Queen is so frail that 25-mile journey can ‘tire her out for days’, says expert

The Queen’s frailty has been laid bare after a royal expert said that undertaking just a 25-mile journey can exhaust the monarch for “several days”.

The 96-year-old has traditionally received new prime ministers at Buckingham Palace.

But a decision has been made that the monarch will remain at her summer residence in Scotland — Balmoral Castle — and that the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest will next week travel to visit her to be installed as the next Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is also expected to make the 1,000-mile round trip to resign from Downing Street in person.

The arrangement, announced ahead of time to allow the next Tory leader — widely expected to be Liz Truss — to make travel preparations for Monday September 5, has shone a spotlight on the Queen’s mobility issues.

How hard does the Queen find travelling?

Royal observer and author Robert Hardman said the Queen had initially planned to return to London for the transition to a new government.

But he said her experience during the Platinum Jubilee of travelling between Windsor and London had ended up convincing her it would be better to stay put in Scotland, where she is fond of recuperating during the warmer months.

During the celebrations in June, the Queen made the short trip, which can be completed in under an hour, from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace to appear before the throngs of supporters on the Mall to wish her well on the 70th anniversary of her reign.

Mr Hardman, writing in the Daily Mail, said: “That the Queen has adapted her plans now plainly indicates more than a change of mind.

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“Rather, it suggests that her family, her advisers and, more importantly, her doctors have urged her not to subject herself to the upheaval of a 1,000-mile round trip when there is no constitutional or reputational issue at stake.

“I am told that she has no new or specific medical condition. However, she continues to find it harder to move around comfortably."

He added: “As her Platinum Jubilee celebrations showed, even a relatively short journey, like the one from Windsor to London and back, can tire her out for several days.”

The bestselling author of Our Queen said the monarch had initially planned to travel overnight from Scotland on the royal train to spend two days in London in order to appoint a new prime minister and swear in new cabinet ministers.

Instead however, it is thought that she will use the coronavirus pandemic precedence of swearing in cabinet appointments via video link to allow her to remain on Deeside while the new No 10 incumbent sets up their administration.

The Queen’s health issues

The change to the plans for overseeing the shift in administration from Boris Johnson to either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak is the latest in a series of alterations or cancellations made by the Queen.

Last month, the elderly monarch cancelled a public traditional welcome that she has held for decades to mark her stay at Balmoral.

She would usually inspect a guard of honour from Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

However, the palace said the change was being made "in line with adapting Her Majesty's schedule for her comfort”, with a private event inside the castle said to have replaced the usual pomp and ceremony.

In June, Elizabeth II ended up recording a video in which she ate marmalade sandwiches with Paddington Bear, which was played during a concert at Buckingham Palace to mark her Platinum Jubilee as she was not up to attending in person.

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It came after she had missed a number of events due to mobility issues.

In April, she missed the annual Royal Maundy Service for what was believed to have been only the fifth time during her seven-decade reign.

The month prior, the Queen cancelled her appearance at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey and other royals represented her instead.

She battled Covid-19 in February and had a number of days in hospital in October 2021, causing her to cancel a host of events, including original plans for her to appear at the climate change Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The Queen had intended to attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall last November as she does every year, but the monarch pulled out due to a back sprain.


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