A statement released from Buckingham Palace this morning has sadly officially confirmed that Her Majesty the Queen has the age related condition known as 'detrectandis'. The condition is fortunately not life threatening. Detrectandis usually attacks the legs although it can affect any part of the body. It does mean we will be seeing far less of her in future.
Britain's top expert on the condition, Professor Simon Horty has been in contact with the palace to offer his services, at a reduced rate, should they be required. Professor Horty says there is no need for any public mourning as the condition is not life threatening and is more an inconvenience to those who have it rather than being in any way painful. He also says there are treatments that can often slow down it's progression quite significantly, although he admits there is as yet no known cure. He explains,
"In layman's terms it simply means that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is now beginning to shrink." She is eighty-five.
Detrectandis affects many elderly people to some degree. Though victims of it will find that as their legs become ever shorter it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to get up flights of stairs due to the steepness they present, nevertheless it is not a condition that greatly affects their general quality of life.
"Nowadays there are things like stair lifts to help them" says Professor Horty.
The confirmed diagnosis was broken to the Queen on Friday evening by her personal physician and trusted friend Dr.Gregory Rasputin. Prince Philip is thought to have been with her at the time.
The Queen initially received the news calmly before understandably becoming unsteady on her feet then fainting when Dr Rasputin explained to her that the condition is very common. Smelling salts and a thimble of brandy was administered by her doctor who then helped guide Her Majesty to her bedroom where she spent a comfortable night trying out her brand new little bed.
The Queen, never a particularly tall monarch having only ever ascended to a 'personal best' of just 5'4" will obviously find it a great inconvenience to her as the shrinking process continues bringing with it, for her, a much lower view of the world. That it has struck her in her Diamond Jubilee year when she will be travelling around Britain attending many celebratory functions will now mean that special arrangements will have to be made to ensure that she has more than what for most people would be just a knee high view of proceedings. In the event Her Majesty shrinks to become less than twelve inches tall in her stocking feet Prince Philip will provide a shoulder for her to sit on during this year's Jubilee processions so that she'll have a good view of the cheering crowds. Sadly, latest news emerging from the palace is that Her Majesty is already down to three foot - and shrinking fast!
In response to this morning's official statement the Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the two lines of verse in the National Anthem containing the word 'long' are to be changed. The first time it appears is in verse one with the line 'Long to reign over us', and then it appears for a second time in the line of verse three's 'Long may she reign'. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has accepted the task of coming up with more respectful alternatives.
Meanwhile Professor Simon Horty does offer some hope by explaining, "The shrinking process can often be slowed down with the help of regular physiotherapy stretching exercises." He says, "They won't bring her back to the 5'4" of the past, but if Her Majesty is suspended in mid-air for at least two hours every day, grabbing hold of something like a well fixed ceiling chandelier, then it could be some five years before she'll need to think about having dolls house furniture in Buckingham Palace. My immediate concern would be those corgis, especially that snappy one she calls Monty. If she insists on approaching them from now on she'd be well advised to make sure they've had there dinner first."
It is widely believed Queen Victoria also had the same leg shrinking condition towards the end of her life though chose not to make it public. Instead she taught herself to walk about on specially made wooden stilts under her long dresses finding it amusing to walk about on them in public in the knowledge that people had no idea below her head was a body just thirty seven and a half inches tall.
Unfortunately it seems unlikely that Elizabeth could adapt to using stilts. Explains Professor Horty, "Anyone intending to use stilts on a regular basis would need legs of good girth with plenty of strong thigh and calf muscle. The Queen's legs are far too thin for stilts, she'd keep toppling over. Queen Victoria of course had legs as thick as tree trunks."