With every year that passes, rather impertinent critics of The Queen’s super-fit health regime must increasingly want to hide themselves in a shed at the bottom of the garden and not answer the door to probing hacks who argue, “but you said”.
Although one of the Government’s chief scientific advisers called it “nonsense” and no less august a body than the BMA has reportedly described Her Majesty’s regime as “witchcraft”, it would seem that the smart money is going on whatever is bubbling in the cauldron, rather than what the experts say.
For as The Queen marks her 90th birthday on April 21, that she has reached such an excellent age is largely due to her lifelong trust in homeopathy. Everywhere that Her Majesty goes she is accompanied by a small case of special cures and tinctures and, although doctors no not care to admit it, it is because of her herbal little helpers that she rarely gets a cold or any other sort of complaint.
Empiricists would argue that as both The Queen and the late Queen Mother have been avid fans of homeopathy and as The Queen Mum died at the age of 101, the glaring probability that it works seems to be rather evident.
But still the medics won’t swallow the pill of proof in the pudding. A few years back, David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London, denounced the herbal practice as “utter nonsense”.
“Homeopathy remedies contain nothing whatsoever,” he said.
An interesting contrary view was put forward with devastating logic by Rachel Roberts, the chief executive of the Homeopathy Research Institute.
“The Royal Family have huge resources and access to everything medicine has to offer, yet they choose homeopathy,” said Ms Roberts, “Why would they use it if it doesn’t work?”
Now the Science-Based Medicine group has weighed in against those like The Queen who put their trust in the alternative medicine.
Homeopathy is a prescientific medical philosophy based upon the fanciful notions that like cures like, which is really an expression of sympathetic magic, and that extreme dilutions of a substance can retain the magical essence of the substance. These ideas were silly two centuries ago when they were invented,” says the SBM.
“The scientific advances we have made since then have only deepened this conclusion. Homeopathy should have been tossed onto the scrap heap of history along with phrenology, humoral theory, mesmerism, and other quaint ideas.
“Homeopathy cannot work. That is as reliable a scientific statement as any we can make. In other words, if homeopathy did work, we would have to rewrite major parts of basic science textbooks, including physics, chemistry, and biology.
“When tested clinically, despite their utter lack of plausibility, homeopathic potions are shown to lack efficacy. So not only should they not work, they in fact don’t work.”
Although scientists and medics are clearly insistent in their opposition to this snake oil, the royals keep upending their claims that it doesn’t work. Homeopathy has been part of royal life since 1835, when King William IV’s wife Queen Adelaide was cured of a serious illness by it when all other medicine failed.
Since then many members of the royal family, including Queen Mary [1865-1953], George V [1865-1936], Edward VII [1841-1910] and Edward VIII [1894-1972] have used it to assist living long and healthy lives.
Like his mother, the 67-year-old, fit as a fiddle Prince of Wales is a great believer in the medicine that makes medics see red. As long ago as 1982 he was telling the BMA that they had got homeopathy wrong.
“I have often thought that one of the less attractive traits of various professional bodies and institutions is the deeply ingrained suspicion and outright hostility which can exist towards anything unorthodox or unconventional,” he told the shocked docs.
“I would suggest that the whole imposing edifice of modern medicine, for all its breathtaking successes, is like the celebrated Tower of Pisa, slightly off balance.”
He was of course condemned as some sort of lunatic, much in the same way as he was ridiculed for his views on sustainability and organic farming. And yet time has proved him right on those “radical” concepts and it’s a good bet that many more of his mother’s birthdays will do the same on this issue.