‘No cause for concern’: Buckingham says after emergency meet sparks talk on Queen Elizabeth’s health

The flag at the royal residence was also not flying at half-mast -- the sign of a death in the royal family, and reports also quoted a palace phone operator as saying that there has been no death.

world Updated: May 04, 2017 13:34 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Buckingham Palace,Queen Elizabeth,Prince Philip
Britain's Queen Elizabeth during a ceremony in Windsor Castle in Windsor in April this year.(REUTERS)

An emergency meeting of royal staff was called at the Buckingham Palace on Thursday, sparking intense speculation about the health of Queen Elizabeth and her consort, Prince Philip.

A Buckingham Palace official told AP that a meeting of royal household staff has been called, but that there is “no cause for concern”. The official, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, said household meetings are called from time to time.

A BBC report said the meeting was not about the health of either the queen or the Duke of Edinburgh.

The flag at the royal residence was also not flying at half-mast — the sign of a death in the royal family.

The emergency meeting was supposed to be addressed by top officers in the royal staff, Lord Chamberlain and Queen Elizabeth’s private secretary, Christopher Geidt.

The queen is 91 and Prince Philip will turn 96 next month. The queen recently returned to London after an Easter break.

A source also told Reuters there is no cause for alarm about the welfare of Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.

The Daily Mail newspaper had reported that senior aides from across the country had been called to Buckingham Palace for an emergency meeting, leading to wide speculation on social media about the health of the royals.

“There’s no cause for alarm,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Buckingham Palace had no comment on the Daily Mail report but the source said such all-staff meetings did occur occasionally.

The queen and Prince Philip still regularly carry out official duties although they have cut back on their workload in recent years.

Queen Elizabeth met Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday to formally agree to the dissolution of parliament ahead of June’s election while Philip opened a new stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground in central London.

Prime Minister May, who has called a snap election for next month, has warned that she would rather Britain exit the EU without any agreement on future ties than accept a “bad deal”.

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier earlier warned that negotiations will not be quick or painless, as Brussels and London traded blows over the size of Britain’s exit bill.

Unveiling his negotiating mandate for two years of talks, France’s Barnier denied the bloc was punishing Britain but insisted it must settle its accounts. London in return rejected a reported 100 billion euro bill from the other 27 EU states and warned it could simply walk away from negotiations if bullied.

(With inputs from Reuters, BBC, AP, AFP)

First Published: May 04, 2017 11:52 IST