Rare miss: Britain is in a state of silent worry. The Queen did not deliver the Queen’s speech to Parliament, in which the government sets out its agenda for the year. This is the first time in 59 years that she missed it. Buckingham Palace says this is due to “episodic mobility problems” she is suffering. She missed Easter celebrations earlier, and it was announced that she will not attend the Queen’s summer parties this year on the grounds of the palace. In October last year, she used a walking stick at an event in Westminster Abbey, the first time she was seen to use one.
As described by the palace, her current mobility issues are restricting some but not all of her engagements, and she continues to hold meetings, though her latest meeting with the Prime Minister will be online. The Queen is 96 and has been in remarkable good health all through so far. The nation is praying that she will live to cross 100 as her mother did and that the current problems will pass. But over anyone who is 96, some worry will persist.
Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s speech to Parliament on Tuesday. As Prince of Wales, few heirs apparent have been in that position as long as he has.
Labour pain: Politically, glasshouses are the talk of the town. After reproaching the Prime Minister time and again for partying through Covid restrictions that he announced for the nation, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faces difficult questions that he attended a beer-and-curry party during the lockdown — Indian food is still called a ‘curry’ though many Brits have been educated out of that equation.
The dispute has been rather helpful to the Spice Lounge in Durham from where food was ordered for the event. The restaurant may well get known as a place of historical importance if Keir Starmer were to lose his place as a result of attendance at that gathering. He has said he will resign if the police were to find him guilty and to fine him. The ripples will go beyond him; deputy party chief Angela Rayner too has offered to resign.
Yet further, that is intended to set an uncomfortable example for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, found guilty, and fined, but who has shown no thought of resigning. It’s unlikely he still would.
Moment to mourn: It is with much sadness that the Indian community mourned the passing of Lady Aruna Paul, wife of industrialist Lord Swraj Paul. A memorial for her was held appropriately at the London Zoo. The Paul couple put millions into reviving and maintaining the zoo in memory of their daughter they lost when she was a child.
Recent years have been hard for Lord Paul. His son Angad Paul fell to his death from a building in London in 2015; he held a memorial for him as well at the London Zoo. It’s with some relief that friends find Lord Paul in good health, though frail.