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The QueenFrank Augstein – WPA Pool / Getty Images

The country was sparked into a state of national concern last week as it was announced via a Buckingham Palace statement that the Queen had ‘reluctantly’ pulled out of a visit to Northern Ireland. The cancellation constituted her first sick note in 15 years and came just after she had ‘politely but firmly’ turned down an Oldie of the Year award, citing ‘you are as old as you feel’.

Back at her desk on Thursday after an overnight hospital visit, the message was ‘business as usual’. Buckingham Palace emphasises that she ‘remains in good spirits’ but a source close to the Queen, 95, revealed to Roya Nikkah of The Times, that ‘she is knackered’. Readers of the Court Circular as well as recipients of the regular Buckingham Palace send outs, will hardly be surprised by such a revelation. It would seem the Queen has rarely been busier – her public schedule is jam-packed, and, so too is her private life (since she reportedly ‘does not want to dine alone’ following the death of her companion of 73 years, Prince Philip). This year she has undertaken five public engagements without another member of the royal family and 12 with her children or grandchildren.

The Queen with Boris Johnson during a reception for international business and investment leaders to mark the Global Investment Summit at Windsor CastleArthur Edwards-Pool / Getty Images

It’s reportedly a combination of her busy social life and late night telly watching – remember the quick 11pm message dispatched from Balmoral to celebrate Emma Raducanu’s ‘remarkable achievement’ when she triumphed at the US Open. It was far beyond a regular nonagenarian’s bedtime.

Now, the Sunday Telegraph reports that the Queen will be accompanied by a close family member on all engagements to avoid letting down the public if she needs to withdraw. Buckingham Palace has declined to comment and a royal source told The Times: ‘It’s not uncommon for Her Majesty to be accompanied by a family member’. The Queen has also, on doctors’ advice, given up her lunchtime gin and Dubonnet as well as her evening martini according to sources.

Her Majesty is reportedly continuing to rest and undertake light duties – a royal source suggests that she is doing so in order to preserve her energy for Cop26 in Glasgow next month where it is hoped she will still lead the family turnout at the climate summit. Then, next year, it’s onwards to her Platinum Jubilee – it’s certainly a juggling act to carve out time for this busiest of 95-year-olds to rest.

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