The Guardian: LONDON, England – The Queen’s overnight stay at King Edward VII’s hospital this week is her first in eight years.
Known for her strong constitution and no-fuss approach to her infrequent illnesses, she was treated in 2013 at the private clinic for gastroenteritis, when she also stayed for one night.
Last week, the sovereign used a walking stick at a Westminster Abbey service – the first time she has done so at a major event.
The coronavirus pandemic had seen the Queen retreat to Windsor Castle for her safety, where she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh in lockdown. The couple were vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their advanced age, and were protected by the so-called HMS Bubble – their reduced household of about 20 staff.
On January 9, the 95-year-old Queen and the 99-year-old duke received their coronavirus vaccinations, with Buckingham Palace taking the rare step of confirming a private medical matter, as the national rollout of the injections gathered pace.
In January last year, the Queen missed her annual visit to the Sandringham Women’s Institute due to a slight cold, and she called time on her overseas travels when she turned 90, leaving long-haul destinations to the younger members of her family.
However, she still maintains a busy diary of events, rides her Fell ponies at Windsor, and drives, though mainly around her private estates.
In July 2018, the Queen missed the christening of her great-grandson Prince Louis but not because of illness. It was agreed in advance that the Queen would not attend because it fell at the beginning of a busy week of engagements including the centenary of the RAF and a visit by then US president Donald Trump.
In June that year, the Queen pulled out of a service at St Paul’s Cathedral because she was feeling “under the weather”, and a month earlier had eye surgery to remove a cataract.
In November 2017, the Prince of Wales led the nation in honouring the country’s war dead on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph. It was the first time that the Queen, as head of state, had watched the ceremony from a nearby balcony, and was seen as a sign of the royal family in transition and an acknowledgement of her age.
Just before Christmas 2016, the Queen and Philip both fell ill with heavy colds, forcing them to delay their trip to Sandringham by a day. The Queen was not well enough to attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene church and also missed the New Year’s Day one. She later described it as a “particularly grisly mixture of cold and flu”.
Her first hospital stay in 10 years came on 3 March 2013 when she was 86, after she suffered gastroenteritis.
A week of engagements, including a two-day trip to Rome, was cancelled. The Queen spent one night in hospital and was driven to Buckingham Palace to rest.
Her illnesses have been few and far between over the years. She has suffered from back pain, and also had operations to remove torn cartilage from both knees.
- Top Feature Photo: The Queen leaves King Edward VII hospital in London in March 2013, the last time she needed to stay there overnight – Will Oliver/AFP/Getty Images