LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and is experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, Buckingham Palace said, adding that the famously stoic 95-year-old monarch still plans to carry on working. The diagnosis prompted concern and get-well wishes from across Britain’s political spectrum.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a fixture in the life of the nation, the queen reached the milestone of 70 years on the throne on Feb. 6, the anniversary of the 1952 death of her father, King George VI. Her birthday is April 21.
The palace said the queen, who has been fully vaccinated and had a booster shot, would continue with “light” duties at Windsor Castle over the coming week.
“She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines,” the palace said in a statement.
People who have been tested positive for COVID-19 in the United Kingdom are required to isolate themselves for at most five days. However, the British government has announced that it will lift this requirement for England later this week.
Both the queen’s eldest son Prince Charles, 73, and her 74-year-old daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. Charles is now back at work. Staff at Windsor Castle are believed to have been infected with a virus recently. The queen will be staying there.
Numerous senior British politicians have sent messages of support. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I’m sure I speak for everyone in wishing Her Majesty The Queen a swift recovery from COVID and a rapid return to vibrant good health.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote that he was “Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a quick recovery,” while opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer wished the queen “good health and a speedy recovery. Get well soon, Ma’am.”
Elizabeth is in good health and was photographed on a horse back as recent as 2020. Elizabeth has seen her using a walking stick over the past year, while in October she was hospitalized in London for unknown 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.
In return for public duties, she has had audiences with senior politicians, diplomats, and military officers both online and in-person. During one exchange caught on camera last week, she walked slowly with a stick and said “as you can see I can’t move” in apparent reference to her leg.
Majesty magazine managing editor Joe Little stated that the COVID-19 diagnosis would cause concern for members of the royal families.
“I would guess that she will be matter-of-fact about the diagnosis in a way perhaps that the people around her are less matter-of-fact,” he said.
Over the course of the Platinum Jubilee, the queen will have a full schedule. She is expected to be at several public engagements over the coming weeks. These include a diplomat reception at Windsor on February 2nd and the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey March 14.
She will hold a remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey on March 29 for Prince Philip who passed away in April 2021, at the age of 99.
A long weekend is planned for public celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee. These festivities include a military parade and horse racing.
COVID-19 has been confirmed in the queen, the most recent monarch to be diagnosed from anywhere around the globe. Queen Margrethe of Denmark, 82, and Spain’s King Felipe VI, 54, both tested positive for the illness earlier in February and had mild symptoms.
Her diagnosis comes after a difficult week for Britain’s royal family.
On Tuesday the queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, settled a U.S. lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed he had sexually abused with her when she was 17 and traveling with the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Virginia Giuffre made the accusation against Andrew. Andrew vigorously denied it. He agreed in a settlement to make a substantial donation to his accuser’s charity.
On Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into allegations that people associated with one of Prince Charles’ charities offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure honors and citizenship in return for donations.
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