LONDON, UK — Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and is suffering from mild, cold-like symptoms, according to Buckingham Palace, adding that the 95-year-old monarch intends to continue working. The news elicited outpourings of sorrow and well-wishes from politicians across the political spectrum in the United Kingdom.
The queen, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a fixture in the country’s life, celebrated her 70th year on the throne on Feb. 6, the anniversary of her father, King George VI’s, death in 1952. On April 21, she will turn 96 years old.
The queen, who has been properly vaccinated and given a booster injection, will continue with “light” activities at Windsor Castle during the next week, according to the palace.
In a statement, the palace added, “She will continue to receive medical treatment and will follow all proper guidelines.”
In the United Kingdom, anyone who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for at least five days, however the British government says it will relax the condition this week.
Prince Charles, the queen’s eldest son, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the queen’s 74-year-old daughter-in-law, both contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. Since then, Charles has returned to work. Several recent viral cases have also been reported among personnel at Windsor Castle, where the queen is staying.
Several major British lawmakers expressed well-wishes. “I’m sure I speak for everyone in wishing Her Majesty The Queen a fast recovery from COVID and a rapid return to bright good health,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted.
Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health, posted on Twitter that he was “”Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a rapid recovery,” he tweeted, while opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer wished her “good health and a swift recovery.” Ma’am, be well soon.”
Elizabeth has been in good health for the most of her reign, and she was recently pictured riding a horse. She has been seen using a walking stick in recent months, and in October she spent the night in a London hospital for unclear testing.
Following that, the queen’s physicians advised her to rest, and she had to forego appearances at a number of important events, including Remembrance Sunday services and the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in November.
She resumed public responsibilities last month, holding virtual and in-person sessions with diplomats, legislators, and top military personnel. She walked slowly with a stick and remarked “as you can see I can’t move” in apparent reference to her leg during one encounter recorded on tape last week.
The COVID-19 diagnosis would worry members of the royal family, according to Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine.
“I would assume she’ll be matter-of-fact about the diagnosis in a manner that the others around her aren’t,” he added.
The queen has a packed agenda for the remainder of her Platinum Jubilee year, including a diplomatic reception at Windsor on March 2 and the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 14.
She has a commemoration ceremony for her husband Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at the age of 99, on March 29 at Westminster Abbey.
The Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated in public during a long weekend from June 2 to 5, with events including a military parade, a day of horse racing, and neighbourhood gatherings.
The queen is the world’s most recent royal to contract COVID-19. Both Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, 82, and Spain’s King Felipe VI, 54, exhibited moderate symptoms when they tested positive for the sickness in February.
Her diagnosis comes after a trying week for the royal family of the United Kingdom.
Prince Andrew, the queen’s second son, settled a case filed in the United States by a woman who alleged he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 and travelling with the late billionaire and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Virginia Giuffre’s assertion was vehemently refuted by Andrew. He agreed to make a significant payment to his accuser’s charity as part of a settlement.
The Metropolitan Police Service in London opened an inquiry on Wednesday into accusations that persons connected to one of Prince Charles’ charities tried to assist a Saudi businessman gain honours and citizenship in exchange for money.