Her Majesty, along with husband Prince Philip, has been in self-isolation at Windsor Castle since March 19. Prior to that, her last public appearance was in London on March 9 at the Commonwealth Service held at Westminster Abbey.
Palace officials confirmed that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would be staying put at Windsor Castle out of concern for their safety during the health crisis.
The official added that they are following “appropriate advice on engagements”, with a royal source telling the Sunday Times the Queen’s future diary is currently empty.
“We haven’t cancelled a load of engagements, but nothing is going into Her Majesty’s diary at the moment,” the royal insider revealed.
“I don’t think we’ll see her again for a while,” added another palace insider.
In usual times, the Queen would return to Buckingham Palace in May and stay there until retreating to Balmoral in July for a summer break.
Typically, at this time of year there would be a number of royal engagements on the calendar, including Trooping the Colour, the Order of the Garter Service, and the Queen’s beloved summer garden parties. However, these have all been cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
A planned state visit from South Africa is also on hold and investitures are reportedly being rearranged to later dates.
For the first time in 27 years, Buckingham Palace will be closed to the public over the summer months.
This months-long absence from public life is believed to be the longest throughout the Queen’s illustrious 68-year reign.
Nevertheless, the royal source confirmed it’s ultimately for the Queen’s own wellbeing to forgo being a public presence.
“The Queen won’t do anything which goes against the advice for people in her [age] category and she’s going to take all the appropriate advice,” says the source.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent announcement of an isolation exit strategy for the UK, the palace insider added that there have already been early discussions about what royal events might proceed in the latter months of the year.
But the insider adds that given the Queen’s advanced age, they won’t be rushing her out anytime soon.
Royal biographer Andrew Morton told The Sun there’s even a possibility the elderly monarch may never return to in-person public engagements.
“It’s terribly sad but I can’t see how the Queen can resume her usual job,” the author told the UK newspaper.
The writer, who penned Diana: Her True Story, suggested that in the future, the Queen may only be visible via TV or video links.
“The COVID-19 virus isn’t going away soon and will be with us for months, if not years,” says Morton.
“It would be far too risky for the Queen to start meeting people on a regular basis.”
Meanwhile, during these uncertain times, royal pundits have become increasingly interested in the whereabouts and contents of the Queen’s will.
Former British politician Norman Baker says many people are surprised to learn that royal wills are kept secret.
“Royal wills, unlike all other wills, are not open to the public,” he explains.
“They are kept in a metal safe behind an iron cage in Somerset House. The principle of secrecy for all royal wills was established as recently as 2002 in a secret court hearing.
“The will of Diana, Princess of Wales, was altered after her death,” he says.
“This had the effect of disinheriting her godchildren, who instead of the substantial bequests intended by Diana, instead received mere trinkets like a gift from Argos.”
As of 2019, the Queen’s net worth was estimated by Forbes at $786 million, with Norman noting that the Sovereign Grant paid to the Queen has risen more than tenfold over the past nine years to $162.9 million and adds that she also “personally pockets the millions of dollars” in entry fees paid by visitors to Buckingham Palace.
This equates to an eye watering inheritance sum to the will’s royal beneficiaries – with some speculating it amounts to well over $2 billion – but the general public will likely never know its true final value.
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