Royal insider
The Australian Women's Weekly|December 2021
Behind Palace gates with Juliet Rieden

“Following medical advice to rest for a few days, The Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits.”

This was the message I received from a Buckingham Palace spokesman as The Weekly was going to press, and while further investigation underlined that concern and conjecture about the overnight stay was neither necessary nor appropriate, the issue wasn’t so much about HM’s health but why the Palace had not told us at the time.

Her Majesty was last admitted to hospital in 2013, so a trip demanding tests that couldn’t be attended to by the Queen’s personal medical team was surely noteworthy. Earlier on the same day of her hospital visit, the Palace had announced that the Queen had cancelled an official trip to Northern Ireland. It was all very last minute and of course prompted enquiries from royal reporters around the world, myself included.

A statement was released. Her Majesty had “reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest” and while “disappointed”, she was “in good spirits. [She] sends her warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland, and looks forward to visiting in the future.” The Palace was keen to note that COVID was not a cause and that the monarch was resting at home.

So, when it turned out that Her Majesty had actually been admitted to hospital, a right royal kerfuffle ensued. “We weren’t being given the complete picture,” suggested BBC TV’s veteran correspondent Nicholas Witchell, whose line was “that rumour and misinformation always thrives in the absence of proper, accurate and trustworthy information”.

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