Queen Elizabeth's Last Days Revealed by Royal Confidant: Horse Race, TV Police Dramas and "No Regrets"
“She told me she had no regrets.”
A new book about the late Queen Elizabeth II details the last months and weeks of her life—including the serious illness she was battling in private. In Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, by Gyles Brandreth, he describes how she faced the final stretch of her life and how she enjoyed the time she had left with characteristic dignity and good humor.
"The truth is that Her Majesty always knew that her remaining time was limited," Brandreth says. "She accepted this with all the good grace you'd expect." Here is what Brandreth says about the Queen's last days and the illness which slowed her down in her last year. Keep reading to learn more— and to explore the secrets of the Royal Family, don't miss these Biggest Royal Romance Scandals of All Time.
According to Brandreth, Queen Elizabeth was suffering from a debilitating illness that slowed her down during the last year of her life. "I had heard that the Queen had a form of myeloma — bone marrow cancer — which would explain her tiredness and weight loss and those 'mobility issues' we were often told about during the last year or so of her life," Brandreth says.
"The most common symptom of myeloma is bone pain, especially in the pelvis and lower back, and multiple myeloma is a disease that often affects the elderly."
Brandreth says the Right Reverend Dr. Iain Greenshields was with the Queen the weekend of September 3 and 4, before her death on September 8, and found her in very good spirits. "He has dinner with her on Saturday evening, gives the sermon at Braemar and Crathie Parish Church on Sunday morning, then has lunch with her on Sunday afternoon," Brandreth says.
"They talk about the Queen's childhood, her horses, church affairs (she is 'well up to speed') and her sadness at what is happening in Ukraine. This is quite typical. The Queen is good at living in the present but often draws on her memories of the past, grateful for the lessons they have taught her. 'She was so alive and so engaging,' recalled Dr Greenshields later. 'Her faith was everything to her. She told me she had no regrets."
Two days before she passed away, the Queen called a racehorse trainer to discuss an upcoming race. "Tuesday, September 6. Clive Cox, one of Her Majesty's favorite racehorse trainers, gets a call from the Queen at 10am. She wants to chat to him about the prospects for her two-year-old, Love Affairs, who is running in the two o'clock at Goodwood. 'We talked about the filly,' he said, 'how the race might pan out, how another horse of hers was doing in my stable, and about a couple of other things. She was sharp as a tack.'" Love Affairs ended up comfortably winning the race.
According to Brandreth, Queen Elizabeth loved watching the British police drama Line of Duty, but struggled when the actors mumbled. "In the immediate aftermath of Prince Philip's death, Vice Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, the cheery Master of the Household, told me: 'My principal duty with HM [Her Majesty] has been to keep her spirits up — so I've been watching Line Of Duty with her . . . I'm 'the Explainer'! It's very funny.' She enjoyed watching television and told me: 'It keeps me in touch — when I can understand what's being said. There's an awful lot of mumbling on television now. It's not my hearing. They just don't seem to speak as clearly as they used to do.'"
Brandreth says Queen Elizabeth stayed busy and active until she was physically incapable of continuing her scheduled events. "In the autumn of 2021, she had a sudden 'energy low,'" Brandreth says. "She felt exhausted. Her doctors ordered her to 'rest a bit, not to push herself so much, to take it easy.' She had also hoped to attend the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph — fixtures in her calendar — but was persuaded not to. 'I've got to be sensible,' she said. Until then, her energy had been little short of astonishing. Over her final decade, she'd not only continued her work as monarch but actively engaged with modern life." Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait by Gyles Brandreth is set to be published by Michael Joseph on December 8.