Speculation has been rife about the Queen’s health in recent months as the monarch has been absent at some of the biggest events on the royal calendar. Her Majesty, 95, who has only recently recovered from a back sprain and coronavirus, did not attend the Commonwealth Day service on Monday for the first time in a decade.
She was represented at Westminster Abbey by her son, Prince Charles, along with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The annual Commonwealth service was the latest in a string of events at which the monarch has been represented by other senior royals, raising concerns about her health.
Royal observers have said that the great grandmother, now nearly 96 years old, is struggling with her mobility, prompting the Palace to make concessions to ensure she doesn’t overexert herself as she marks her Platinum Jubilee year.
Palace aides are adapting her schedule to ensure she can still attend the most important events, including a service of thanksgiving for the life of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in March, which she is said to be “determined” to attend.
Having started using a walking stick last October, there are reports she may soon have to use a wheelchair, according to the Telegraph.
A veteran royal reporter and author Phil Dampier told the Telegraph: “It’s quite simple, really. She’s finding it extremely difficult to walk or stand for long periods.
“She will make a huge effort to attend the Prince Philip memorial, but they will have to make allowances for her – and no one will begrudge it. She’s nearly 96.”
The Palace is looking to curtail appearances that require the Queen to walk long distances or stand for long periods of time after the monarch herself admitted to a pair of military visitors at Windsor Castle last month: “As you can see, I can’t move.”
The Queen’s workload has been “under review” and she is unlikely to undertake some major public engagements such as investitures again, one source told the Mail Online.
Palace sources have stressed that she is not ill and is “as committed to her duties of state as ever”.
READ MORE: Two reasons why Princess Anne could be the Queen’s favourite child
But the monarch herself, as well as those closest to her, are said to have accepted that the “frailties that come with living a long life” are finally catching up with her.
Palace insiders are reportedly making adaptations to the monarch’s schedule to make her engagements as comfortable as possibly, including shortening the distance she has to walk and cutting down meet-and-greet demands in front of cameras.
Aides are also thought to be trying to avoid long journeys, with the two-hour round trip from Windsor to London thought to be one of the reasons the Queen did not attend the Commonwealth Day service.
Following news the monarch will never move back into Buckingham Palace, instead remaining at Windsor Castle, it became clear her audiences would change accordingly.
Royal Family LIVE: Queen’s ‘secret weapon’ steps up [LIVE]
Prince Edward branded ‘pompous and arrogant’ after rare interview [LATEST]
Kate and William’s marriage must maintain three key points to survive [INSIGHT]
The Prime Minister will meet her there rather than the Palace for their weekly meetings, while many ambassadors and high commissioners have become used to speaking with the monarch via video call rather than in person.
One royal source said the days of the Queen dashing to all corners of the country each day for countless royal engagements are over.
The source told the Telegraph: “It’s about pacing her diary now.
“She has said herself that she is as committed to service as ever, but that will have to take a slightly different form.”