Outlying Scottish churches generally don’t feature prominently in the history books, but Crathie Kirk, which dates back to 1805, is hardly your usual little house of God and all. It was there in 1992 that Princess Anne married Sir Tim Laurence, her mother’s equerry, after a years-long affair (you didn’t think she had what it takes to be so outrageous, did you?).
And it was at the church that in 1997, hours after learning that their mother Princess Diana had been murdered in Paris just hours earlier, two teenage princes were forced to attend a service that reportedly made no mention of their unimaginable loss.
While not exactly on the same level, Crathie Kirk, who is just outside the Queen’s Scottish Holiday Home Balmoralonce again turns out to be the setting for royal drama.
In normal times, the area’s most famous parishioner can be guaranteed to be seen pulling into the driveway in her stately custom-built Bentley every Sunday during rain, hail or brewing family crisis. (In 2019, the Queen famously took her errant son Prince Andrew to church for the service the same weekend that his former boyfriend, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein took his own life.)
But in the latest sign that we’re long gone now, Her Majesty has not once taken her place in the pews, despite being on the spot at her Balmoral estate since July 21 (which was also the last time since she has been seen publicly).
This news now joins the sad, ever-growing list of new reports and details that have emerged that together paint a picture of a matriarch and head of state for whom her advanced years seem to be quickly catching up.
Over the weekend, the news from Aberdeenshire in Scotland (royal population: one) was not good.
For almost a year, unspecified”episodic mobility problems” have baffled the usual rebellious monarch, who has even seen her relying on a walking stick in public. (Probably useful for getting the remote and keeping the corgis in line too.)
However, in recent weeks there has been a “change” in her mobility, the Daily mail has reported, which has led her to “rest” more.
There are other indications that things have taken a turn for the worse since the start of her annual Scottish holiday.
It had only been a few weeks since the line coming out of London was for the 96-year-old to come from Balmoral next week to bid farewell to outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, no doubt to check he hadn’t nicked one. the good harbor on the way out. She would then use her royal privilege to “invite” the new conservative party leader to take over the reins of the country.
Now, that seems to be off the map, with the… Mail citing a “well-placed source” who says her health problems may now “make it unlikely” that she will make the trip south. (Watch out for an announcement on that front this week.)
Likewise, the Telegraph has reported that “she has been advised not to make the 1000-mile round trip for the short ceremony and photo interview” because her ongoing mobility problems “have made traveling difficult”.
As things stand, the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss of Rishi Sunak, will instead travel north to meet her at Balmoral, the first time Her Majesty has taken on this task outside Buckingham Palace in 1970. year.
The last time a British sovereign did his royal part with a new prime minister away from the monarchy’s headquarters was in 1908 when the newly elected Henry Asquith had to rush to Biarritz in France, where Edward VII, Her Majesty’s great-grandfather set the sun. and drinking Bordeaux.
If the ceremonial torch transfer takes place in Scotland next week, the symbolism wouldn’t be lost on anyone.
Sadly, that’s not all the bad news coming out of Balmoral with the Sun have also reported that Prince Charles has made daily “very unusual” visits to see Her Majesty.
Clearly, his care for his mother trumps cozy mornings at home in his nearby estate Birkhall, where he re-catalogs his seed collection as his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, plows through the latest Anthony Horowitz mystery while simultaneously juggling a lit cigarette, a G&T and several Jack Russells.
Changes of plans? Concerned relatives? No church? Obviously, this all comes down to a definite “uh oh” status.
As things stand, we’ll get a clearer picture of how things really stand with the Queen next Saturday, UK time, when the annual Braemar Gathering, aka the Highland Games, kicks off . Her Majesty, with popular coughing sports like the caber throw, is an ingrained figure at the event she is known to love.
(Like the Windsor Horse Show and Royal Ascot, the Queen loves the tartan-required outing, and the event is the only non-horse related outing where you’re guaranteed to see Her Majesty in the best fettles and with a whooping good time. )
If the non-year-old isn’t in her usual spot on the Braemar stage this weekend, with a blanket wrapped around her knees and several dignitaries carefully keeping their kilts in place, that’s the surest sign that the situation is worrying.
In terms of outings, this year’s Scottish jaunt was far from great for Her Majesty.
Last week the Sun also reported that she and her abhorrent son (in my opinion) Prince Andrew was locked in “intense talks” about his future because the imbecility (again, my opinion) royal still thinks there is a way back from infamy and his bank to public life. (The odds of that are about as good as the Duchess of York relinquishing all her worldly goods to join a silent monastic order with no Wi-Fi.)
Andrew’s CPR plan has also attracted his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. The Sun has reported that the York pair have “begged” their Uncle Charles to let Andrew perform official duties one more time, only to be told “there’s no chance”.
Google good luck girls. I think they’d be luckier to get their mom back in one of her 80s fuzzy skirts or convince the 86-year-old Duke of Kent to join TikTok than to bring back their disgraced dad get into the royal working ranks.
And all this is happening with Hurricane Sussex about to blow over the Atlantic.
Next week, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will return to the British shores for their first real visit of their own volition since they unceremoniously walked away from their Palace posts in 2020. With two charity events planned in Britain and one in Germany. journey is starting to look like a quasi-royal event of their own creation.
Are Netflix cameras coming in tow? Will they deign to visit his ailing grandmother? And how many crates of designer clothes will it take for Meghan, whose recent trips to The Hague and New York have given her multiple expensive looks every day? (Harry only seems to have two polo shirts and one suit, so he could probably pack his entire travel wardrobe into a recycled Wholefoods paper bag.)
The poor queen. At her age, she probably just wants the chance to read some Dick Francis and work her way through an oversized tray of English fudge without anyone coming in and whining that she’s not a Royal Colonel or a new Prime Minister coming over to the keys to 10 Downing Street or one of her courtiers who have to explain to her what a podcast is and why Meghan makes one.
sigh. At least Her Majesty has a good, long session of caber toss to look forward to — fingers, toes, and her go-to tartan blanket all crossed that she can make it.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years experience working with a number of leading Australian media titles.
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