Buckingham Palace insisted Anne’s withdrawal was due to “coronavirus travel restrictions”.
Still, New Idea’s royal sources wonder if there’s more to the story, given Anne rarely misses such important events, especially when she’s attending on behalf of her 95-year-old mother, the Queen.
“That was a total shock,” tells the insider. “Everyone thought Anne would be desperate to get out to Beijing ... as both a royal and a member of the IOC.
“Yes, she’s still attending a few local events, but she’s definitely reined it in a lot lately.”
A second insider says Anne has been laying low at her Gatcombe Park home with her husband, Sir Tim Laurence, and spending time with her five grandchildren. However, that’s not to say she’s put her feet up entirely!
“Anne is working just as diligently as she usually does – this time it’s behind the scenes on some top-secret projects,” says the insider. “The Queen values her opinion and has asked her to go over new security plans with a fine-tooth comb in conjunction with police protection officers, after some recent breaches.”
Anne is well-versed in security scares, having been the victim of a failed kidnapping attempt in 1974.
She’s also using the time to come up with ways to relaunch the royal family in her mother’s jubilee year. Anne is eager to show the public that the controversies of the last 24 months – namely the Sussexes’ exit and Prince Andrew’s ongoing court scandal – are behind them.
“Anne’s promised she’ll be back pounding the pavement soon enough,” adds the source.
Read more in this week's New Idea, on sale now.