Is the queen dead? Buckingham Palace says no, we say probably…

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You can’t hide from death, Liz Adrian Harlen via Flickr

Hasn’t been seen for weeks

Queen Elizabeth II has been the reigning monarch in England (and the Commonwealth, of which Canada is a part) for a staggering 69 (Editor’s note: nice), almost 70, years. She has always been a solid public figure unwavering in her service over the decades. At this point it would be hard to imagine someone else on the throne, and to most it feels like she is invisible to death and his scythe. However, everyone eventually gets old and over the past year, the queen has had some seemingly serious health complications.

She is now 95 so it is not surprising, but it still is cause for concern. Most of her appearances in the latter part of last year and into this year have included online meetings, pre-recorded messages, and her being spotted driving her Jaguar wearing a scarf and hat, and the last time she officially hosted an event in person was November 23, 2021. She hasn’t been seen outside of her home since then. People who study the royals have dubbed this transition out of the public eye as the queen enters a new phase of her reign, like a large, clicking insect transitioning from its larval stage. A stage in which she allows Charles to take on more responsibility, and steps away from a lot of her duties in public service. However, other royal watchers aren’t so sure that this is a natural phase at all.

“She’s either sick or she’s dead one hundred percent,” says Sarah Labadie, an education student at the U of R, when asked what she though was happening at Buckingham Palace. “They don’t know who’s going to replace her. There’s all the heat on [Andrew], Harry, and Meghan just did their Oprah thing, and I think that they don’t know if they want to give the throne to William because it would mean giving the throne to Kate. They’re going to do as much damage control as possible before going public.” Essentially Buckingham Palace is Weekend-At-Bernie’s-ing Liz while they figure out what they’re going to do.

Labadie’s not alone in this line of thinking. The queen is not officially scheduled to be out in public again until her platinum jubilee in February, and the internet took what information they had and ran with it, spinning stories of their own. Now, a large portion of people believe the queen has actually died and that Buckingham Palace is covering it up for the time being, but it is hard to know for certain with so little information to go on whether or not her speculated death could be a genuine fact or just another inflated conspiracy theory.

The queen’s health began declining in April 2021 when the haggard, shuffling corpse of Prince Phillip finally bit it. Queen Elizabeth II and Phillip – who were cousins, because the monarchy is nothing if not white trash – were married for seventy-three years, and the queen is quoted referring to Phillip as her “Strength and Stay.” Grief takes its toll on the healthiest of people. Then in October, she canceled a trip to Northern Ireland; afterward, it was revealed that it was canceled because the queen had to spend the night in hospital for unspecified medical issues and tests. At the end of October, she canceled another in-person event in Scotland and was then advised by her doctors to take at least two weeks off to rest; she remained at home for a while.

However, she remained committed to attending a ceremony for Remembrance Sunday on November 14, stating how important it was for her to honour the people who died in warfare. Unfortunately, her attendance was canceled on the day of the ceremony due to a sprained back. Buckingham Palace released a statement that said, “The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today’s Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph. Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.” Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla attended the ceremony in her absence, and Charles laid a wreath in his mother’s absence. 

Kailee Trost, an avid news follower, thinks that while the queen is probably still alive, “she is probably hiding from Omicron because she is old as hell; if she gets it she is a goner,” but reason aside, she also said, “maybe she passed away on New Year’s Eve too, but because Betty White died they were like ‘Nah, can’t announce it because Betty White will overshadow her.’ So, there are many things that could be going on.”

Regardless of what people think, the reality is that Queen Elizabeth II cannot live forever, and if she is indeed still alive it is only a matter of time before she passes. The only thing people can do is watch and wait to see if to see if she appears in February like she’s supposed to, and until then, continue to enjoy the memes of her “entering a new phase” that have strangled certain corners of the internet.

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