The Queen will carry out light duties as she continues to rest following her Wednesday night stay in hospital for “preliminary investigations”, it is understood.
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.
She returned to the Berkshire residence at lunchtime on Thursday following tests at King Edward VII’s hospital in London and is said to remain in “good spirits”.
A source said the situation was the same as Thursday, with the Queen “resting and undertaking light duties”.
Here’s what you need to know about how she is and her work schedule.
How is the Queen?
It was the monarch’s 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.
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.”
The Queen could be working on correspondence from her red boxes – policy papers, Cabinet documents, Foreign Office telegrams, a daily summary of events in Parliament, letters and other State papers.
The famous boxes are sent to the monarch by her private secretaries wherever she is every day of the year.
The head of state’s trip by car rather than helicopter to central London’s private King Edward VII’s Hospital was kept a secret but the Palace issued a statement on Thursday evening.
Earlier in the week the monarch had to pull out of a two-day trip to Northern Ireland on the day it was due to begin with the Palace saying she was “disappointed” at having to do so.
It was understood the decision was not related to coronavirus.
She officially reaches her Platinum Jubilee on February 6 – the date when she acceded to the throne after the death of her father King George VI in 1952.
Generally, the Queen is known for her robust health even though she is just five years away from her 100th birthday.
In January 2020, she missed her annual visit to the Sandringham Women’s Institute due to a slight cold.
Last week, she used a walking stick for what is believed to be the first time at a major public event when she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion. However, days later she was seen without it.
Despite her age, the Queen maintains a busy daily diary carrying out her duties as sovereign, dealing with official papers in her famous red boxes, and holding audiences and video calls.
What have people said?
Boris Johnson has passed on his best wishes to the Queen as she continues to rest following her overnight stay in hospital.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to a vaccine centre at the Little Venice Sports Centre in west London, Boris Johnson said: “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.”
Political and church leaders also wished the Queen well following the cancellation of her visit to Northern Ireland.
“We wish to convey to Her Majesty our good wishes and, in doing so, to acknowledge the significance of her commitment to the work of peace and reconciliation, which has meant a great deal to people throughout this island.
“We hope that tomorrow’s service will provide an opportunity to further that work, with an emphasis on our shared hopes for the future.”
The statement was signed by Presbyterian Moderator David Bruce, Church of Ireland Primate John McDowell, Catholic Primate Eamon Martin, President of the Irish Council of Churches Ivan Patterson and President of the Methodist Church in Ireland Sahr Yambasu.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis tweeted: “Wishing Her Majesty The Queen all the very best as she takes a few days’ rest. I look forward to meeting her in Northern Ireland in the future.”
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson also tweeted his best wishes.
“We thank Her Majesty for her good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland and trust that she will keep well and benefit from a period of rest,” he tweeted.
“It is always a joy to have Her Majesty in Royal Hillsborough and we look forward to a further visit in the near future.”
What is her work schedule like?
Here is what the monarch has been up to since her return to Windsor Castle from Balmoral at the start of October:
- October 6: The Queen holds two virtual audiences at Windsor with the Greek ambassador and the ambassador for Belize. She meets Canadian troops from 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and later has a telephone audience with Minister Boris Johnson.
- October 7: The Queen, with the Earl of Wessex, launches the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games from the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
- October 12: The Queen, accompanied by the Princess Royal, attends a Westminster Abbey service of thanksgiving to mark the centenary of the Royal British Legion.
- October 13: The monarch has a face-to-face audience with pianist Dame Imogen Cooper to present her with the Queen’s Medal for Music. She also holds three other audiences.
- October 14: On an away day to Cardiff, the Queen delivers a speech at the sixth session of the Welsh Senedd.
- October 16: The Queen enjoys a day at the races, and presents the trophy after the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes during the Qipco British Champions Day.
- October 18: She holds a virtual audience with the new Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Cindy Kiro.
- October 19: The Queen has three engagements – two virtual audiences with the Japanese ambassador and the EU ambassador, and then hosts an evening reception at Windsor Castle to mark the Global Investment Summit.
The monarch has a bumper programme of celebrations to prepare for next year. She is is gearing up for her milestone Platinum Jubilee, with a weekend of festivities being held next summer.
The four-day royal extravaganza in June – with an extra Bank Holiday – includes Trooping the Colour, a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, a visit to the Epsom Derby, a live concert at Buckingham Palace and a Jubilee Pageant.
After the Duke of Edinburgh’s death she continued with her duties as she has always pledged to do, and within weeks appeared in public for the State Opening of Parliament.
In the next few weeks and months, the 95-year-old head of state is set to travel to Glasgow for the high-profile Cop26 climate change conference, attend Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph and then record her Christmas Day broadcast to the nation, among other events.
Could the Queen’s engagements be scaled back?
The cancellation of the Queen’s trip to Northern Ireland is a reminder that the head of state – at the age of 95 – cannot do what was expected of her 10 or 20 years ago, a royal commentator has said.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the Queen’s autumn schedule had been more crammed than expected, but last-minute cancellations were inevitable in the future.
Mr Little said: “I think when you get to the age of 95 and you have a role such as the Queen has, there is an inevitability about last-minute cancellations.
“Unfortunately, I think this is just how it’s going to have to be from time to time.
“The fact that she has been busy and seemingly healthy and happy of late shows that clearly looks can be deceptive unless something has happened overnight.”
He added: “Mentally, the Queen is pin sharp as ever and when she makes speeches she speaks well.
“But you notice that the body is perhaps a little bit less so.
“Every now and again there will be this reminder that she is 95 and she can’t do what was expected of her 10, 20 years ago.”
The Queen looked on good form when she greeted business leaders at Windsor Castle on Tuesday evening, but royal doctors on Wednesday morning ordered her to rest and advised her to pull out of her two-day trip to Northern Ireland.
Mr Little added: “People get very concerned, particularly when you don’t know the underlying cause … but it might just be a case of her taking her foot off the accelerator for a few days.”
The royal expert said he did not believe there would be a regency – when the Queen would remain Queen but the Prince of Wales would become a stand-in sovereign and take over the day-to-day duties.
“I certainly don’t think there’ll be any sort of regency unless there was a sharp deterioration in the Queen’s health and there was no alternative, but it certainly wouldn’t be a voluntary one on her part – and it’s not even worth discussing abdication,” Mr Little said.
Reports over the years suggested that the Queen would only seriously consider a regency when she reached 95, but she passed this birthday milestone in April.
Mr Little said the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year would look very different to the Diamond Jubilee a decade ago in terms of her public appearances.
“The workload has been spread for quite some time and that will continue to to happen,” he said.
He added of the Jubilee: “Other people will be doing engagements on her behalf. How much she does in the UK will be interesting to see.”
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