On Thursday, she chose to visit her horses in private rather than attend the first day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show. She was expected to drive a short drive from Windsor Castle to the showground to watch her horse, the first recipient, compete in the Thoroughbred Series playoffs.
The parade is one of the Queen’s favorite events this year. She has attended every year since it began as a wartime fundraising event in 1943.
Then on Friday she suddenly appeared in the front seat of a Range Rover by the track and then, with the help of a walking stick, into the stands. Onlookers cheered her when they noticed her presence.
She is now expected to be seen at just two events to celebrate her 70th birthday next month: The Trooping of the Color, for the famous family portrait on the palace balcony, and a Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral. If you’ve attended the Epsom derby, you’ll likely be in a more casual capacity, sitting in the royal box without any of the pomp and celebrating the arrival in a horse-drawn carriage down the famous road.
She will watch an homage concert and “People’s Pageant” from the comfort of her room. Sir Cliff Richard, 81, will take the title role on the fourth jubilee of his long career, aboard a double-decker open-top bus through the streets of London.
He will be joined by celebrities including Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons and English soccer hero Gary Lineker, with a show featuring TV personality Basil Burch and an array of corgi puppets.
Ed Sheeran will give the big concert in front of Buckingham Palace. A popular fan of the rhythms of classic shows, along with the music of her youth in wartime, Queen’s favorite artist is Duke Ellington. She may not stay for ed.
Robert Jobson, veteran royal commentator in London Evening StandardFor the majority of her subjects, she says, the Queen’s reassuring and measured tones at Christmas and state occasions “gave us every confidence.”
“At 96, it’s definitely time for us to be there for her,” he says. “She shouldn’t constantly wait to make statements about ‘would you, wouldn’t you’ at a particular event. It’s neither right nor appropriate.”
Jobson says that while planners in London prepare for the jubilee celebrations, the British royal family and government should seize the moment to bring matters to a head. The Queen has already announced that she wants Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to become the Queen’s wife when Charles becomes king, he says. She also urged Commonwealth leaders to support Charles as their next president when the time came.
“She will remain our Queen, but she should not be expected to continue to carry out the mental and material requirements of a constitutional head of state,” he adds.
“Charles, 73, is the best prepared monarch ever. He is a man of vision. He is, like his mother, loyal and devoted.
“At the age of ninety-six, the Queen should be free to relax and spend time doing exactly what she pleases. She deserves the opportunity to step aside while retaining her crown, and to let Charles take charge in the twilight of her illustrious reign. The end of the Jubilee celebrations may be the time to do so. “.
One of her confidants, her longtime seamstress Angela Kelly, has revealed in recent weeks the Queen’s struggle with grief following the death of her husband Prince Philip last year.
In an updated version of her memoirs, Kelly recalled how the Queen chose to remain alone in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s funeral.
“I helped her put on her coat and hat and no words were spoken,” she said.
Then the Queen walked into her sitting-room, shut the door behind her, and was alone with her own thoughts.
We should not be surprised. By the time Queen Victoria reached her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, she was also having problems with mobility. In her case, an arthritic hip rendered her nearly immobile at the age of 78.
For this year’s events, the Queen will not use the Golden State Coach as she leads the Platinum Jubilee Pageant Parade, and will instead travel by car to St Paul’s Thanksgiving Service, arriving at an easier entrance than the Great West Door.
Joe Little, managing editor at Majesty Magazinesays the Queen’s increasingly rare appearances had a “great imperative” in regard to her age.
He said Charles giving the Queen’s address this week was “another part of his training”, albeit a duty he might not have wanted to do under the circumstances.
“And that’s the future as I really see it,” Little says. “We won’t see it but sometimes, we might see it.”
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