Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recounted his last meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, saying she was “brilliant” and “focused” in the days leading up to her death despite her visible illness.
“She was actively focused on geopolitics, on British politics, quoting statesmen from the 1950s. It was quite extraordinary,” Johnson told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Monday, adding that he was “shocking “to learn of his death just two days after they met.
Johnson said the Queen was “clearly not well” when they met, which he said was a “moving” reminder of her unwavering commitment to public service, even in her final days.
“I just thought about how her sense of duty had kept her going the way she had. And, given how obviously sick she was, how she should be so bright and so focused,” said Johnson said “It was a pretty emotional time.”
Queen Elizabeth has held weekly audiences with the incumbent prime minister, with her reign spanning the terms of 15 British leaders, according to The Guardian. Following his death on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, that role passed to his successor, King Charles III.
Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss held her first audience with the King on Friday.
Johnson met the Queen on Tuesday at Balmoral to formally tender his resignation after Truss won the Conservative leadership contest to succeed him as the next leader of the Conservative Party and take over as the country’s new prime minister. Later that day, the Queen appointed Truss to take her place.
Johnson announced in July that he would step down amid a series of scandals, including hosting parties that breached coronavirus restrictions and allegations of senior official misconduct that prompted the resignation of more than 50 ministers .