LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II has been infected with the coronavirus, Buckingham Palace said on Sunday, becoming one of the world’s most high-profile figures to fight the virus and deeply shaking the country she has ruled for seven decades. .
The palace gave few details on the condition of the Queen, who turns 96 in April.
“Buckingham Palace confirms that the Queen tested positive today for Covid,” the palace said in a statement. “Her Majesty is experiencing mild cold symptoms but expects to continue light duties at Windsor over the coming week. She will continue to receive medical care and follow all appropriate guidelines. »
She met her eldest son and heir apparent Prince Charles this month, who has been re-infected with the coronavirus and is self-isolating. He last contracted a mild case of the virus in March 2020, when the pandemic first engulfed Britain.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a severe Covid crisis around the same time and ended up in an intensive care unit. But even that alarming episode paled next to the news that the Queen, who reigned longer than most Britons are alive, has contracted a life-threatening illness.
Buckingham Palace worked to protect the Queen from exposure to the virus. She retired to Windsor Castle in early 2020 with husband Prince Philip and lived in virtual quarantine for over a year.
Elizabeth received a dose of a coronavirus vaccine in January 2021 at Windsor Castle, along with Philip. The palace has not confirmed any subsequent vaccine doses. Charles said he is fully vaccinated and boosted.
Philip died in April 2021 aged 99 and the Queen was forced to self-isolate at his funeral. A photographer has captured a poignant image of her, alone in mourning and wearing a mask, in a choir stall at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.
In recent weeks, the Queen has started to appear in public again after a difficult time last fall, when she canceled several public engagements due to what Buckingham Palace officials said was exhaustion. Its frailty added to the anxiety that the Second Elizabethan Age was coming to an end.
The circumstances of the queen’s infection remained clouded by questions. Charles was at Windsor Castle, where she is in residence, on February 8 for an investiture ceremony. Charles, who is 73, learned he had tested positive on February 10 and postponed a trip to Winchester, England, at the last minute. His wife, Camilla, also tested positive.
Speaking to Sky News in June 2020, Charles said he “got off pretty lightly” the first time he contracted the virus. “I was lucky in my case,” he said, “but I got it, and I can relate so much to what other people have been through.”
The Queen celebrated the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne on February 5 at her country estate, Sandringham. In a statement released that day, she said she hoped that when Charles succeeded her, Camilla would be known as Queen – a major endorsement the couple had long sought from the monarch.
“We are deeply aware of the honor represented by my mother’s wish,” Charles said in a statement. “As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my beloved wife has been my own unwavering support throughout.”