Queen Elizabeth II tests positive for COVID and has mild symptoms
LONDON >> Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19 today and has mild cold-like symptoms, Buckingham Palace said, adding that she still plans to continue working. The diagnosis has sparked concerns and well-wishes from across the British political spectrum for the famously stoic 95-year-old.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and key figure in the nation’s life, the Queen marked 70 years on the throne on February 6, the anniversary of the death in 1952 of her father, King George. VI. She will turn 96 on April 21.
The palace said the Queen, who has been fully vaccinated and given a booster shot, will continue her “light” duties at Windsor Castle over the coming week.
“She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all appropriate guidelines,” the palace said in a statement.
People in the UK who test positive for COVID-19 must now self-isolate for at least five days, although the UK government says it plans to lift this requirement for England this week .
The Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, 73, and his 74-year-old daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. Charles has since returned to work. There are also believed to have been several recent cases of the virus among staff at Windsor Castle, where the Queen is staying.
Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said the Queen would likely receive one of several antiviral drugs that have been approved in the UK to treat COVID-19.
“If you get them early enough, it reduces the risk of developing serious disease, so I would imagine any doctor for a 90-year-old patient would consider giving these antivirals,” he said.
A host of senior UK politicians sent messages of recovery today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I’m sure I speak for everyone in wishing Her Majesty The Queen a speedy recovery from COVID and a speedy return to vibrant good health.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote that he “wished Her Majesty the Queen a speedy recovery”, while opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer wished the Queen “good health and a speedy recovery”. Get well soon, lady.
Elizabeth has been in good health for most of her reign and has been pictured riding a horse as recently as 2020. In the past year she has been seen using a cane and in October she has spent a night in a London hospital for unspecified tests. .
The Queen’s doctors ordered her to rest after that and she was forced to cancel appearances at several key events, including Remembrance Sunday services and the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November .
This month, she returned to public duties and held virtual and in-person hearings with diplomats, politicians and senior military officers. During an exchange filmed last week, she walked slowly with a stick and said “as you can see I can’t move” in apparent reference to her leg.
The Queen delivered two televised messages to the nation at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and sought to lead by example. She made it known she had been vaccinated and last year sat alone at the funeral of her 72-year-old husband Prince Philip due to coronavirus restrictions.
Joe Little, editor of Majesty magazine, said members of the Royal Family were probably more concerned about her situation than the Queen.
“I guess she will be pragmatic about the diagnosis in a way maybe the people around her are less pragmatic,” he said.
The Queen has a busy schedule over the coming months of her Platinum Jubilee year and is expected to attend public engagements in person in the coming weeks, including a diplomatic reception in Windsor on March 2 and Commonwealth service in Westminster Abbey in March. 14.
On March 29, she has a memorial service at Westminster Abbey for Philip, who died in April 2021 aged 99.
Public Platinum Jubilee celebrations are planned for a long weekend from June 2-5, with festivities including a military parade, horse racing day and block parties.
The Queen is the last monarch worldwide to have caught COVID-19. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, 82, and Spain’s King Felipe VI, 54, both tested positive for the disease earlier in February and had mild symptoms.
His diagnosis comes after a difficult week for the British royal family.
On Tuesday, the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, settled a US lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed he sexually abused her when she was 17 and traveling with late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew strenuously denied Virginia Giuffre’s claim. He agreed in a settlement to make a substantial donation to his accuser’s charity.
On Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan Police opened an investigation into allegations that people associated with one of Prince Charles’ charities offered to help a Saudi billionaire gain honors and citizenship in return for donations.