

As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex swapped a life of royal duty for independence in California, where they have been busy signing multi-million dollar business deals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been left as the only working royals of their generation in the senior Royal family.

The Duke of York, whose friendship with the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein brought disgrace on himself and the wider institution, has stepped down indefinitely.

The Duke of Edinburgh died in April aged 99, taking with him the Queen’s most valuable listening ear and wise counsel.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are working steadily, but do not yet command the hearts and minds of a nation in quite the same way as the Queen.

While the Princess Royal, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex unveil plaques and shake hands diligently, the family matriarch has appeared irreplaceable.

After a summer at Balmoral, it appeared that the Queen had rallied to do her duty once more, attempting to calm the Royal family waters enough that younger members can keep the show on the road without her.

As she now awaits the results of medical tests, that time to rest must come sooner rather than later.

As Phil Dampier, the royal commentator and author, said: “I think we need to wrap her up in cotton wool at the moment.”

Joe Little, the managing editor of Majesty magazine, said changes may have to be made to the Queen’s diary in the near future.

“The thing about the Queen’s schedule is it sometimes seems to be often all crammed together. There will be a period of intense activity then it will go quiet,” he said.

“But I suppose it will have to be reassessed, to pace it. It used to make sense to cram all these things together. But when you get to 95, clearly those rules no longer apply.”

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