Queen ‘on it’ but clearly not well during final meeting, says Boris Johnson

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Queen Elizabeth II with Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Queen Elizabeth II with Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has told how the Queen had been “absolutely on it” despite appearing ill during their final meeting just two days before her death.

The MP said she remained “actively focused” on both world and UK politics when he formally tendered his resignation as prime minister to her, despite being “clearly not well”.

Mr Johnson had his final audience with the Queen in Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 6 as he made way for Liz Truss to succeed him in Downing Street.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

The Conservative backbencher, who was the 14th prime minister of the monarch’s 70-year reign, said he was moved by her “sense of duty” during their meeting.

He told the BBC: “One of the reasons it was so shocking on the eighth to hear about her death was because in that audience she had been absolutely on it. Just two days before her death.

“She was actively focused on geopolitics, on UK politics, quoting statesmen from the 50s, it was quite extraordinary.

“She seemed very bright, very focused. Look, she was clearly not well, I think that was the thing I found so moving when we all heard about her death two days later.

“I just thought how incredible that her sense of duty had kept her going in the way that it had, given how ill she obviously was, how amazing that she should be so bright and so focussed. So it was a pretty emotional time.”

Mr Johnson, who was forced to resign after a series of scandals, including partygate, has been prominent among the politicians paying tribute to the Queen after her death on Thursday.