The scandal surrounding Prince Andrew’s friendship with disgraced financier, the late Jeffrey Epstein, meant 2019 was a tricky year for Her Majesty, but 2020 is proving to be equally challenging.
- Following speculation the Queen is getting ready to retire, Ingrid Seward – editor-in-chief of Majesty – looks at the signs
- Ingrid says that, despite the pandemic, Her Majesty isn’t ready to step down just yet, even though she ‘trusts Kate and William’
- In other royal news, this is why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are returning to the UK
Just weeks after Prince Harry and Meghan quit royal duties, a pandemic sent the country into lockdown – forcing the Queen and Prince Philip to isolate in Windsor Castle.
But amid speculation that she’s about to pass the crown on to Charles, Ingrid Seward, Editor- in-Chief of Majesty, tells our sister publication Woman she doesn’t think the Queen is prepared to give it up just yet…
The simple life
With a significant number of summer engagements cancelled, including Trooping the Colour and the annual Birthday Honours list, the Queen has had spare time on her hands. It’s reported she is enjoying daily horse rides, and the Palace released new pictures of her looking healthy and happy in the saddle in May.
While this new pace of life may be unfamiliar territory for the usually busy monarch, Ingrid admits the break was well needed. ‘I don’t think the Queen knows how to take it easy, but the break must have done her good,’ she explains. ‘For the first time in her life since she became Queen in 1952, she has been able to do the things she enjoys without an appointment diary hovering over her.’
To stay or go?
Despite constant rumours that the Queen might abdicate in favour of Charles upon her 95th birthday next year, Ingrid says, ‘The Royal Family need her more than ever as she is a constant in most people’s lives, and to lose her would be very unsettling.’
It appears the move will be just as difficult for the Queen, who took on sovereign duty in 1952 and has served the country ever since. But with a taste of retirement in recent months, as well as plenty of time to spend on her favourite hobbies, could the Queen reverse her pledge to serve for as long as she is able?
Ingrid thinks not, saying, ‘The Queen won’t step down, as she took the religious oath at her coronation that as an anointed Queen, she would do her duty as long as she was fit and able to do so. And she is!’
Harry and Meghan’s decision to quit royal life, as well as Prince Andrew stepping back from duties last year, has certainly kept the famous family on their toes. But, from serving in a world war to her annus horribilis in 1992, life under pressure is something the Queen is all too familiar with.
Ingrid says, ‘The monarchy has survived so many scandals, I don’t think Andrew and Harry and Meghan are any worse.’
Nevertheless, most remaining royals have worked overtime throughout the pandemic, with William and Kate making regular TV and Zoom appearances, while Charles, who tested positive for COVID-19 himself, has taken part in virtual engagements from his Scottish home, Birkhall. So is the crown in safe hands?
‘The public don’t share the same love for Prince Charles as they do for his mother but, in the last few months, he has gained popularity by appearing more involved – and so has Camilla.’ There is some confusion around will Camilla be Queen one day, but contrary to some speculation, Clarence House has previously confirmed that Camilla will act as Queen Consort – she will not be a monarch like Queen Elizabeth II.
Ingrid adds: ‘I think [Her Majesty] also feels the future of the monarchy is in safe hands now with William and Kate.’
Although it’s been months since the Queen has been able to appear in public, she has played a vital role in uniting the country through this difficult time, most recently addressing the nation on the 75th anniversary of VE Day. She also continues to carry out duties that don’t involve public appearances, including her weekly phone calls with the Prime Minister.
But, with many fearing for the post-lockdown well-being of the elderly, it seems unlikely the 94-year-old will be able to resume her previous schedule – and Ingrid agrees. ‘It is all in the balance, but she will be back and visible as soon as she’s allowed to be so.’