Queen Elizabeth won’t step down, will instead ‘pace her engagements,’ former press secretary claims

Queen Elizabeth II won’t step down anytime soon.

The claim was made by Dickie Arbiter, the reigning monarch’s former press spokesman, amid concerns over her health after the 95-year-old cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland this week following medical advice.

“Remembrance Day is coming up and is sacred in her diary,” Arbiter told “Good Morning Britain” on Thursday. “To suggest she’ll back down is patronizing and fighting fire – the queen will instead ask her officials to pace her engagements more.”

Arbiter told the outlet that there’s a good reason why the queen won’t step down.


“During her coronation, she made a vow in the eyes of God, and you can’t compare that promise to the pope retiring,” he explained. “The queen has had a very strenuous few days ago, which is why doctors probably advised her to cancel her upcoming trip.”

“It’s a lot to ask of anyone any age – even when she’s not at engagements the monarch has mounds of paperwork to go through,” he shared. “The officials at Buckingham Palace will be looking very carefully to pace her engagements.”

On Wednesday, Buckingham Palace announced Elizabeth reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for a few days. While the palace didn’t offer specifics on the decisions, they noted that she is “in good spirits” and disappointed that she will no longer be able to visit Northern Ireland for engagements Wednesday and Thursday.

“The queen sends her warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland and looks forward to visiting in the future,” the palace added.


Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, followed by Britain’s Princess Anne, right, arrives to attend a Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Centenary of the Royal British Legion at Westminster Abbey, in London, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.
(Arthur Edwards/Pool Photo via AP)

Elizabeth is resting at Windsor Castle, where she has stayed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The decision to cancel the trip was understood to not be COVID-related.

Most recently, the queen was seen using a walking stick at a major public event when attending a Westminster Abbey service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion, an armed forces charity. She had previously been photographed using a cane in 2003, but that was after she underwent knee surgery.

Britain’s longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch, Elizabeth is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the throne — next year.

The queen, who was widowed this year when Prince Philip died at age 99 in April, still keeps a busy schedule of royal duties. On Tuesday, she held audiences with diplomats and hosted a reception at Windsor Castle for global business leaders.


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the set of the long running television series Coronation Street, in Manchester, England, Thursday July 8, 2021.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visits the set of the long running television series Coronation Street, in Manchester, England, Thursday July 8, 2021.
(AP/Scott Heppell)

Despite her great age, the monarch has politely declined the honor of being named “Oldie of the Year” by a British magazine. The Oldie magazine on Tuesday published the queen’s response to its suggestion that she follows in the footsteps of former recipients, such as actor Olivia de Havilland and artist David Hockney.

“Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, as such The Queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient,” said a letter from her assistant private secretary, Tom Laing-Baker. He ended the letter “with Her Majesty’s warmest best wishes.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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