Though Queen Elizabeth recently announced that she was passing some of her duties on to her other family members, she has had a busy week despite the “mobility issues” that have plagued her since last fall. On Tuesday, she held an investiture service at Windsor Castle, where she honored the NHS for its roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine. On Friday, she joined Princess Anne for an engagement at Thames Hospice in Maidenhead, about seven miles away from her castle apartments.
In a blue floral dress and a frequently-worn set of aquamarine and diamond brooches, the queen met patients and volunteers at the hospice, which recently moved into a new state-of-the art facility after a $26 million fundraising effort. She and Anne officially opened the new 28-bed unit constructed with the funds. The queen was being introduced to Graham White, the husband of a patient, when his phone began to ring. “Typical, a phone goes off immediately!” she joked in response. White then explained that it was his son calling.
Afterward, his wife Pat, who is being treated for stage four cancer, told Hello about how she responded to the ringing phone. “I could have killed him! People think the Queen is all stiff upper lip but she has a sense of humor,” she said. “This is a memory that I will treasure.”
The hospice’s chair of trustees, Jonathan Jones, explained the significance of the day, which marked the queen’s fourth visit since she was on hand to open the hospice in November 1989. “Today’s momentous visit builds upon a long-held association between the royal family and Thames Hospice,” he said, according to People. It is a huge privilege to welcome Her Majesty to officially open our facility and show how the charity continues to flourish 35 years on from the Queen’s very first visit.”
In addition to joining her mother at the hospice, Anne has traveled around the U.K. for events over the last week. She joined her children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips for the wedding of their half-sister Stephanie Phillips to William Hosier in Tetbury last weekend, and on Tuesday she visited an agriculture exhibition in Yorkshire before joining Prince Charles for a reception at Buckingham Palace with winners of The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. On Wednesday she made an appearance at the Open Championship at the Old Course St Andrews in Scotland for the 150th anniversary of the golfing event.
At a Thursday investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Anne honored Joanna Lumley, the actress best known for her long-running role on Absolutely Fabulous, with a damehood. Afterward Lumley told the PA that Anne was “so lovely” and that the ceremony was small and intimate. “[Anne is] just such a wonderful sort of figurehead for women in this country,” she added. “I think [she is] courageous and active and modest and brilliant.”
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