The Prince of Wales has said the Queen is “alright” but “once you get to 95 it’s not quite as easy as it used to be” as the monarch carried out her first official engagements since missing the Remembrance Sunday service.
The Queen, who has been under doctors’ orders to rest for nearly a month, met the outgoing armed forces chief General Sir Nick Carter at Windsor Castle in a face-to-face audience on Wednesday.
She was without her walking stick as she was pictured standing as she greeted Gen Sir Nick in the castle’s Oak Room, having pulled out of attending the Cenotaph ceremony three days ago due to a sprained back.
Heir to the throne Charles spoke publicly about the head of state’s health during his tour to Jordan.
Asked by a broadcast journalist to send on their best wishes to the Queen after her recent ill health, the prince replied: “She’s alright, thank you very much.
“Once you get to 95, it’s not quite as easy as it used to be. It’s bad enough at 73.”
The Queen told Gen Sir Nick, Chief of the Defence Staff, who was relinquishing his role, it was “easier to continue” once you get into the top military job.
The nation’s longest-reigning sovereign has been in the principal role of monarch for nearly 70 years, pledging her whole life to royal service.
“I suppose if you get into that job, you know, it is easier to continue, isn’t it really?” the Queen remarked, after hearing he had been in the post for the second longest in history.
Dressed in a green, orange and white floral dress and wearing her three-string pearl necklace, the Queen, who is head of the Armed Forces, smiled and shook hands with Gen Sir Nick as they began chatting.
He told the Queen he had been in the post for eight years, with the Queen remarking it was “rather sad” he was leaving, adding: “It’s a long time.”
Gen Sir Nick discussed the Duke of Edinburgh’s late uncle, saying: “It is a long time. In fact, the only person who has done longer I’m told is Lord Mountbatten… so I am quite surprised by all that.”
The Queen chuckled and replied: “Oh really? Oh?”
She added: “I suppose if you get into that job, you know, it is easier to continue, isn’t it really?”
Gen Sir Nick said: “I think that’s right. Although I have to say I think the time comes when it’s ready to move on.”
Elizabeth II has remained on the throne for more than 69 years.
She is set to reach her Platinum Jubilee next year, having become Queen on February 6 1952 when she was just 25 years old.
After chatting together standing up, the Queen and Gen Sir Nick sat in nearby chairs to continue their conversation.
It is the first time in nearly a month that the Queen has been pictured carrying out an in-person engagement since she hosted a reception for the global investment summit at Windsor on October 19.
She held a face-to-face audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week on November 12 but was not pictured doing so.
It was the second of two audiences the Queen held on Wednesday.
Buckingham Palace said the head of state earlier met virtually with Commanding Officers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards via video link.
The Oak Room is the Queen’s sitting room where she spends much of her time.
It doubles as her office but is also filled with family photographs.
Images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, among others, could be seen in the background .
In footage released from the audience, Gen Sir Nick is seen entering the room to be greeted first by the Queen’s inquisitive elderly dorgi Candy.
He peers down to look at Candy, saying: “Hello you”. But Candy jumps back nervously when Gen Sir Nick starts to walk forward to meet the monarch.
The Queen, who has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, currently has three dogs – Candy the dorgi, which is a cross between a corgi and a dachshund, a young corgi called Muick, and another corgi puppy, which replaced Fergus the dorgi puppy who died unexpectedly in May.
The head of state has been resting for four weeks and is only carrying out light duties after being admitted to hospital for preliminary investigations on October 20 for what was her first overnight stay in a medical facility in eight years.
Concern for the Queen’s health has been increasing as she continued to cancel engagements.
She missed a two-day trip to Northern Ireland, and was not able to attend the Cop26 climate change summit, the Festival of Remembrance, Remembrance Sunday and the Church of England’s General Synod.