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'Political Hot Potato'? Media Ponders on Cancellation of UK Queen's Visit to Northern Ireland

© REUTERS / POOLBritain's Queen Elizabeth is seen in silhouette as she visits Manchester Cathedral, in Manchester, Britain, July 8, 2021
Britain's Queen Elizabeth is seen in silhouette as she visits Manchester Cathedral, in Manchester, Britain, July 8, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.10.2021
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The royal author noted, however, that he did not doubt the statement about the Queen being told by doctors to rest for a few days.
As Queen Elizabeth II cancelled her planned visit to Northern Ireland marking the 100 years of Ireland’s partition, some sources suggested that the official reason for this move – namely, Her Majesty catching a seasonal cold and being told to rest for a few days – could have been a “smokescreen” of sorts, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the newspaper, Dickie Arbiter, royal author and former press secretary to the queen, wondered aloud whether it would’ve been appropriate to attend the partition anniversary, as Irish President Michael D. Higgins and politicians from Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein party turned down invitations to the gathering.
"Maybe those who were organising it took their eye off the ball as it was a political hot potato. Should the Queen be attending that, well that's a political decision and something that Downing Street should have recognised rather than Palace officials," Arbiter said. "Maybe someone in government didn't see what was actually coming up for its full potential."
He noted, however, that he did not doubt the statement about the Queen being told by doctors to rest for a few days, arguing that, "if you're going to tell a porky like that, it's going to come back and slap you in the face."
Britain's Queen Elizabeth visits HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of the ship's maiden deployment at HM Naval Base in Portsmouth, Britain May 22, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.10.2021
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"So I think genuinely, it was fatigue. Don't forget, she's a 95-year-old woman and all the many engagements she's undertaken over the last couple of weeks in London and Edinburgh," Arbiter remarked.
Meanwhile, another source told the newspaper that there was also likely a matter of “bad timing” involved.
"The people hadn't worked out that COP is round the corner," they remarked. "It is gruelling. It is gruelling even for the healthy because these commitments are quite demanding. Her people might have said you need to be fresh and robust for the COP summit."
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