To the end, Queen Elizabeth worried about causing ‘difficulty,’ says daughter

Queen Elizabeth II was duty-bound to the end, fearing that her death at her holiday home in Scotland might create unnecessary hassle, her daughter says in an upcoming documentary.

The queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, reveals in the program to air on the BBC that her mother was concerned that things could be “difficult” if she died at Balmoral, the royal residence in the Scottish Highlands where the queen spent her summer vacations. The castle is about 500 miles north of London, the focal point for most of the events that would come after the queen’s death.

Elizabeth died on Sept. 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle. She was 96. Her official death certificate said she died of “old age.”

Anne, who was with her mother when she died, tells the filmmakers, “I think there was a moment when she felt that it would be more difficult if she died at Balmoral.” She says the family persuaded the queen that she “shouldn’t be part of the decision-making process.”

“I hope she felt that that was right, in the end. Because I think we did,” Anne says.

Elizabeth was known to be especially fond of Balmoral, which is privately owned by the monarch. Anne says that at the queen’s Scottish home, “it was probably more independent life than anywhere else.”

The queen had extended her summer stay in Scotland and even met with Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, Britain’s 55th and 56th prime ministers, at Balmoral shortly before she died.

The monarch plays an important role in the transition of power in Britain, formally appointing the new leader at a ceremony called “kissing hands” that typically takes place at Buckingham Palace in London. In 2022, for the first time in Elizabeth’s reign, the outgoing and incoming prime ministers travelled to Scotland for the ceremony.

Earlier in 2022, the queen had bowed out of several events because of what the palace called “episodic mobility problems.”

Anne’s comments were made in a documentary called “Charles III: The Coronation Year,” which is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, who played the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, in some seasons of “The Crown.” The 90-minute documentary will be broadcast in Britain the day after Christmas and features behind-the-scenes footage of the buildup to the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The Washington Post was shown a preview of the documentary on Friday.

Anne is known to be a trusted adviser to her brother and was the only royal interviewed for the program. In the show, she praises Camilla — “I’ve known her a long time, off and on” — and says her “understanding of her role and how much difference it makes to the king has been absolutely outstanding.”

“This role is not something she would have been a natural for, but she does it really well. And she provides that change of speed and tone — she’s equally modern,” Anne adds.

Speaking about her brother’s ascending the throne, she says: “To be honest, I’m not sure that anybody can really prepare themselves for that kind of change … not easily. And then the change happens and you go: ‘Okay, I now have to get on with it.’”

“Monarchy is a 365-days-a-year occupation; it doesn’t stop because you change monarchs, for whatever reason,” she says.

She also speaks about the moment when her mother was laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel, on the grounds of centuries-old Windsor Castle.

When the Imperial State Crown was removed from her coffin, “I rather weirdly felt a sense of relief,” Anne says. “Somehow that’s it, finished — that responsibility being moved on.”


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