7 questions about Queen’s absence – from whether she’ll scale back role to Jubilee plans & ‘Harry & Meghan Xmas visit’


IN a last minute change of plan, Prince Charles dutifully stepped in to lay the Queen’s wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, after the monarch was forced to pull out due to a sprained back.

Her Majesty’s team previously said it was her “firm intention” to attend the ceremony, and she was “disappointed” to have to cancel.

The Queen was said to be ‘deeply disappointed’ to miss the annual event (pictured in a video address to COP26, which she also failed to attend in person)
Prince Charles dutifully laid a wreath for the Queen in her absence

Unsurprisingly, the sudden 11th hour change – which a spokesperson was quick to stress had no connection to her recent hospitalisation – sparked concern among fans.

It is understood that the Queen’s sprain is unrelated to her medics’ recent advice to rest, and doctors have confirmed she will not require hospital treatment.

Here we discuss seven questions surrounding the Queen’s absence and how her recovery may impact future plans – from whether she will scale back her duties to her upcoming Platinum Jubilee.

How long will the Queen’s recovery take?

When news about the Queen’s back injury broke, many fans expressed concern as to how long it may take her to recover.

Speaking to HOAR, Dr Yousaf Shah – consultant orthopedic spine surgeon at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – said an injury of that nature usually takes two to six weeks to recover.

However, for the Queen, who is 95, it could be double that.

Dr Shah added: “She would have had to stand for a good few hours for the Remembrance Day service so it was absolutely right to pull out of it, as sad and upsetting as that must have been for her.”

Why do some fear a more ‘serious situation’?

While officials and sources including Boris Johnson were keen to stress the Queen remains “very well”, some, like Piers Morgan, expressed further concern.

Tweeting to his 7.9million followers, the presenter wrote: “There’s something we’re not being told about the Queen’s health, it’s clearly a more serious situation than the Palace is saying.”

Piers hasn’t revealed why he suspects this, but some have speculated it’s down to the last minute nature of the change of plan.

Sun Royal photographer Arthur Edwards also shared his scepticism, admitting he was “surprised” that the Palace announced she is suffering from a back strain.

“Normally, they don’t reveal what the problem is… I just wonder what is really going on,” he said.

“It is difficult when the Palace puts out misleading statements like recently claiming the Queen was resting at Windsor when she was on her way to hospital.

“In fact, she was on her way to hospital for ‘preliminary tests’ and an overnight stay.”

Her Majesty also bowed out of COP26 on doctors’ orders.

Will she scale back her role?

She’s known for being one of the hardest working royals, and has always attended scores of events on a regular basis.

However, sources believe the Queen may not undertake large scale events again, with senior royals including Princes Charles, William and Princess Anne potentially stepping in to hand out knighthoods at Buckingham Palace. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail, a source revealed: “I firmly believe the public won’t see her out and about as much.

“That said, she will still be visible, carrying out less taxing engagements within palace walls.

“The whole video and virtual engagement development as a result of Covid has given palace aides options they didn’t have before. But there will definitely be a change in pace.”

What went on at meeting with Boris?

Boris Johnson went out of his way to reassure Her Majesty’s fans that she is doing OK.

On Sunday, the PM told a Downing Street press conference: “I know that everybody will be wanting to offer their best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen.

“I just wanted to reassure everybody by saying that I did see the Queen for an audience last week on Wednesday in Windsor and she’s very well.

“It shouldn’t need saying but I just wanted to say it anyway.”

His comments will leave royal fans wondering what they talked about – and how exactly the meeting played out.

Will Harry and Meghan visit for Christmas?

They’ve spent the last two Christmases in America, but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly been invited back to the UK this year.

It’s believed the royals – who usually travel to Sandringham for the festive period – have sent an invitation to Harry and Meghan to visit over Christmas, but it’s not known if they have accepted.

A source close to the family told the Daily Mail that the Queen has “made it clear” she’s keen to see great-grandson Archie and meet Lilibet.

“In spite of everything, they are still very much seen as part of the family,” they added.

Royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti said it would be a “great opportunity for some family healing”, particularly following the monarch’s recent health issues.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Sacerdoti said: “I imagine that the Queen would like to have them there.

“I can see why it’s very difficult for them to be able to come back for Christmas but also it could be a great opportunity for some bridge-building and for some family healing.

“The Queen hasn’t met Lilibet and it would be a good opportunity for that.”

Will plans for her Platinum Jubilee change?

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has been tipped to be the country’s “biggest ever” celebration when it takes place next year.

It’s unclear how – if at all – the monarch’s recent health concerns would impact the event, which will celebrate her 70 years on the throne.

The £15million bonanza, which will be marked with a four-day bank holiday, begins with Trooping the Colour, which will be staged in full for the first time since the pandemic, and a live Platinum Party at the Palace concert will be held at Buckingham Palace.

It’s set to be an event fit for a truly deserving Queen, given her tireless commitment to serve her country throughout her long-running reign.

Let’s hope she makes a speedy recovery.

Will Queen mention health in Christmas address?

Despite this year being the first time Her Majesty has missed the Remembrance Day ceremony due to poor health, she typically uses her Christmas address to boost the nation.

For example, last year she assured listeners: “You are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers.”

Historically, personal matters like her own health are not subjects she readily discusses – however, she might feel the event is an opportunity to reassure her fans.

The Queen (pictured during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2013) is set to mark her Platinum Jubilee next year

It is understood Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet have been invited to Christmas with the royals

Questions are being raised about whether the Queen will scale back her duties

The Queen at last year’s Remembrance Sunday