It was important that we saw the Queen appointing the new prime minister

·2-min read

In front of the fireplace in her drawing room at Balmoral Castle, the Queen looked more a picture of a smiling grandmother than formal head of state as she was dressed in her tartan skirt and cardigan, her usual clothes for her Scottish retreat.

But despite recent concerns about her health, Her Majesty had still wanted to appoint her 15th prime minister in person, her advisers wanting to show she is more than capable of still doing the job.

Louise Tait, the former Scottish communications secretary to the Queen, said to me: "I think what we've seen today is what we'd normally see at Buckingham Palace, the pictures are no more or no less.

"And the Royal Family, especially Her Majesty, operate under the premise 'see and be seen', so that is indeed what has happened today. The official work continues, that's what the monarchy is about - it's about that continuity."

And it was important that we did see her. Her last official public engagement was in July with her daughter Princess Anne, before she came up to Balmoral for her summer break.

Since then no photographs of her have been published, although photographers have taken pictures of her out walking with her dogs.

The fact that she didn't travel to London today, coupled with her deciding not to go with Prince Charles and Camilla to her usual favourite last weekend, the Braemar Games, has again made some question whether she is okay.

But there are no suggestions she's deteriorated, more a sense that we all need to get used to the fact she can't quite do as much anymore. We saw it on the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

The crowds were delighted to see her on the balcony on the Thursday and lighting the first beacon, but it took it out of her; she had to rest on the Friday and the Saturday while her family took up the official work.

On the day she said goodbye to her 14th prime minister and welcomed her 15th, there will be all kinds of comparisons about the two individuals, what they will mean for the country, and inevitably how the Queen looked as she conducted those audiences.

What hasn't changed between the start of Boris Johnson's premiership in 2019 and now the beginning of Liz Truss's is the Queen's determination to keep working in any way she can, even at 96.