Queen's reign is 'effectively over' because of coronavirus, says royal biographer

·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read
L0NDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Queen Elizabeth II talks to guests at an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace on December 11, 2019 in London, England.(Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II has had to stay in isolation for several weeks. (Getty Images)

The Queen’s reign is “effectively over” according to the man who wrote Princess Diana’s explosive biography.

Andrew Morton has said the coronavirus pandemic has “practically put” her son, Prince Charles, “on the throne” as she is unable to carry out engagements and could be in isolation for some time.

At 94, the Queen is firmly in the government’s at-risk age bracket and has been in isolation with limited staff and her husband Prince Philip, since the middle of March.

It’s not clear when she might be able to leave the confines of Windsor Castle, and she has been unable to carry out the usual level of engagements during the pandemic.

It’s enough for her reign to be done according to Morton, author of Diana, Her True Story, the book which exposed the failed marriage of Charles and the Princess of Wales in 1992.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s terribly sad but I can’t see how the Queen can resume her job. The COVID-19 virus isn’t going away soon and will be with us for months if not years.

“It would be far too risky for the Queen to start meeting people on a regular basis. She has always loved getting out and meeting people but she can’t take the risk.

“The brutal truth is that her reign is effectively over. COVID-19 has done more damage to the monarchy than Oliver Cromwell.

“Corona has practically put Charles on the throne.”

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY: Issue date: Sunday May 31, Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend of May 30 and May 31, 2020 in Windsor, England. The Queen has been in residence at Windsor Castle during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen riding in Home Park, Windsor, during the lockdown. (Getty Images)

Read more: How the Queen became a symbol of stability in the chaos of coronavirus

His comments came the day after a new photo was released of the Queen and Philip in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle as the couple celebrated his 99th birthday.

The Queen has long held the view she needs to be seen to be believed, said to be the reason behind her bright wardrobe at public engagements.

But being behind closed doors makes that all the more difficult.

English journalist and writer Andrew Morton, who has published biographies of royal figures,  is seen out and about in New York
Andrew Morton said the Queen's reign was over because of coronavirus. (PA Images)

In response, the Queen has had photographs taken and released of her riding her pony at Home Park, in Windsor; allowed audio of a call with a nurse to be used; and fronted two televised addresses, a rarity in her reign.

She also released details of a video call for the first time as she spoke to unpaid carers to mark carers week and gave an approved interview to Horse and Hound magazine.

Her son Charles, who at 71 is also considered vulnerable, has been able to use his personal experience of COVID-19 as he continues to carry out engagements virtually.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 08: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II watch a flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, although the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
There won't be the usual large Trooping the Colour this year. (Getty Images)

Read more: How royals around the world are protecting themselves against coronavirus

He is the longest-serving heir apparent, with his mother having acceded to the throne when he was just three years old.

It is the Queen’s coronation speech which is often cited as evidence she will not give up the throne until her death.

In June 1953 she said: “I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”

It has been several years since it emerged that the courtiers had looked again at the Regency Act, which could place Charles as “prince regent” in the event the Queen became unwell.

In 2014, a source told Saga Magazine: "Yes, we have dusted off the Regency Act and taken a look at it."

Regencies are rare, and are covered now by the Regency Act 1937, which says they should only be put in place if the monarch is declared unable to carry out their duties by three or more people including their spouse, the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls.

The regency should only last as long as the monarch is unwell or unable to carry out duties. In the event the regent is in place because the new sovereign is under 18, they leave the post when the sovereign is of age.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting