The Queen has held her first in-person weekly viewers with the prime minister in 15 months, and revealed that the woes of the beleaguered well being secretary Matt Hancock won’t have escaped her eye.
In a brief video clip of the assembly with Boris Johnson, the Queen knowledgeable him she had been chatting with “your secretary of state for well being, poor man”.
Her sympathetic remark may very well be a response to the burden of accountability resting on Hancock due to the Covid-19 pandemic, or might replicate the battering he has acquired from the previous No 10 senior aide Dominic Cummings.
Johnson was proven in for his viewers at Buckingham Palace by an equerry. “How good to see you once more,” the Queen remarked as Johnson dipped his head in bow-like vogue.
“It’s been 15 months,” he replied. “Good heavens. It’s most extraordinary,” she stated. “I’ve simply been speaking to your secretary of state for well being, poor man He got here for privy council. He’s stuffed with …”
“Beans,” added Johnson. The Queen continued: “He thinks that issues are getting higher.” Johnson replied: “Nicely, er, they’re, within the sense that we’re …” However then the video cuts off.
Hancock has been a goal for Cummings, Johnson’s high former adviser, in current weeks. In texts launched by Cummings this month, the prime minister appeared to name his well being minister “completely fucking hopeless” at one level within the Covid-19 disaster.
The well being secretary then endured additional public indignity when, as he was being pushed away in a automotive, a journalist yelled at him: “Are you hopeless Mr Hancock?” Hancock was heard replying, “I don’t assume so …”, because the automotive sped off. Questioned on one other event because the remark continued to hang-out him, Hancock dismissed it as “historical historical past”.
Cummings had stated Hancock ought to have been fired over coronavirus failings, and “felony, disgraceful behaviour” regarding the Covid-19 testing goal.
It’s uncommon to get a glimpse of what’s stated between the Queen and a major minister, even rarer to listen to her speaking about any members of the federal government.
She and Johnson haven’t had a face-to-face weekly viewers since 11 March 2020, although they had been collectively on the G7 summit this month. The prime minister didn’t go to Prince Philip’s funeral in April as he gave up his place to permit in an extra relative amid the Covid-19 restrictions on numbers. All through the pandemic the Queen and PM have performed their audiences by phone.
Their assembly on Wednesday came about within the Queen’s personal viewers room at Buckingham Palace, London, and is believed to be the primary time she has been on the constructing in six weeks; she attended the state opening of parliament in Could. Throughout the pandemic she has been at Windsor Fortress.