Doctors ‘concerned’ for health of UK’s Queen Elizabeth II

A statement by Buckingham Palace says doctors have recommended the 96-year-old monarch remain under medical supervision.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, photographed at Windsor Castle
The United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II [File: Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Household via AP]

Doctors are concerned about the health of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and recommended the monarch remain under medical supervision, Buckingham Palace said.

The announcement on Thursday came a day after the 96-year-old monarch cancelled a meeting of her Privy Council and was told to rest.

The palace said the queen was “comfortable” and remained at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Immediate family travelled to be by her side, including Prince Charles, heir to the British throne.

The queen, Britain’s longest-reigning sovereign and the world’s oldest monarch, has suffered from what Buckingham Palace has called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year.

“Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” the palace said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the queen presided over the ceremonial handover of power to new United Kingdom Prime Minister Liz Truss at her summer residence at Balmoral Castle.

Truss said “the whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime”.

“My thoughts – and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time,” she said on Twitter.

‘Clung to the crown’

Queen Elizabeth II marked seven decades on the throne this year. She has increasingly handed over duties to Prince Charles, 73, and other members of the royal family in recent months as she struggled to get around.

“I’ve been speaking to people in Scotland and we can take it that the queen’s life is coming to an end,” Christopher Wilson, a royal biographer, told Al Jazeera.

“What is remarkable about this sovereign is that she has clung to the crown and to her job to the very last moment. I think we can see that her powers have been declining for the last year. She’s 96 years old and she has done all that she possibly can to retain the strings of power.”

The palace statement about the queen’s health is highly unusual and comes after she has looked visibly frailer in recent months, and a succession of withdrawals from public engagements.

She has taken to walking with the help of a cane and was seen earlier this year at the Chelsea Flower Show touring the site in a motorised buggy.

In February she suffered a bout with COVID-19, which she admitted afterwards had left her “exhausted”. She spent an unscheduled night in a hospital in central London in October 2021 and was advised to slow down.

All of Queen Elizabeth’s four children, including daughter Princess Anne, middle son Prince Andrew, and youngest son Prince Edward, were at Balmoral.

They were joined by Charles’s son Prince William, and Prince Harry was following suit.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England that the queen heads, said the queen was in his prayers.

“May God’s presence strengthen and comfort Her Majesty, her family, and those who are caring for her at Balmoral,” he tweeted.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies