Queen’s overnight hospital stay raises concerns about transparency

After the news was leaked to a tabloid, royal observers feel Buckingham Palace should have handled it differently.

Queen’s overnight hospital stay raises concerns about transparency
© getty_images
Queen’s overnight hospital stay raises concerns about transparency

Questions have been raised about the Queen's overnight hospital stay, which has been shrouded in secrecy. The Queen's visit to King Edward VII's hospital for an overnight stay this week is her first in eight years. She was treated for gastroenteritis in 2013 at the private clinic, where she also stayed for one night. She is known for her robust constitution and no-nonsense approach to her infrequent illnesses.

Discover our latest podcast

After completing tests at King Edward VII's Hospital in central London, the 95-year-old king is claimed to be recovering at Windsor Castle. Her majesty has been urged by physicians to rest for a few days which led her to cancel a two-day trip to Northern Ireland. According to Penny Junor, a royal author and commentator,

She has been looking so radiant, so healthy and so robust in recent times that I can’t believe that there is anything seriously wrong with her. But she is 95 years old and she has been doing an awful lot.

Safe and Sound

According to a source, after being hospitalised on Wednesday afternoon, she returned to her Berkshire home at lunchtime on Thursday. She was relaxing and performing minor duties. During a visit to a vaccine centre in west London on Friday, Boris Johnson commented on the Queen's health and said,

I think everybody sends Her Majesty our very, very best wishes. And certainly, we have from the government.
But I’m given to understand that actually, Her Majesty is characteristically back at her desk at Windsor as we speak. But we send her every possible good wish.

Transparency Concerns

However, the fact that Buckingham Palace only confirmed the recent visit after The Sun newspaper published it as a front-page exclusive has sparked debate about how the public learnt about it and highlighted concerns about palace transparency. Dickie Arbiter, the Queen's former press secretary, remarked

It could have been handled differently. They could have made an announcement after she was back at Windsor Castle. The Queen has been to hospital for tests. She is now back at the castle. She is working. That is all we are saying.

If a proactive announcement would have made things better. An update confirming she has safely returned to Windsor would have also prevented the mob of photographers gathered outside the hospital. However, speculations are that the palace did not plan to divulge details of her admittance, but was compelled to do so by the circumstances. Junor further commented,

It doesn’t look good, but the palace may be trying to protect her privacy. There are 101 possible reasons why they did not want to announce it. But I suspect it was to prevent rampant speculation that she was unwell.
Prince Charles is taking over the Queen’s royal engagements amid health concerns Prince Charles is taking over the Queen’s royal engagements amid health concerns