What a week it’s been for the Royal Family and what a start to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
In the past ten days her son and heir Prince Charles, and her daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall have both had COVID-19, Prince Andrew has signed what’s rumoured to be a multi-million pound agreement to settle his sex abuse civil case, the Met Police have confirmed they’re investigating cash for honours claims within Prince Charles’s charitable foundation and Prince Harry has started his case against the Home Office over police protection for his family.
So the last thing anyone needed, not least the Queen, was for Her Majesty to test positive for coronavirus.
Given she is 95-years-old, turning 96 in April, it’s obviously concerning, but the palace insist she is only suffering mild symptoms.
It’s worth saying that in the past they may not have even told us that she’d got it.
They are a family that like to keep their medical matters private.
We didn’t find out when Prince William had COVID and the Queen is not due to carry out any public engagements until the 2nd of March.
But the criticism they got for not publicly saying that William had it and the outrage when they didn’t announce last year that the Queen had spent a night in hospital probably meant in some ways that their hand was forced.
No one would want that leaking out.
In a world of speculation and the understandable concern that comes with the monarch being unwell, especially after her ill health last year, it can be tricky for the palace and that’s why we keep getting messages of reassurance, some more subtle than others.
They say she wants to keep on with the light duties, she’s got cold-like symptoms and, I’m told, her message this afternoon congratulating the GB curling team on their gold medal she personally signed off this morning.
With her son, daughter-in-law and, I’m told, other members of the Windsor team having COVID, it was probably inevitable that we’d get this news.
What’s also inevitable is that we won’t get a running commentary on how she is.
That’s just not how things are done.