Why Side-By-Side Images Of The Queen Are Causing Alarm Among Royal Experts

She's 96 years old and yet a new photo of Queen Elizabeth has some royal fans' jaws on the floor because, well, she looks like she's 96. The shocking picture was taken during a meeting between the monarch and Australian Governor Margaret Beazley on June 22, 2022 (via News.com.au). In the now-viral image, we see the British ruler looking frail and more stooped over than we are used to. Her hair also appears to be thinning quite a bit more.

But what really has everyone talking is a comparison of how she looks today with a photo taken of the monarch just a year earlier, at around the same time, while wearing a similar yellow floral dress and pearls, and in the same room in Buckingham Palace. That she truly may be declining is creating buzz among royal experts and fans.

Indeed, Queen Elizabeth looks noticeably healthier in the older picture, captured while then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was visiting. She's standing straight and her face is fuller. Her Majesty has clearly lost weight in the past several months.

So what is going on with the beloved monarch?

Queen Elizabeth has aged a lot in a year

As royal fans are well aware, the Queen has bowed out of countless public events over the last several months, citing ongoing mobility challenges. Notably, she did not attend some of the high-profile events celebrating her recent Platinum Jubilee, including the service of thanksgiving, which saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sitting separately from Prince William and Kate Middleton — while Prince Andrew skipped the affair after announcing he'd tested positive for COVID-19 (via WCVB).

Meanwhile, the Queen also missed Royal Ascot, a prestigious horse race, for the first time, well, basically in forever (via ITV). In May, she had created a stir by pulling out of the opening of Parliament for the third time in her entire life.

Of course, before this new and shocking photo was released, we already knew Queen Elizabeth's health was not optimal given her decision to pull out of many recent public events — and that is close to 100 years old. 

But is something else going on with Her Majesty? 

Queen Elizabeth looked much healthier last year

One has to wonder of course if Prince Philip's death in April of last year is behind Queen Elizabeth's seemingly sharp decline. After all, the royal couple was married for nearly three quarters of a century (via Insider). A study in Science Daily noted that indeed, cognitive decline is accelerated by widowhood.

While we don't know the exact health challenges the Queen is experiencing — other than perhaps a broken heart — it's clear her age is catching up with her, and at least one royal expert calls the change we are seeing in her "nothing short of alarming."

As Daniela Elser said in her piece for News.com.au that debuted the image of the Queen that everyone is talking about, the long-reigning ruler is simply fading away while the world watches.

Royal fans support the Queen in the wake of criticism

As outsiders, it's hard to know for sure how to explain the stark contrast between a photo taken of Queen Elizabeth this week and the picture of her with Scott Morrison taken around the same time last year. Indeed, royal expert Daniela Elser noted in piece for News.com.au, "Aides are in a tricky spot. They can hardly come out and offer the press a running commentary on whatever might be ailing [the queen]."

Meanwhile, after the jaw-dropping new photo came out, not only did an expert weigh in, but royal fans were on hand on Twitter to share their hot takes as well, with one person sticking up for her by tweeting, "She's 96, lost a husband and had covid." The person went on to implore the media to leave her alone. Likewise, someone else commented, "Leave Queenie alone, she's 96! We should all hope to live that long and look as wonderful as she does."

Many other royal fans emphasized that the Queen had battled COVID-19 just recently, an experience she said left her rather "tired and exhausted" (via Vanity Fair). And, most Twitter users came to Her Majesty's defense about aging — something we all do!

Meanwhile, it's important to note that the Queen traveled to Scotland via train this week for a series of events (via People). She looked healthier in images from the trip, prompting one to wonder if the frail-looking Queen from the other photo was more a product of lighting and the angle.