Covid: Will the Queen have the vaccine and will she tell us if she does?

Queen Elizabeth II

At the age of 94, the Queen is in the age group most at risk from coronavirus and will be among the first to be offered the Covid vaccine which has now arrived in the UK.

The mass vaccination programme will begin this week but Buckingham Palace has not yet decided whether to make public the Queen’s decision to have it.

Government ministers are said to be particularly keen for the Monarch to announce when she had had the injection as it would send a powerful message to the country that the new vaccine is safe.

It would also counter, perhaps by more than any other means, the arguments put forward by vaccine sceptics that the injection was developed too quickly and it could have side-effects that scientists are yet to discover.

Medical matters for members of the Royal Family are routinely kept very private and royal aides have described the Queen’s decision to accept the vaccine as “very personal”.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been isolating at Windsor castle during the second lockdown. Credit: PA

Usually, an illness or hospital admission by any senior Royal is announced as a matter of last resort and then, only the most basic details are shared.

Sources inside the palace say it will be up to the Queen to decision whether or not to make public that she has been vaccinated.

Any request for her to do so is most likely going to come from the prime minister himself in one of his regular weekly audiences – which these days happen remotely while the Queen is isolating at Windsor Castle.

But the Queen might decide to break with protocol in this instance and release some information about what its, say her aides, is considered a “personal medical matter”.

She similarly made public that Prince Charles and Princess Anne had been protected against polio when they were children.

In the 1950s, there were a number of scare stories about the vaccine and the decision, at that time, to tell the nation that the heir to the throne had been immunised, went a long way to reassuring large sections of population.

The Queen spent the first and second lockdowns at Windsor Castle, where she is in isolation with the Duke of Edinburgh.

They are looked after by a small nominated team of servants who operate in what has been called HMS Bubble.

The Queen is unlikely to jump the queue. There are strict government guidelines on which groups should have the vaccine and in which order.

But if and when the Head of State is given the vaccine, I suspect she will bow to pressure and allow her aides to make it public.

Her judgement on what is best for the country is likely to override her desire to keep her medical records as private as possible.