I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year that the royal family united to save the planet. The Queen has always been green, yet rarely has she spoken about it. Years ago, it was a standing joke that she went around Buckingham Palace turning off the lights, and if she was cold she would put on another layer of clothing. She would even sit at her desk in an old mink coat if necessary.
As long ago as 1994, at the Duke of Edinburgh’s behest, combined heat and power plants were installed at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace to generate electricity and provide heating and hot water. In 2001, an ‘energy-saving committee’ was formed to explore ways of reducing consumption. They decided to drill a 500ft (150m) borehole in the garden at Buckingham Palace to access water to cool the Queen’s Gallery and flush the visitor lavatories, which on Prince Philip’s instructions were adapted to save water. Nowadays, hydroelectric schemes power Windsor Castle and Balmoral Castle in part.
In the past it was left to Philip, his son Charles and his grandson William to make the impassioned speeches. The Queen usually reserves her own personal feelings for her annual Christmas broadcast, but not this time. In a video link address delivered from the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle to more than 120 world leaders during a reception at the global climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, she urged them all to rise above the politics of the moment. The monarch encouraged those in power to achieve true statesmanship by putting aside their desire for personal and immediate glory in favour of collectively focusing on ‘what they do for the people of tomorrow’.
The Queen had been due to attend the reception with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and deliver the speech in person. Concerns for her health were first voiced on 20 October when she cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland at the last minute and was told to rest by her medical team. It later transpired that she had been sent to King Edward VII Hospital in London for ‘preliminary tests’ and had spent the night there.
This information created a multitude of rumours that increased when it was announced she would be taking at least a further two weeks off on the advice of her doctors. The Queen has always found it difficult to take things easy, although she is not as bad as her mother, who used to joke that because her doctor was not there all the time he wouldn’t know if she was resting or not. The Queen continued with her virtual audiences, although she agreed she would not walk her dogs or go riding.
Apart from the month of June, with large-scale state ceremonies and Royal Ascot, the festive season is the busiest time of the royal year and the Queen will strive to be well enough to enjoy having her family around her for their first Christmas without Prince Philip.
On behalf of everyone at Majesty I should like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2022.