Her Majesty, 95, most recently accepted medical advice to rest, rather than travel to the UN climate change conference in Glasgow as planned. Royal historian Anna Whitelock told Express.co.uk: “The Queen has always expressed a wish to be seen – she believes that you have to be seen to be believed.”
She added: “I think she wants to be out in public, and the very extent of the engagements that she’s had since the end of the lockdown is evidence of that.”
The Queen has maintained a dizzyingly busy itinerary of royal engagements, particularly since she returned from her annual summer break at her Balmoral estate.
In October, at least 16 royal engagements were penned into her official diary, including hosting a Global Investment Summit at Windsor Castle.
She welcomed Bill Gates and US special envoy for climate, John Kerry, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
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Professor Whitelock cautioned: “But of course, that also has to be balanced against the advice of her doctors, which clearly was to slow down, so she had to reluctantly, and correctly, pull out of the trip to Northern Ireland and COP26.
“So I think if the Queen has her way, she will be out and about again, but obviously that has to be balanced by doctors’ orders.”
This week, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge attended the summit in her stead.
Just prior to the announcement, the Queen was admitted to hospital in central London for preliminary medical checks, quickly returning to her home at Windsor after a brief overnight stay.
This was the first time that Her Majesty had used a walking stick for “comfort”, and catalysed fears surrounding the monarch’s health.
Adapting her hectic schedule to medical advice, which the Queen “reluctantly” accepted, according to Buckingham Palace, a number of adaptations have been introduced into the Queen’s calendar of royal engagements.
Her Majesty still managed to be visible to the public despite her doctors’ orders to prioritise rest, taking to virtual platforms to speak with diplomats, guests and audiences across the world.
Professor Whitelock said: “The question will be: how much of the changes that are brought in, or have been brought in over the last few years, remain.
“For example, the use of Zoom for royal audiences and when the monarch has been in many ways abroad, whilst at home.
“So, questions about how often the monarch will go abroad in the future – these are questions which remain to be asked.”
However, although the Queen has remained firmly in the public eye, and battled with health concerns, Professor Whitelock pointed out: “In the last few years really, Charles and William have been doing more anyway.”
The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge took to the COP26 stage to deliver powerful addresses on climate change action, a cause close to both of their hearts.
But, according to Professor Whitelock, the Queen will not be content to stand by and have other senior royals doing all the monarchy’s legwork.
She added: “I think that will continue, but I think, if her health allows, the Queen will absolutely want to be out doing something, and doesn’t want to back away and retreat.”