Royal Historian Says, Despite the Queen’s Physical Mobility Issues, “She Is in Charge”

She is totally in control.

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Joe Giddens / WPA Pool for Getty Images)

At every turn, so much change is occurring within the royal family, but let it be known that one aspect is very much the same, says a prominent royal expert: Her Majesty is still very much in charge.

Despite physical mobility issues, says royal historian Robert Lacey, she’s not stepping down from the throne anytime soon, nor has she lost control of anything at the Palace.

“The sense I get from everyone I speak to is that the Queen remains totally in control of her faculties and of everything at the Palace,” he tells PEOPLE, via OK!. “The problem is physical mobility—and that is not a constitutional or regency issue. She is in charge.”

Much was made of Her Majesty missing the State Opening of Parliament on May 10, where she sent two of her heirs, Prince Charles and Prince William, in her place. Lacey sees the duo stepping in as a significant moment, a decision the Queen was very much behind—along with the well-thought-out decision to express her desire for daughter-in-law Camilla to one day be Queen Consort.

“She’s clearly thinking of the future, and this can be seen alongside the moment she said it was her wish that Camilla be known as Queen Consort, which was another important development this year,” he says. “Asking her son Charles and William to attend is clearly about succession, about emphasizing a partnership and teamwork. Charles is deputizing for the Queen, as he has done before—and as William and Kate have also started to do in some of the duties they’ve been doing.”

This week, for example, Prince William attended a state funeral in the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Queen, and Kate Middleton attended a garden party representing Her Majesty. After a spate of health issues stemming back to last year, the Queen’s attendance at royal events these days is fully dependent on how she is feeling that day, and “the assumption must now be that the Queen will not be present at events,” an insider told The Mail on Sunday. “If Her Majesty does attend, it will be decided on the day, and she will be accompanied by another member of the royal family.”

But just because her physical mobility might sometimes preclude her, don’t be fooled—the Queen is very much still the Queen.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.