Northern Ireland’s ex-Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said that she holds the Queen in high esteem.
Today it was confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19.
But the smirk on Ms O’Neill’s face while she responded to Sky News reporter David Blevins’s question and her comments that “we have to” respect her has given rise to multiple interpretations.
Buckingham Palace announced the monarch was experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms” and that she would carry out light tasks in the upcoming days.
Asked if she “genuinely respects” the Queen on Sky News, she said: “Of course. I mean I think we have to.
“We live in a society that has been so divided and I respect the views of those within the Unionist identity, those with the British identity and those people that look towards the monarchy.
“It’s not my thing but that’s ok.
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“I can be respectful to understand that for a lot of people in my society that’s important today.
“And that’s why we send my best wishes and again I do so today.”
The Queen, who is believed to be triple jabbed, met up with her son and heir Prince Charles, who tested positive on February 11, three days earlier at Windsor Castle.
The nation had been holding its breath ever since and Britons’ worst fears have been confirmed today.
Queen tests positive for Covid: Royal health fears erupt as Palace confirm result
He said: “The Queen is no lover of fuss.
“She’s in an environment where she can be very well looked after.
“She’s aware that an enormous number of people, particularly of her age, have been vulnerable at this time of getting COVID, and she will take the advice that she’s given, but she’s pretty stalwart.
“I think the Queen’s always been aware that one day she would get it.
“For a very feisty and determined lady of her mid-90s, she is more than ready to deal with what she faces.”