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bitchy | Was Queen Elizabeth dealing with a form of bone marrow cancer in her final year?


The latest royal book is Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait by Gyles Brandreth. The Mail started excerpting the book this weekend, and those excerpts are already making headlines in Salt Island and here in America. Brandreth was apparently friends (or friendly) with Prince Philip, but this book seems mostly like royal rota gossip presented as insider knowledge. Brandreth is the first royal biographer (that I’ve seen) to write openly about what was possibly ailing Queen Elizabeth II in her final years. Brandreth says that he heard it was a form of bone marrow cancer, which would honestly make some sense. I’ve heard some gossip that Prince Philip had cancer too. I’ve also heard rumors that both Philip and Elizabeth had really bad cases of Covid and that neither really recovered. So take these excerpts as you want – I’m taking them as just random rumor-mongering.

QEII had already passed away when William & the Wessexes got to Balmoral: There was confusion about whether or not Harry’s wife, Meghan, would go up to Scotland with him. When it became clear that Catherine was not going because she would be collecting her children from school, it emerged that Meghan was not going, either. Andrew, Edward and Sophie, and Prince William arrived at Aberdeen airport in an RAF executive jet at 3.50pm and William drove the four of them to Balmoral, 45 miles away. They arrived at 5.06pm. Queen Elizabeth II was already dead.

QEII knew her time had come: The truth is that Her Majesty always knew that her remaining time was limited. She accepted this with all the grace you’d expect. I had heard that the Queen had a form of myeloma — bone marrow cancer — which would explain her tiredness and weight loss and those ‘mobility issues’ we were often told about during the last year or so of her life. The most common symptom of myeloma is bone pain, especially in the pelvis and lower back, and multiple myeloma is a disease that often affects the elderly.

QEII’s health was bad in her final months: When the Queen’s death was registered on September 16 my prediction proved accurate. The death was certified by Dr Douglas James Allan Glass, a local GP and official apothecary to the Queen who had been looking after her in Scotland for more than 30 years and who was with her when she died. Dr Glass said: ‘We have been concerned about the Queen’s health for several months. It was expected and we were quite aware of what was going to happen.’

QEII & Prince Philip would go weeks without seeing each other: They would speak regularly on the phone, but weeks could go by without them seeing one another. That shocked some people, though not those who appreciated how well the Queen understood her husband — understood his wish to be left to his own devices, ‘not to be fussed over’, to be allowed, after more than 70 years of duty, to see out his days in his own way.

Was Elizabeth at Philip’s side when he passed away? The Queen was reported to have been at her husband’s bedside when he died on the morning of April 9, 2021. In fact, I don’t believe she was. The Duke of Edinburgh had been in a hospital bed, set up in his dressing room at Windsor Castle. That morning, he went to the bathroom, helped by a nurse. When he came back, he said he felt a little faint and wanted help getting back into bed. The nurse called the Duke’s valet and the Queen’s page, Paul Whybrew, for help — and he died before the Queen could be called. The Queen wasn’t yet up. And she wasn’t called until after a doctor had come and pronounced the Duke dead.

Elizabeth was stoic about her husband’s death: He was being laid out when the Prince of Wales arrived. Charles waited and had a cup of tea, but went away without seeing his father. Prince Edward did see him and then, gradually, the rest of the family began to arrive. As they tried to comfort the Queen, the Queen was comforting them. It helped that Elizabeth was accustomed to her own company. Even when her husband was alive, she had so often spent evenings on her own.

[From The Daily Mail]

I think bone marrow cancer sounds like a reasonable explanation for what was happening with QEII’s health in her final year, honestly. There was a big shift though, something happened to her in October 2021 – suddenly, she was doing very poorly and the palace wouldn’t specify what was going on. Was that when they found the cancer? I wonder. I saw Omid Scobie tweeting about how it’s in poor taste for the Mail to publish these excerpts given that the details about QEII’s health were always “closely guarded,” but I actually disagree. While everyone has the right to medical privacy, it is legitimately different when the person is the head of state or an elected leader. I always found it ridiculous that the palace was allowed to get away with outright lies and obfuscation about QEII’s health – she’s the head of state, not your granny. Her health was a constitutional issue, not a private issue.


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