Queen 'is ready to get back to work this week'


The Queen would like to resume more official duties within days after spending a night in hospital for tests last week, a royal source has said.

The 95-year-old monarch could carry out some of her engagements this week, though there are no public duties in her diary after she dramatically cancelled a two-day trip to Northern Ireland to mark the 100th anniversary of the partition on doctor’s orders.

Her priority remains to be able to lead the Royal Family at the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow from next week, where more than 120 world leaders will gather at the Scottish Event Campus from October 31 to November 12. 

Insiders insisted that the tests were purely precautionary and the head of state has been resting at Windsor Castle. Buckingham Palace has said she ‘remains in good spirits’, although a royal source told The Sunday Times: ‘She is knackered.’ 

A royal source told the Mail: ‘Her private office will constantly look at her diary and tweak it as and when is necessary.’ 

The Queen, who will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee next year, has had a busy schedule since returning from Balmoral. Including her return from the royal estate in Aberdeenshire, where she spent the summer, the Queen has travelled nearly 1,000 miles this month.

Two weeks ago she was forced to start using a walking stick in public for the first time – a stark reminder of her advancing years. And last Tuesday she was on her feet for almost an hour when she held a lavish reception for guests including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and US climate envoy John Kerry, where she looked bright and cheerful.  

Queen Elizabeth II (pictured) during a reception for delegates of the Global Investment Conference at Windsor Castle on Tuesday October 19, 2021

Queen Elizabeth II (pictured) during a reception for delegates of the Global Investment Conference at Windsor Castle on Tuesday October 19, 2021

Walkers on the Long Walk in front of Windsor Castle, Berkshire, after Queen Elizabeth II returned there on Thursday October 21, after spending a night in hospital

Walkers on the Long Walk in front of Windsor Castle, Berkshire, after Queen Elizabeth II returned there on Thursday October 21, after spending a night in hospital

She had reportedly agreed a secret sign with aides so they could whisk her away if she felt fatigued, but the coded signal was not needed and she was said to be on ‘sparkling form’.

But the following morning, when she was due to travel to Northern Ireland, she was told to rest by doctors and ‘reluctantly’ accepted their advice.

It is highly unusual that any major engagement would be cancelled at the last minute, suggesting that staff are taking no chances with the elderly head of state’s health.   

She has faced a tumultuous 18 months, including the death of the Duke of Edinburgh as well as the acrimonious departure of Prince Harry and wife Meghan. 

The Queen still keeps a busy diary of events and audiences and deals with her daily red boxes of official papers. 

Since she returned to Windsor from her summer break at Balmoral, the Queen has carried out 15 engagements, listed in the Court Circular, including her audiences, plus an additional trip to Ascot.

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.

‘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,’ Mr Little said.

The Queen held two audiences this week via video link from Windsor Castle, greeting the Japanese ambassador Hajime Hayashi and the EU ambassador Joao de Almeida, followed by the investment summit in the evening.

Among those at the Windsor reception for billionaire business leaders, presidential envoys and tech entrepreneurs were Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, US climate envoy John Kerry, Poppy Gustafsson, chief executive of cyber security firm Darktrace, and Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. 

Royal sources had insisted there was no cause for concern, and stressed that the decision was made purely as a ‘precautionary’ measure. 

Queen Elizabeth II addresses the Senedd inside the Siambr (Chamber) during the ceremonial opening of the Sixth Senedd in Cardiff on Thursday, October 14

Queen Elizabeth II addresses the Senedd inside the Siambr (Chamber) during the ceremonial opening of the Sixth Senedd in Cardiff on Thursday, October 14

There was no suggestion that the Queen had fallen ill and it was understood that her decision was not linked to Covid. It is understood she has received her booster jab.

But the monarch, who will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee next year, continues to stoically meet hundreds of work commitments each year – 30 years after most people have retired – and does suffer from recurrent back pain.

On Tuesday she hosted a summit for global investors and politicians at Windsor Castle, standing and shaking hands for around 40 minutes, the Mail was told.

A source said she was on ‘sparkling form’, welcoming guests including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and US presidential envoy John Kerry, telling Mr Kerry: ‘I saw you on telly the other night doing [Prince] William’s Earthshot Prize thing.’

As part of her planned trip to Northern Ireland, she had been expected to stay at Hillsborough Castle and undertake a series of public engagements there, staying overnight to attend a service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland.

It is highly unusual that such a major engagement would be cancelled at the last minute, suggesting staff are taking no chances with the head of state’s health, even if it is just precautionary.

Royal commentator Joe Little said the Queen’s age meant last-minute cancellations might become more frequent. The managing editor of Majesty magazine said: ‘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.’

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