Monday, October 3, 2022

Royal family gathers as Queen Elizabeth is under ‘medical supervision

Queen Elizabeth II’s closest family rushed to Scotland on Thursday, after doctors placed the 96-year-old monarch under medical supervision, prompting concern from British political and religious leaders.

Britain’s longest-serving monarch has been dogged by health problems since last October that have left her struggling to walk and stand.

Her children – heir to the throne Prince Charles, 73, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, were either already at or quickly headed to Balmoral after the announcement.

They were joined by Charles’s elder son Prince William plus his younger son Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, who have been on a rare visit to Britain after abandoning royal life to move to the United States.

The queen — an instantly recognisable figure to billions of people across the world — is in her Platinum Jubilee year, marking 70 years since she succeeded her father king George VI in 1952.

Moments before Thursday’s announcement, notes were passed in the House of Commons to Prime Minister Liz Truss, her ministers and opposition leaders, prompting them to leave the chamber.

“The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime,” the new premier tweeted, just two days after the queen appointed her at Balmoral to succeed Boris Johnson.

“My thoughts — and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom — are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time,” Truss added, echoed by leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

One photograph of the queen greeting Truss at Balmoral on Tuesday had already sparked alarm, showing a deep purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England headed by the queen, said she 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 in comments echoed by other faith leaders.

On Wednesday, a day after Truss’s appointment as the 15th prime minister of her reign, the queen pulled out of a planned meeting with her council of political advisers, after being told to rest.

“Following further evaluation this morning, the queen’s doctors are concerned for her majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

“The queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral,” the palace added.

The palace statement about the queen’s health is highly unusual.

“The palace does not issue bulletins on the queen’s health unless it’s significant,” royal commentator and author Robert Hardman told the BBC.

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