Buckingham Palace press releases are a lesson in ruthless brevity.
In March, it took the royal establishment nearly 40 hours to put out a mere 61-word official communique after Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's incendiary Oprah interview, in which the palace taciturnly informed the world that "recollections may vary".
Today, another official missive from the palace has landed the Queen and her cadre of courtiers in hot water after it emerged that they had misled the press and public about Her Majesty's wellbeing after the 95-year-old spent a night in hospital.
Things unfolded like this: on Wednesday, UK time, the palace announced that the Queen would be cancelling her upcoming two-day tour of Northern Ireland on the advice of her doctors and that she had "reluctantly accepted medical advice" to rest, all of which seemed fair enough. The woman is still working full-time, 32 years after she was eligible for retirement in the UK.
Also, age looked like it was starting to catch up with the indefatigable monarch of late, with the Queen seen using a cane when arriving at a service at Westminster Abbey last week along with reports that she has given up drinking to ensure she will be in tip-top condition for her Platinum Jubilee next year.
Palace officials said she was resting at Windsor and thus, satisfied that Britain's longest-reigning sovereign wasn't in any serious danger, monarchists, royal writers and the Buckingham Palace gift shop managers all breathed a sigh of relief. (Imagine the run on commemorative china! The world is just not ready for that pandemonium yet.)
So, box sets and maybe some mock turtle soup on the couch seemed just the ticket.
The issue here is, however, it turns out that Buckingham Palace had not been entirely truthful and that on Wednesday, the same day that she was supposedly "resting", Her Majesty had actually been admitted to the private King Edward VII hospital in London's Marylebone.
Today, in a statement, the palace said: "Following medical advice to rest for a few days, the Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today (Thursday) and remains in good spirits."
Courtiers also downplayed why the Queen had even spent the night, with The Sun reporting: "It was believed the Queen stayed the night in hospital as it was getting too late to take her on a 26-mile trip home."
Further ringing alarm bells here is the similarity in phrasing used by the palace in this statement and previous communications about Prince Philip's health. It was only in mid-February, when Philip was admitted to the same London hospital, that the palace played down the situation, saying he had been admitted on the advice of doctors and that he was "in good spirits".
Sound eerily familiar?
With today's statement, aides have only added fuel to speculation about how well — or not — the Queen might be.
While the Queen is now definitely at home at Windsor, the events of the last 36 hours have set a very worrying precedent. Going forward, how much of what the palace tells us can we believe? And, if they have not been entirely honest about this, what else might they be keeping from us?
While these might seem like relatively trivial concerns, what you've got to think about here is the woeful timing of this week's botched handling of things.
The question of trust in the palace has been a serious issue for the last two years. Prince Andrew's friendship with a convicted sex offender and moves by the palace to seemingly shield him from the fallout only created the impression of the venerable house closing ranks to protect one of its own.
Trust in the royal family was only eroded further when Harry and Meghan went public in March and painted a picture of an evasive palace which refused to address damaging press reports about the Duchess and which was tainted by a vein of institutional racism.
These two separate PR catastrophes have had the very serious consequence of introducing dangerous seeds of doubt into the public's mind about just how straightforward — or not — the royal house is with the public.
While an imperious palace haughtily not deigning to be forthright might have flown back in the days of the sun never setting on the Empire, we are long, long past that. Now, the royal house cannot afford to be seen as shifty or evasive as they mount the fight of their lives to keep the monarchy afloat in the 21st century.
Whether it's next week or six years from now (when Her Majesty will be 101 years old, the age the Queen Mother was when she drank her final gin martini) there is an invisible clock counting down towards the inevitable passing of Queen Elizabeth II. For decades, every minute detail of the events which will follow her death have been plotted and planned (and of the ascension of her son to the throne as King Charles III).
The last thing The Firm needs as we inch towards that day is suspicion and doubt creeping into the public's minds about how forthright the palace is and how much trust we can place in what they tell the world.
While even the Queen deserves privacy around the peculiars of her health, she is also the head of state and, in managing moments like this week, the House of Windsor is walking a very tight rope.
And if they do fall? No one will be "in good spirits".
• Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years' experience working with a number of Australia's leading media titles