ROME: Queen Elizabeth II is in good spirits, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed on Saturday after doctors advised the 95-year-old monarch to rest for at least another fortnight.
The Queen, who spent a night in hospital last week for “preliminary investigations”, has since been following medical advice to recuperate and been conducting only light work.
She cancelled a two-day trip to Northern Ireland last week while her appearance at the upcoming COP26 UN climate conference, which starts on Sunday in Scotland, has also been shelved.
Following the latest advice, Buckingham Palace said Friday she would continue to carry out desk-based duties and some virtual audiences but no official visits in the next two weeks.
“I spoke to Her Majesty and she’s on very good form,” Johnson told UK broadcaster Channel 4 in Rome, where he is attending a weekend G20 summit.
“She’s just got to follow the advice of her doctors and get some rest, and I think that’s the important thing. I think the whole country wishes her well.”
The change of pace for Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne in 2022 and is known for her steadfast commitment to royal duties, is rare.
Buckingham Palace said in its latest statement that it remained her “firm intention” to attend the national service of remembrance for British war veterans on November 14.
‘Fewer personal appearances’
The Queen first took a step back from work on October 20, the day after a reception for global business leaders at Windsor Castle where she chatted to Johnson and US billionaire Bill Gates.
She spent the following night in hospital, her first since 2013, which palace officials said was for practical reasons after “preliminary investigations” into an unspecified matter.
The monarch had appeared in strong form in public until recently, despite the loss of her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip in April.
She had been attending official engagements almost daily, similar to her pre-pandemic workload, since returning from her traditional summer holiday in Balmoral, Scotland.
But she made headlines recently after being seen walking with a cane, and The Sun tabloid reported that she had also stopped walking her corgis.
The Queen is reported to have stopped riding her horses, a keen passion, although she plans to take it back up again after resting. She is also believed to have given up drinking alcohol.
The monarch will likely conduct “fewer personal appearances and more on video,” royal expert Penny Junor told AFP earlier this week.
“And where she does appear, I would guess it will be as a spectator rather than at receptions where she has to work a room and meet dozens of people”.
She will address COP26 by video, but it will be her son Prince Charles, heir to the crown, who will deliver the opening in-person speech.
The 72-year-old prince, who lacks his mother’s popularity, has already been representing her abroad since she gave up foreign duties.