On October 20, Queen Elizabeth II was due to visit Hillsborough, Northern Ireland for two days and attend a church service for the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland. However, Buckingham Palace announced the cancellation of the trip that morning based on doctors’ recommendation. Later that afternoon, the Queen visited the hospital for a medical check-in and stayed overnight before returning to Windsor Castle on Thursday, marking her first overnight stay in eight years.
The hospitalization raised many concerns amongst the British populace. On Thursday evening, Buckingham Palace released a statement confirming the medical visit and assuring the public that the Queen is in good condition, although the reason for the visit was unspecified.
“The Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits,” said a Buckingham Palace spokesperson.
This is not the first time that the queen has canceled a visit due to illness. Primarily due to stiffness in her knees, Queen Elizabeth II stopped going on overseas trips several years ago, turning over the duties to her elder son Prince Charles. But this year it seems like the queen’s health condition is more worrisome, especially after her appearance with a walking stick during a ceremony at Westminster Abbey in early October, marking the first time she has publicly used one after her recovery from a knee surgery in 2004.
According to some people who have ties to the Palace, the Queen, at 95 years old, has been exhausted from a series of public events after the death of her husband in April 2021. She attended the opening of Parliament in May, hosted President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden of the United States after a G7 summit meeting in June, and greeted Bill Gates and a number of business people at the Global Investment Summit at Windsor Castle on October 19.
Former aides of the queen, including Dickie Arbiter, a press secretary to the queen from 1988 to 2000, said that she is also preoccupied by a daily flow of paperwork, Zoom calls, and various meetings in addition to public events.
“Her private secretaries are going to look to space out her engagements, so she’s working steadily rather than flat-out. She has been visible, she has been energetic and she is 95. She is entitled to feel tired,” said Arbiter.
On Friday, October 29, Buckingham Palace shared an update on the queen’s health condition, saying that she has picked up light duties but would not engage in any official visits, including the Festival of Remembrance on November 13 that honors British veterans.
“Following on from their recent advice that The Queen should rest for a few days, Her Majesty’s doctors have advised that she should continue to rest for at least the next two weeks. The doctors have advised that Her Majesty can continue to undertake light, desk-based duties during this time, including some virtual Audiences, but not to undertake any official visits,” read the statement.
On the same day, Buckingham Palace released another statement announcing that Queen Elizabeth II will not show up at the upcoming 2021 United Nations climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other royals, including Prince Charles, are expected to attend, and the queen will “deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message,” according to the statement.
By: Jenny Jin