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Queen ‘back at her desk’ following hospital stay, says Prime Minister

PA Media logoPA Media 22/10/2021 By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
The Queen has had her first overnight hospital stay since 2013 (Andrew Milligan/PA) © Andrew Milligan The Queen has had her first overnight hospital stay since 2013 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Queen is back at her desk working following her overnight stay in hospital, the Prime Minister has said.

The 95-year-old monarch, who was ordered to rest by doctors and advised to miss a trip to Northern Ireland this week, is staying at her Windsor Castle home and is said by Buckingham Palace to be in “good spirits”.

Boris Johnson commented on the Queen during a visit to a vaccine centre in west London on Friday, saying: “I think everybody sends Her Majesty our very, very best wishes. And certainly we have from the Government.

“But I’m given to understand that actually Her Majesty is characteristically back at her desk at Windsor as we speak. But we send her every possible good wish.”

A source previously said the Queen is “resting and undertaking light duties”.

Her short stay at King Edward VII’s hospital in London on Wednesday for “preliminary investigations” was kept a secret by Buckingham Palace, which has left some media outlets frustrated and citing issues of trust.

It is understood the Queen was due to stay for only a short period while seen by specialists, so the development was not announced by the Palace at the time, and protecting her medical privacy was also a consideration.

The overnight admittance was for “practical reasons”, a source said.

The Queen at a reception for business leaders on October 10 (Alastair Grant/PA) © Provided by PA Media The Queen at a reception for business leaders on October 10 (Alastair Grant/PA)

The Queen’s trip by car rather than helicopter to the central London private hospital was confirmed by the Palace on Thursday evening only after The Sun newspaper broke the news.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said late on Thursday night: “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, and remains in good spirits.”


Video: Queen’s health over years after first overnight hospital stay since 2013 (PA Media)

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Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine, said the issue of revealing details about the monarch’s health is problematic: “This is a tricky one because the Queen does have a right to a certain degree of privacy, but on the other hand she’s head of state.

“So does that entitle us to know exactly what ailments she may or may not have? It’s a very difficult one to get the balance right for the satisfaction of everybody.”

The Queen’s admittance was her first overnight stay in hospital since she spent a night at the private clinic in 2013 when she was treated for the symptoms of gastroenteritis.

The Queen spent Wednesday night at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) © Provided by PA Media The Queen spent Wednesday night at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A statement released by Buckingham Palace on Wednesday at 11am, before the Queen was admitted to hospital that afternoon, announced the cancellation of her two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

It said “The Queen has reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days”, and went to say she was “disappointed” at not being able to travel and sent her “warmest good wishes” to the people of Northern Ireland.

Royal author Penny Junor said the Palace’s decision not to announce the hospital visit prevented unfounded rumours circulating.

She said: “I’m not surprised they did that, otherwise there would be speculation. People would be putting her in her grave long before she’s ready for it.”

A Downing Street spokesman declined to say whether Mr Johnson had held his weekly audience with the monarch, but so far it has not been listed in the Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements.

The Queen spoke at the ceremonial opening of the Senedd in Cardiff last Thursday (Andrew Matthews/PA) © Provided by PA Media The Queen spoke at the ceremonial opening of the Senedd in Cardiff last Thursday (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Light duties for the Queen could see her working on correspondence from her red boxes – policy papers, Cabinet documents, Foreign Office telegrams, a daily summary of events in Parliament and other State papers.

The famous boxes are sent to the monarch by her private secretaries wherever she is every day of the year.

Mr Little speculated about whether changes will have to be made to the Queen’s diary in future.

He said: “The thing about the Queen’s schedule is it sometimes seems to be often all crammed together, there will be a period of intense activity then it will go quiet, but I suppose it will have to be reassessed, to pace it.

“It used to make sense to cram all these things together but when you get to 95 clearly those rules no longer apply.”

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