‘Resting’ Queen will not risk greeting new PM in London as health fears grow

Queen ‘struggling to stand’ says Jobson

The 96-year monarch will instead greet Boris Johnson and his successor at Balmoral next Tuesday. The Queen took the decision to provide ‘certainty’ for the new PM’s diary by refusing to risk any inconvenience should her mobility issues prevent the need for any last-minute change of plans.

It is understood that the decision was taken to provide certainty for the new Prime Minister’s diary.

The Queen, who is resting on her usual summer break, has suffered from mobility issues and it is understood the change was made to prevent the need for any last-minute rearrangements.

Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be announced as leader of the Conservative Party on Monday with the Foreign Secretary on course to become Britain’s 56th PM.

The day after Mr Johnson will make the 1,000-mile round trip to resign as PM, before his successor has an audience with the Queen. The new incumbent will be her 15th Prime Minister.

The “kissing of the hands” ceremony will mark the first time a Prime Minister has officially resigned or been appointed away from Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s 70-year reign. Although the Queen has delegated many of her roles to other memebers of the family including Prince Charle sand Prince William, there are certain constitutional functions that cannot be delegated and appointing a Prime Minister is one of them.

One Palace source said that if the Queen were to be experiencing an episodic mobility problem next week and the plan had been for her to travel to London or Windsor, it would have meant alternative arrangements being made at the last minute.

Fears over the Queen’s health have increased in recent weeks after it was reported that the Prince of Wales has been making regular morning visits to see his mother.

Royal commentator Margaret Holder said: “Next Monday is set to be a milestone in British political history with the outgoing and incoming Prime Minister visiting the Queen at Balmoral rather than the usual location of Buckingham Palace.

Queen to meet new PM in Balmoral

The Queen, who is resting on her usual summer break, has suffered from mobility issues (Image: Getty)

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“To avoid putting the Queen to the unnecessary strain of making the 800-mile round trip, the politicians will go to her for the traditional farewell of the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the introductory meeting with the new one, Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss.

“It is an understandable concession to a woman of 96 who has given this country and the Commonwealth over 70 years of service. And it also underlines her determination to do her duty as long as she is able to.”

Buckingham Palace has declined to give an ongoing commentary on the monarch’s health.

During her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Queen only travelled to Buckingham Palace twice, first for her Trooping the Colour balcony appearance and then for a finale after the pageant.

Commenting on the decision, ex-BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said: “The fact officials can’t be sure the Queen will be well enough to travel next week is yet another reminder of her advanced age and increasing frailty.

“Despite this, the Queen remains determined to carry out her core duties. Appointing a new prime minister is not something that can easily be passed to Prince Charles, a king-in-waiting.”

The Queen normally spends the months of August and September at her Highlands retreat, where she is joined by other family members at stages.

Prince William and Kate and their children, Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four, are among those who have already been to see her at Balmoral this year.

But Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not expected to visit her when they come to the UK next week for the One Young World Summit in Manchester on Monday.

But the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louise and Viscount James have been to visit the Queen, and Prince Charles is said to be visiting her daily. Prince Andrew has also been at Balmoral.

Her Majesty was last seen in public on July 21, when she flew to Aberdeen Airport to begin her annual holiday in Scotland.

Every leader bar one has been appointed at Buckingham Palace since the reign of Queen Victoria, according to constitutional expert Prof Vernon Bogdanor. The only exception was in 1908, when Herbert Henry Asquith travelled to Edward VII in the French city of Biarritz for his appointment.

Usually, the outgoing prime minister makes a statement outside Downing Street before taking their final trip as leader to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The monarch then formally dismisses them from their role.

Shortly after, the incoming prime minister is called up. When a potential prime minister is called to see the Queen, she will ask them whether they will form a government. After the new prime minister has been appointed, the Court Circular will record that “the prime minister kissed hands on appointment”.

The 96-year monarch will instead greet Boris Johnson and his successor at Balmoral

The 96-year monarch will instead greet Boris Johnson and his successor at Balmoral (Image: Getty)

This is usually a handshake, and the actual kissing of hands will take place later at the Privy Council. It is then the new leader’s turn to deliver a speech outside No 10. The audiences at Balmoral will take place in the estate’s drawing room.

Prof Bogdanor told the BBC there was “no constitutional reason” for the location of appointing a new prime minister.

He said: “The Queen would, I imagine, shake hands with the new PM and perhaps discuss the problems that will be faced.

“There is no constitutional reason why the new PM should not be appointed in Balmoral.

“Indeed, some might think it pointless for the Queen at her age to travel to London for a purely formal ceremony.”

The Prime Ministers ho have served the Queen since 1952

● Boris Johnson
2019 – 2022, Conservative

● Theresa May
2016 – 2019, Conservative

● David Cameron
2010 – 2016, Conservative

● Gordon Brown
2007 – 2010, Labour

● Tony Blair
1997 – 2007, Labour

● John Major
1990 – 1997, Conservative

● Margaret Thatcher
1979 – 1990, Conservative

● James Callaghan
1976 – 1979, Labour

● Harold Wilson
(second term)
1974 – 1976, Labour

● Edward Heath
1970 – 1974, Conservative

● Harold Wilson
1964 – 1970, Labour

● Alec Douglas-Home
1963 – 1964, Conservative

● Harold Macmillan
1957 – 1963,Conservative

● Anthony Eden
1955 – 1957, Conservative

● Winston Churchill
1951-1955, Conservative

Earl lowers flag for the sister he lost

The flag at the family home of Diana, Princess of Wales, was lowered to half-mast on the 25th anniversary of her death, writes Giles Sheldrick, Daily Express Chief Editor.

The Princess’s brother, Earl Spencer, shared a poignant untitled photo of the flagpole on top of Althorp House, set against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

Diana is buried on an island at the centre of an ornamental lake known as The Oval on the Althorp estate in Northamptonshire.

The lowering of the flag for her was particularly symbolic as, in the aftermath of Diana’s tragic death, people were outraged when Buckingham Palace failed to pay a similar tribute.

The flag pole there remained bare, in accordance with royal protocol because the Queen was away in Scotland. But a union flag was eventually flown at half mast over the Palace on the day of Diana’s funeral.

Tributes to the ‘People’s Princess’ around the world

Mourners across the world paid tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, on Wednesday, on the 25th anniversary of her death, writes Giles Sheldrick, Daily Express Chief Editor.

The focal point of countless sombre acts of remembrance was the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, where the 36-year-old perished in a car crash.

The area close to the scene has since been renamed Diana Square with the Liberty Flame monument attracting millions each year.

On Wednesday it was awash with flowers, messages and tributes to Diana and her two sons, Princes William and Harry.

One read “25 years already” while another simply said: “Forever in our hearts.”

Briton Kate Baxter, 32, who now lives in Canada, said: “Everybody in the world who was alive at the time of her death remembers her. It feels like five minutes ago since that terrible accident.”

Diana was also remembered at Kensington Palace with floral tributes including a stunning display white chrysanthemums spelling out Princess Diana adorned with pink roses and ribbons.

Wellwishers also tied dozens of pictures of Diana and deeply personal handwritten messages to the gates. One tribute read: “Princess Diana – it’s hard to forget someone who gave us so much to remember.”

Earl lowers flag for the sister he lost

The lowering of the flag for her was particularly symbolic (Image: Getty)

Mourners even suggested Diana could have helped to heal the ongoing rift between her warring sons, the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.

Anne Daley, from Cardiff, remembered hearing the news on August 31, 1997, saying: “It was extraordinary, it was eerie – people couldn’t believe it was just an ordinary car crash.

“The Princess of Wales, dead? Everybody was in shock. People were crying and people were wailing.”

She added: “They’re at war with each other – so we’re led to believe – and their wives are at war. It’s a terribly sad situation because we used to see her quite frequently with the children.

“I think like most mothers they’d call a family meeting, say, you know: ‘Cut it out, and behave yourselves… stop all this silly nonsense.’”

Among those also paying tribute outside her former London home was John Loughrey, who has gained global notoriety as Diana’s biggest fan. He left his job to attend every court session of the official six-month inquest into her death from 2007 to 2008.

Draped in a Union flag, T-shirt with Diana’s face emblazoned on the front and hat featuring dozens of pin badges, he held a silent vigil.

Diana was one of the world’s most recognised and photographed women and a high-profile supporter of humanitarian causes – including children’s charities and land mine clearance – when she died.

Her death plunged the monarchy into crisis, coming soon after the disintegration of her marriage to Charles and a bombshell BBC Panorama interview

Just two years previously she sensationally broke ranks to tell her side of the separation from her husband in an interview with Martin Bashir broadcast on November 20, 1995.

A woman lays a wreath of flowers in front of the Flamme de la Liberte

A woman lays a wreath of flowers in front of the Flamme de la Liberte (Image: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GETTY)

During the documentary, she told of adultery, plotting and mental and physical suffering.

Diana chronicled her self-harm, bulimia, her own affair, Charles’s involvement with Camilla Parker-Bowles and what she described as a lack of support from the royal family, famously saying “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”.

After her death, Diana was described as the “People’s Princess” with her televised funeral, broadcast on September 6, watched by a record British television audience of 32 million.

Paying his own tribute Sir Elton John, 75, who performed his hit song Candle In The Wind with the lyrics adapted to reflect her life at the service, said on Wednesday: “You will always be missed.”

The musician, who was close friends with the princess, also shared a picture on Instagram showing the pair laughing to commemorate the occasion.

The song tapped into the nation’s grief and went on to become the biggest-selling single in UK chart history up to that date.

Since her death, Sir Elton has regularly supported William and Harry and attended both their royal weddings alongside his husband, David Furnish.

Diana was a passenger in a car travelling at 65mph (105km/h) – more than twice the 31mph (50km/h) speed limit in the 660 feet tunnel – before clipping a Fiat Uno, hitting a concrete divider wall, rolling over, and then coming to a standstill. She perished alongside her companion Dodi Fayed.

A French investigation concluded driver Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hotel Ritz in Paris, was solely responsible. Subsequent British investigations confirmed this.

Mr Paul had been drinking heavily and was under the effects of prescription drugs while speeding away from photographers on motorbikes.

The only survivor was her British bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, who was 29 at the time of the accident, and employed as a bodyguard by Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi’s father.

Conspiracies have been led by Mr Al-Fayed, who is now 93, and convinced senior Royals objected to Diana contemplating marriage to his son, because he was from an Arab Muslim family. Despite this, no evidence has ever emerged to support such theories.

Millions across the world remain fascinated with Diana’s life. On Saturday a black Ford Escort she once drove in the 1980s was sold at auction for £724,500.