Why You Won’t Be Seeing the ‘Frail’ Queen Using a Wheelchair at Philip’s Memorial Service

Steve Parsons / Getty Images
Steve Parsons / Getty Images

In scenes more typically associated with celebrity weddings that have been bought up by supermarket tabloids, the queen will be spirited into the church holding her late husband’s memorial service next week using a helicopter, a secret back entrance, and a plastic tunnel to avoid pictures of her looking frail from emerging and spooking the nation.

The claims of a “military-style plan,” in British newspaper the Sun, have emerged amid an upsurge of chatter about the 95-year old queen’s health, which has triggered concern that she may not be able to attend some key elements of her platinum jubilee celebration this summer.

MailOnline additionally claims that Her Majesty, who turns 96 next month, is “haunted” by images of her sister, Princess Margaret, using a wheelchair in the last years of her life.

The Sun says the queen, who was recently filmed admitting to mobility issues, quipping to defense chiefs, “I can’t move,” and pointing at her feet, is opposed to using a wheelchair to enter Westminster Abbey for Philip’s memorial service next Monday. However a source told the Sun that if she did need a wheelchair, it would only be used out of view of cameras, either behind screens or once inside the Abbey, which she will enter via a side door in an area called Poets’ Corner.

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The queen, who is living in Windsor Castle, will be flown to London by helicopter, taking a 15-minute trip to Buckingham Palace, which is only a short drive to Westminster Abbey. She may also be seated before other guests arrive, rather than entering last as per royal tradition.

Will the Queen Ever Live at Buckingham Palace Again?

The new plans emerged after the queen, who recently caught coronavirus, failed to attend the annual Commonwealth ceremony last week due to health concerns. A source told the Sun her aides “couldn’t take her all that distance as it’s very uncomfortable in all that traffic.”

The Sun’s source said that the queen’s mobility “varies,” saying; “Some days she can walk around easily. Other days she cannot. It varies from day to day… She can get out of the car in private with her walking stick and there are efforts being made to keep photographers away. But if she needs the wheelchair, then that must be done behind screens or once she is in the side entrance.”

The Daily Beast understands from sources that there is now considerable anxiety among the queen’s inner circle about whether or not she will be able to attend many of the major public set-pieces planned for her jubilee, including a church service and a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace in June.

The run-up to the jubilee risks being overshadowed by ongoing speculation about her failing health, and questions about whether Prince Harry will snub the events by not attending.

Harry has said he will not be attending next week’s memorial and his daughter, Lilibet, has yet to meet the grandmother whom she is named after.

Harry told a British court, where he is fighting to have police protection reinstated when in the U.K., that he did not feel safe in the U.K., and that this had impeded his ability to bring his wife and children to the land of his birth.

However accusations of dissembling have been leveled at Harry as it is understood that security concerns will not prevent him visiting the Netherlands next month in support of the Invictus Games, which are being filmed by Netflix, with whom Harry and Meghan have signed a valuable production deal, and several high-profile European royals have said they will attend Philip’s memorial.

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