More than a week after the Queen was admitted to hospital suffering from the symptoms of gastroenteritis, she’s still not well enough to undertake an hour-long engagement in front of 2,000 people. With just four hours notice, Buckingham Palace issued the following statement:
“The Queen will regrettably no longer attend the Commonwealth Observance at Westminster Abbey today as she continues to recover following her recent illness. The Duke of Edinburgh will attend the Observance as planned. However, Her Majesty will still attend the Commonwealth Reception at Marlborough House this evening to sign a new Commonwealth Charter. The Queen hopes to undertake some of her official engagements planned for the rest of this week.”
While the suddenness with which the royal household pulled down her engagement might give pause to those wondering about how she’s doing—this is a bureaucracy that makes the Catholic curia in Rome look positively talkative—the fact that she’s going to attend this evening’s reception for Commonwealth Day is clearly a sign that she’s on the mend, but that it’s taking longer than perhaps people thought it would. Unlike the service at Westminster Abbey, where she’s the centre of attention, this reception offers her the chance to slip away if she’s feeling unwell. As a bonus, it’s being held at Malborough House just down the road from Buckingham Palace.
According to a source in the Telegraph, “She is at the tail end of the gastroenteritis. When you’re 86 it takes longer to get over gastroenteritis than when you’re younger. Otherwise the Queen is in good health and hopes to carry out some of her planned engagements this week. It’s a matter of pacing herself, her condition hasn’t worsened at all but she is still recovering.”