DEPRESSED SAD, LONELY & SCARED OF DYING; 'Her Personal Agony Is Heartbreaking to Watch. She Is in Turmoil and Has Lost Faith in herself'A CLOSE ROYAL AIDE

Article excerpt

Byline: CLAIRE COLLINS

A SENIOR royal aide is desperately worried about the health of the Queen, fearing she is sinking into deep depression, The People can reveal.

The courtier bravely spoke out after watching the 76-year-old monarch become increasingly frail and a virtual recluse under a string of recent hammer blows.

Our source believes Her Majesty is a broken woman, afraid that both she and her Crown are in danger.

The aide said: "Her acute personal agony is heartbreaking to witness. She has lost all faith in herself and her family. She is very depressed."

The Queen was devastated by grief over the deaths last year of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret and racked by the stress of the Paul Burrell trial.

Then last week she was stunned by photos of herself looking old and haggard after her knee operation.

The aide broke all royal protocol to tell The People: "The Queen is a shadow of her formal self. She is in turmoil.

"The events of last year have finally hit home and she is not coping well. She is withdrawn, weak and almost defeatist. The aide revealed she:

-IS SCARED of dying early after losing her mother and sister.

-FEELS like a frail old lady who has lost her regal air.

-RARELY leaves Sandringham, even to walk her beloved Corgis.

-DOUBTS that Prince Charles is suited to be king - and is adamant that he must not wed Camilla Parker Bowles.

-WANTS to groom Prince William to take the throne after she dies.

-THINKS the end of the monarchy could be in sight.

The courtier took the unusual step of revealing the Queen's troubled state hoping the country and her family will rally round to help.

In secret meetings over the past two weeks the aide admitted: "The Queen is questioning herself, her ability to rule and whether she has provided a son who will ensure the longevity of the monarchy. These are worrying times in the House of Windsor."

Pictures of the Queen hobbling on crutches as she left the private King Edward VII hospital after a cartilage operation were beamed around the world.

And her ashen face told a devastating story. The aide said: "All she could see in those pictures was her mother. She was shocked at how old and frail she appeared.

"The Queen is a striking, regal woman, but those crutches made her look like any other pensioner. In recent months she has began to feel her age and it has come as a shock. She is finding it difficult to get around.

"She had a bad cold at Christmas and couldn't shake it off. When you lead the life of a Royal, you feel immortal. Now she is beginning to realise she is not.

"And she desperately misses having her mother and sister to confide in. …