bitchy | Buckingham Palace accused of ‘misleading the nation’ on the Queen’s health
Well, this is certainly an interesting turn of events. The knives are out for Queen Elizabeth’s courtiers all of a sudden! It all started because the Queen has clearly been feeling poorly in recent weeks, and it all came to a head last Tuesday, when she was supposed to set off for a two-day trip to Northern Ireland. The Queen cancelled the trip at the last minute, and now as it turns out, she was taken to the hospital soon after. She spent the night in the hospital on Tuesday, and she was back at Windsor Castle on Wednesday. The palace only released the information about the hospitalization late Thursday, and they only did that because the Sun had the scoop and they were about to run it (Who leaked it? A question for another time.) So, basically, the palace is being accused of a cover-up. The palace should have informed everyone that the head of state was in the hospital overnight.
Buckingham Palace was accused yesterday of misleading the nation over the state of the Queen’s health. Commentators including BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell questioned whether the palace had undermined public trust by failing to reveal she had been taken to hospital. The 95-year-old monarch was admitted to King Edward VII’s on Wednesday afternoon and stayed there overnight for tests.
The palace’s communications team told journalists the Queen had remained at Windsor Castle. However on Thursday night – more than 24 hours later – it confirmed she had been taken to the private hospital in London.
Unusually, the royal standard remained flying at Windsor on Wednesday, even after the Queen had left. The flag represents the sovereign and is flown only when she is present. A royal source denied it was kept aloft as part of a cover-up and said the standard did not move to every building she visited. The source said Windsor had remained the Queen’s residence, despite the overnight trip. Mr Witchell insisted journalists – and the public – ‘weren’t given the complete picture’. He added: ‘The problem, it seems to me, is that rumour and misinformation always thrive in the absence of proper, accurate and trustworthy information.’
Peter Hunt, a royal commentator and former BBC journalist, claimed there had been a ‘failed attempt’ to cover up the hospital admission. He said: ‘The media’s faith in the veracity of royal communications will have been sorely tested by the failed attempt to hide the fact the Queen spent a night in hospital. Buckingham Palace can ill afford a breakdown in trust, given all they’re dealing with.’
Palace officials are generally reluctant to disclose information relating to health matters because the Royal Family is entitled to privacy and medical confidentiality. But updates are usually provided if a senior royal is admitted to hospital, and the health of the monarch is of constitutional significance. As head of state, the Queen’s health has been subject to intense scrutiny, which increases as she gets older. The revelation that she had needed to be seen by specialists in hospital – her first overnight stay for eight years – has fuelled public concern about her health.
Mr Witchell told BBC Breakfast: ‘We are told that she’s back at Windsor Castle, undertaking light duties. Well, we must hope that we can place reliance on what the palace is telling us.’ Royal expert and biographer Ingrid Seward said: ‘They did mislead the media. I think they were trying to protect the Queen, because she would not have wanted a fuss, but it was misleading.’
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, added: ‘The Queen does have a right to a certain degree of privacy, but on the other hand she’s head of state. So does that entitle us to know exactly what ailments she may or may not have? It’s a very difficult one to get the balance right for the satisfaction of everybody.’
The bad news is that I agree with the fussy old royal commentators. It was bad enough when Prince William spent months covering up the fact that he had a bad case of Covid in the spring of 2020, but he had a better argument for medical privacy given that he’s only the second in line to the throne. I would still argue that William, Charles and the Queen should all be doing full-disclosures on the medical situations to the media, but it’s markedly different when you’re talking about the Queen specifically. She IS the head of state. No one has asked for every detail of her medical chart, but it’s perfectly reasonable to expect the public to get updated when the Queen is hospitalized!
Once again, this just proves how everything is a clownshow in Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace. These people are not competent, forward-thinking, crisis-managing adults. They behave like dumb children who can’t think six hours ahead. What did the palace courtiers think was going to happen? That they would be able to cover up the Queen’s hospitalization indefinitely and it would never get leaked? Are they truly not aware that Charles and William will leak sh-t about anyone?
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) October 22, 2021
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.