What if Queen Elizabeth was too ill to carry out her duties?
Following news of Queen Elizabeth’s positive coronavirus test on Sunday, people expressed concern about the health of the hugely popular sovereign, as well as the future of the monarchy, which is grappling with scandals big and small.
According to Buckingham Palace, if the Queen is forced to suspend her official duties due to illness or being abroad, two or more Councilors of State can act on her behalf.
These advisers include the sovereign’s wife – which is not the case for the Queen as her husband, Prince Philip, died last year – and the next four people in the line of succession, who will be appointed when they turn 21. The four advisors are currently Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince William and Prince Harry.
But royal experts say among them only Prince Charles and Prince William are likely to take some responsibility.
Prince Andrew has been stripped of all public office and military titles after a sexual assault lawsuit was admitted. He has since settled down.
Peter Hunt, a formal BBC Royal Correspondent, wrote on Twitter that the “public does not condone Prince Andrew’s promotion”.
And Prince Harry is not in the UK as he has moved to California with his family.
Victoria Howard, a royal expert and founder of the news website The ChroniclesHe said Harry “has his own issue” with his safety and that of his family. “I don’t think he would come back,” she said.
Last week, London’s Metropolitan Police announced an investigation into a charity run by Prince Charles. He has denied any knowledge of the alleged crimes and Ms Howard said the investigation would not affect his ability to carry out royal duties unless police discover awareness or crime.
Following the announcement of the Queen’s infection, Buckingham Palace issued a series of assurances about her health and ability to work. The palace said in a statement that she had only mild symptoms and would “continue to do light duties.” Shortly after the positive test was announced The palace said the Queen had sent a congratulatory message to British curling teamsafter the women’s team won a gold medal and the men’s silver at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Despite the encouraging signs, the coronavirus infection added new health concerns to the Queen, who is 95 and recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
Emerging with a cane this week, she joked with visitors about her restricted movement.
Robert Jobson, a royal biographer, said he was confident there was no need for a replacement for the queen as Buckingham Palace said she had only mild symptoms. If her situation was serious, he said, “they would have just said she had signed Covid.”
But he added that given her age, some concerns remained.
“If any 95-year-old, almost 96, signs Covid,” Jobson said, “that’s a cause for concern.”