The Queen had to rest ‘reluctantly’ on doctor’s orders last night after 19 official engagements since the beginning of the month.
While royal aides insisted there was no cause for concern about the 95-year-old monarch’s health, they had to cancel a two-day visit to Northern Ireland at 11 a.m. yesterday.
The Daily Mail understands that the Queen’s engagements were only called off in the morning, hours before she was due to arrive by plane.
The decision was so last minute that palace staff were already in Belfast waiting for her to arrive.
October 7: Start of the Commonwealth Games baton relay at Buckingham Palace
October 10: En route to a service at the Royal Chapel, Windsor
October 12: 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion
Buckingham Palace said the Queen was “in good spirits” but her doctor is believed to have ordered her to rest after a slew of work commitments this month.
Including her return from Balmoral, where she spent the summer, the Queen has traveled nearly 1,000 miles since early October. Last week, she had to start using a cane in public for the first time, a stark reminder of her advancing years.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Queen has reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days. Her Majesty is in good spirits and disappointed that she can no longer visit Northern Ireland. The Queen sends her warmest congratulations to the people of Northern Ireland and looks forward to another visit.’
Royal sources told the Mail there was no cause for concern and stressed that the decision was taken purely as a ‘precautionary measure’.
There was no suggestion that the Queen had fallen ill and it was clear that her decision was not related to Covid. Obviously she got her booster shot.
October 13: Pianist Imogen Cooper presents the Queen’s Medal for Music
October 14: At the opening ceremony of the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff
October 16: Be inducted into the British Champions Series Hall of Fame at Ascot . Racecourse
But the monarch, who will celebrate her platinum anniversary next year, stoically continues to fulfill hundreds of work commitments a year — 30 years after most people retire — and suffers from recurring back pain.
On Tuesday, she hosted a summit for global investors and politicians at Windsor Castle, where she stood and shook hands for about 40 minutes, the Mail was told.
A source said she was in “sparkling shape” welcoming guests, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and US presidential envoy John Kerry, telling Kerry: “I saw you on television last night. [Prince] William’s Earthshot Prize thing.’
As part of her planned trip to Northern Ireland, she was expected to stay at Hillsborough Castle yesterday and undertake a series of public engagements there, where she would stay overnight to attend a service to mark the centenary. of Northern Ireland today.
It is highly unusual for such a large order to be canceled at the last minute, suggesting that staff are not taking any risk with the head of state’s health, even if it is as a precaution.
Royal commentator Joe Little said the Queen’s age meant that last-minute cancellations could become more frequent. The editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine said: “When you turn 95 and you have a role like the Queen, there is an inevitability of last minute cancellations. Unfortunately I think it will have to be every now and then.’
He added: “Mentally the Queen is as sharp as ever and when she gives speeches she speaks well. Every now and then there will be a reminder that she’s 95 and she can’t do what was expected of her ten, twenty years ago.’
October 19: She receives EU Ambassador Joao de Almeida and colleague Ana Jara de Carvalho via video link from Windsor Castle
October 19: Greet Guests with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a Reception for the Global Investment Summit
Mr Little said he believed the Queen would make fewer public appointments to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee than she would to her Diamond Jubilee.
And he said he didn’t believe she would agree to allow Charles to take over the duties as Prince Regent unless there was a “serious deterioration” in her health.
The Queen is expected to rest in Windsor Castle and aides said there were no plans to cancel her participation in events ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow at the end of this month.
She will likely continue to hold private meetings at Windsor Castle next week, but has no public appointments.
Her doctor’s advice will amplify the call from her and her advisors to reconsider the number of assignments she takes on. She has made “tweaks” in the schedule and has delegated heavier public duties, such as investitures, to other senior royals.
But there are some tasks that only the reigning monarch can perform. In recent weeks she has traveled to Holyrood and Cardiff to attend the opening of the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, participated in the tree planting at Balmoral and launched the Commonwealth Games baton relay at Buckingham Palace.
Last week she used a walking stick for the first time at a public event – at a Royal British Legion centenary service. She has also participated in several audience groups in Windsor.
A royal source said: “With her platinum anniversary on the horizon, many think her private office might need to take another look at the diary.”
Another source said, “Nobody is telling her to take a step back, but maybe another small step to the side is in order.”