It never ceases to amaze me how things can go from relatively calm to scenes of chaos within a matter of minutes. I should imagine that the same situation unfolded in Buckingham Palace this morning when Her Majesty found out that she might have to miss Royal Ascot due to the government postponing The Queen’s Speech.
Theresa May’s government has not yet reached a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) meaning they haven’t achieved a majority in Parliament. This means Mrs May feels that if the speech isn’t pushed back, it is very likely to fail in getting passed meaning there will be another General Election.
The Queen’s Speech was supposed to take place on Monday June 19 – a day before the week-long Royal Ascot meeting takes place. Her Majesty attends each year without fail and it is said that Royal Ascot is the first engagement to go in the Monarch’s diary each year because she enjoys it so much.
There is talk in Westminster that the speech is only delayed “by a matter of days”. If this is the case, it is likely the 91-year-old will have to miss at least one day of the racing meeting.
Of course, it is possible that Theresa May and her government knew The Queen was supposed to attend Royal Ascot, and this is why they decided to push back the speech. Maybe they know that it would be preferable if the whole thing is pushed back by a matter of weeks than days so they have more time to negotiate?
Either way, I have no doubt there will be frantic conversations between Buckingham Palace and Westminster this morning to find a new date that will suit both parties.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the country at the moment, and nobody really knows what tomorrow will bring. One thing that is certain, however, is that one will not be amused if government pandemonium causes an upheaval of the royal diary.