Queen Elizabeth II’s close family traveled today to join the 96-year-old monarch after doctors placed her under medical supervision, sparking concern among British political and religious leaders.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch has been plagued with health problems since October, making it difficult for her to walk and stand.
All her children – heir to the throne Prince Charles, 73, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58 – were either on or on their way to join her at the Balmoral royal estate in Scotland, aides said.
Also on their way to Balmoral was Charles’s eldest son, Prince William, along with his youngest son Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, who made a rare visit to Britain after leaving royal life to go to the United States. to move.
The Queen – an instantly recognizable figure to billions of people around the world – is in her platinum jubilee year, marking 70 years since she succeeded her father King George VI in 1952.
Just before Thursday’s announcement, notes were passed in the House of Commons to Prime Minister Liz Truss, her ministers and opposition leaders, forcing them to leave the room.
“The whole country will be very concerned this luncheon over the news of Buckingham Palace,” the new prime minister tweeted, just two days after the Queen appointed her to Balmoral as Boris Johnson’s successor.
“My thoughts – and the thoughts of people in our UK – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time,” Truss added, following leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A photo of the Queen greeting Truss in Balmoral on Tuesday had already raised the alarm, showing a deep purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand.
– Rare bulletin –
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior cleric in the Church of England led by the Queen, said she was in his prayers.
“May God’s presence strengthen and comfort Her Majesty, her family and those who care for her in Balmoral,” he tweeted in comments echoed by other faith leaders.
On Wednesday, a day after Truss’ appointment as her government’s 15th Prime Minister, the Queen withdrew from a scheduled meeting with her council of political advisers after being ordered to rest.
“Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned about Her Majesty’s health and have recommended that they remain under medical supervision,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“The Queen remains comfortable and in Balmoral,” the palace added.
The palace’s statement about the queen’s health is highly unusual.
“The palace does not issue bulletins about the Queen’s health unless it is significant,” royal commentator and author Robert Hardman told the BBC.
– ‘Exhausted’ –
It comes after she’s looked visibly more fragile in recent months, and a succession of pullbacks from public engagements.
She has been able to walk with the aid of a cane and was also seen earlier this year at the Chelsea Flower Show touring the site in a motorized buggy.
In February, she was knocked down by a Covid attack, which she later admitted left her “exhausted”.
Officially, the palace has only said that the queen has suffered from “episodic mobility issues”, but has not provided further details.
She spent an unplanned night in a hospital in central London in October 2021 and was advised to slow down.
She has withdrawn from ceremonial duties and has delegated more to Charles, including the State Opening of Parliament and the Trooping the Color military parade to mark her official birthday.
– Global figure –
Four days of public events were held in June to mark the Queen’s record-breaking Platinum Jubilee, but she only showed up twice to acknowledge the huge crowds in central London.
In addition to the United Kingdom, the Queen is also the head of state in 14 Commonwealth countries around the world, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
She also heads the Commonwealth grouping, which includes 56 countries and includes more than a quarter of humanity.
For most of her subjects, she is the only monarch they have ever known, on stamps, notes and coins, and immortalized in popular culture.
But Britons were forced to face the reality that her reign was in its twilight years, when her husband of 73, Prince Philip, died in April 2021, just weeks before his 100th birthday.
“She’s just part of our lives… She’s actually been the Queen all our lives. She’s so calm and deliberate,” said Maureen Barnett, 66, outside Buckingham Palace as the news trickled in.
“I’ve been concerned since yesterday when I learned she couldn’t hold the Privy Council meeting,” added Elizabeth Jackson, also 66.
“I was hoping the Scottish air would do her some good. The problems have accelerated this year. It’s quite worrying.”
In recent years, the Queen has been forced to face a succession of scandals involving senior royals, including her second son Prince Andrew over ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Harry and Meghan have also turned the palace upside down by leaving royal life and criticizing the institution, even accusing it of racism.
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