Queen sets her own pace

What a marvellous week it has been for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as she begins to participate in the many celebrations organised over coming weeks to mark the 70th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.

There was some concern expressed in royal quarters a fortnight ago when Her Majesty made it known that she would not be undertaking one of her more important duties – reading the monarch’s speech at the opening of the latest session of the UK Parliament at Westminster.

After she decided to leave that task to her son and heir, the Prince of Wales, many news stories appeared focussing on her supposedly fragile health which, for a woman who this year celebrated her 96th birthday, is understandable.

But events since the opening of the parliament have put an entirely different slant on Her Majesty’s wellbeing.

My royal sources tell me that far from delegating Prince Charles to fill in for her because of poor health, the opposite is actually the case.

“The Queen is in robust health but at 96 has simply made the decision to spend whatever time she has left doing what she wants to do,” a well-placed Buckingham Palace courtier told me.

“Her Majesty, like all of us, knows our time here on earth is finite and after serving the nation and the Commonwealth as our monarch since she was just 26 she now feels she is entitled to a bit of ‘me time’.

“So from now on she will be undertaking only those tasks she wants to undertake or enjoys undertaking.”

Those words rang true this week when a smiling and dare I say, radiant Queen Elizabeth was seen in fine form at the annual Windsor horse show and later at a large-scale equestrian extravaganza staged as part of her platinum jubilee celebrations.

My royal sources tell me that the Queen has this week also indulged in a spot of bungee jumping at a tourist spot at Bray Lake just west of Windsor Castle. (main picture)

She is also planning to try her hand at skydiving and has been seen practising skateboarding in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

I am also told by royal insiders that one formal task Her Majesty has not been able to avoid has been her weekly audience with the Prime Minister, although she has taken to making the routine event somewhat more fun than it has been in the past 70 years. (pictured)