After seven decades of relentless service, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has reached a “turning point” after a night in hospital forced her to take advice to slow down and cut back on engagements.
The 95-year-old canceled her appearance at the UN climate conference, which starts on Sunday in Scotland, a rare move for the workaholic monarch and all the more telling given her personal commitment to environmental issues.
Buckingham Palace said she was “disappointed” to pull out, but that the decision was taken following medical advice “to rest.”
It also came as a blow to organizers of the UN summit, with the queen’s star power sure to attract attention to any event.
“But I think it is a very sensible decision,” Penny Junor, a royal family expert, told AFP.
“It would have involved a long journey from Windsor to Glasgow, it was an evening reception and therefore especially tiring, but there is the additional risk of exposing her to COVID-19.”
The queen took a step back from a busy month on October 20, the day after a reception at Windsor Castle where she chatted with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US businessman Bill Gates.
She spent the following night in hospital, the first since 2013, where Buckingham Palace said she underwent “preliminary examinations.”
The queen has since officially resumed “light duties,” receiving two ambassadors by video conference.
Royal watcher Richard Fitzwilliams said the monarch would only have given up a COP appearance “reluctantly,” but added “clearly at 95, there are limits.”
The queen is due to celebrate her platinum jubilee next year, marking 70 years on the throne, and was still in fine form in public recently, despite the loss of her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip in April.
She has been attending official engagements almost daily, similar to her pre-pandemic workload, since returning from her traditional summer holiday in Balmoral, Scotland.
This doesn’t take into account her less visible work of reviewing government documents and conducting almost weekly meetings with her prime minister.
She made the headlines recently after being seen walking with a cane, and The Sun tabloid reported that she had also stopped walking her corgis in recent days.
The Queen is reported to have stopped riding her horses, a keen passion, although plans to take it back up again after resting. She is also believed to have given up drinking alcohol.
“It is a bit of a turning point,” said Junor.
“She has been working at the rate of someone twenty years younger, and I think the public needs to adjust its expectations and recognize that she is 95.” AFP
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