Back to work for Queen as she carries out first engagements since rest orders

·4-min read
The Queen appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen is back at work after carrying out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle – her first official engagements in seven days since she was ordered to rest by doctors.

It is the first time the 95-year-old head of state has been seen since she hosted a busy evening reception for the global investment summit on October 19.

She cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland was under strict orders to rest and faced preliminary tests in hospital on October 20 during her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years.

The Queen was wearing a yellow dress with button detail and her three-strand pearl necklace and was seen smiling on screen during the audiences on Tuesday.

The royal family’s social media accounts also released an image of the head of state, who was photographed at Windsor as she performed her duties.

The Queen was pictured side-on, smiling as she sat in a chair with her hands in her lap, in front of her large computer screen.

On the table were the Queen’s folded glasses and several pages of typed briefing notes for the audiences.

In other pictures taken at Buckingham Palace she was seen on screen as she greeted the ambassador from the Republic of Korea, Gunn Kim, who was dressed in Korean clothing including a traditional hat known as a gat.

The Queen appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle, during a virtual audience to receive the Ambassador from the Republic of Korea (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle, during a virtual audience to receive the Ambassador from the Republic of Korea (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

The ambassador was accompanied by Mrs HeeJung Lee.

The Queen also held a virtual audience with the ambassador from the Swiss Confederation, Markus Leitner, who was accompanied by his wife Nicole Leitner.

Both ambassadors travelled to Buckingham Palace to join the video call, and presented their credentials – their predecessors’ Letters of Recall and their own Letters of Credence – on an antique wooden table in front of the screen.

The Swiss Confederation ambassador at Buckingham Palace speaking to the Queen by video call (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The Swiss Confederation ambassador at Buckingham Palace speaking to the Queen by video call (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Traditionally, the Queen holds an audience with the Chancellor the night before a budget.

Ahead of last March’s budget, Rishi Sunak, who is preparing for Wednesday’s fiscal statement, spoke to the monarch by telephone while Covid restrictions were still in place.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the ambassadorial audiences were an encouraging sign of a “more visible” Queen again.

“Clearly it’s business as usual as far as the Queen is concerned that the audiences continue in this way for the time being,” Mr Little said.

“It’s what she will expect to be doing and what people would expect her to be doing under the circumstances.

“But it is encouraging because she hasn’t been seen publicly for a week and now we’re seeing her back at work.

“Although she has been working on her boxes behind the scenes, this is the more visible monarch again.”

The monarch during the audiences (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The monarch during the audiences (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

The monarch is being looked after by the Medical Household, her expert team of royal physicians.

She is due to attend events in Scotland next week as part of a flurry of royal Cop26 engagements involving the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge between November 1-5.

On the royal family’s website, the Queen is still listed as attending a reception on November 1 as part of the climate change conference.

It has not yet been confirmed as to whether she will travel to Scotland.

She had a busy schedule of engagements in the first weeks of October following her return from Balmoral, and her hospital stay was kept a secret and only confirmed by the Palace when it was revealed by The Sun newspaper.

The Queen was seen using a walking stick for the first time at a major engagement during a Westminster Abbey service on October 12.

The Queen was last seen on October 19 at a Global Investment Summit reception at Windsor Castle on October 19 (Alastair Grant/PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen was last seen on October 19 at a Global Investment Summit reception at Windsor Castle on October 19 (Alastair Grant/PA) (PA Wire)

On Thursday October 21, she was said to be in “good spirits” after her hospital stay and back at her desk, undertaking light duties.

But she missed a church service at Windsor on Sunday.

Royal sources had briefed the Sunday Times that the Queen was “knackered” due to a busy social life and preference for late night television, as having a hectic run of engagements in October.

The Queen’s husband of 73 years the Duke of Edinburgh died six months ago at the age of 99.

Buckingham Palace would not comment on whether the monarch has received her booster Covid-19 jab, but given her age it is likely she has already had it.

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