Queen Elizabeth may not be dying, but her abrupt cancellation of Christmas plans has news outlets in the U.K. buzzing with speculation about just how ill she could be.
Buckingham Palace officials announced the canceled plans on Wednesday, noting that the queen was too ill for her annual travels. It appeared to be an abrupt turn for the 90-year-old queen, who just days ago was hosting other holiday activities.
This week, the royal matriarch hosted her traditional Buckingham Palace Christmas lunch party for friends and extended family who are not attending the family’s Christmas Day celebration at Sandringham. As the Daily Beast reported, Queen Elizabeth appeared to be in fine health as she hosted more than 50 guests, a group that included Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Just one day later, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, announced that they had canceled plans to take a 100-mile train trip to her country home north of London. The royal palace released a terse statement about the couple’s health.
“The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have heavy colds, and so have decided not to travel to Sandringham today,” the official statement noted.
The train trip to Norfolk had become an annual event for the press, with many watching Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip as they board the passenger train. Their absence wasn’t known until about half an hour after they were supposed to show up, press outlets reported.
However, the sudden change in plans and the lack of details in the release led many to question just how sick Queen Elizabeth II might be, including some outlets that questioned whether the 90-year-old could be dying. The Daily Beast, which published a story with the headline “Just How Ill Is Queen Elizabeth and Is She Likely to Die?,” noted that the speculation about her health was the result of the lack of details in the abrupt statement.
“The panicky response to what some would say is the most inevitable of British news events was exacerbated by the chaotic way the news of the queen and Philip’s ill-health was managed,” the report noted.
However, the Daily Beast also noted that royal family sources had told reporters off-the-record that there are no “grave concerns” over her health.
There appeared to be less information on the condition of Prince Philip.
The news of Queen Elizabeth’s health concerns comes the same day that Buckingham Palace announced that she would be stepping down from her role as patron of more than 20 charities at the end of the year. the Associated Press noted that Queen Elizabeth would be following in the example of her 95-year-old husband, who also cut back on his charitable work when he turned 90 back in 2011.
The report noted that “the queen remains in apparent good health has reduced her traveling.” It was unclear if that announcement was related to the reports of Queen Elizabeth’s ill health.
Even with the assurances that her health condition is not serious, it’s likely that British news outlets will continue to speculate over whether Queen Elizabeth could die from her unspecified illness, the Daily Beast added.
“The death of the queen is, understandably, one of the great British obsessions, and newsrooms around the U.K. will remain on high alert over the festive period, despite Buckingham Palace’s attempt to calm the waters, with sources saying they will still travel to Sandringham before Christmas Day.”
So while there may be no real substance to the rumors that Queen Elizabeth is dying, that may not do much to stop the speculation from British news outlets.
[Featured Image by Peter Morrison/AP Images]