Queen sends Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds message as PM battles COVID-19

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London on July 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. - Boris Johnson took over as Britain's prime minister Wednesday, promising to pull his country out of the European Union on October 31 by any means necessary. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read VICTORIA JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen with Boris Johnson after he became Conservative Party leader. (Getty Images)

The Queen has sent her prime minister, Boris Johnson, a message, as it is confirmed the weekly audience will not go ahead while he is in intensive care.

Johnson is in intensive care in St Thomas’s Hospital in London, after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

It was announced he had been taken to hospital shortly after the Queen’s televised message was shown across broadcasters on Sunday evening.

The Queen also sent a message to Carrie Symonds, Johnson’s fiancee, who has also had symptoms of coronavirus. She is pregnant with the couple’s first child.

The Royal Family tweeted: “Earlier today The Queen sent a message to Carrie Symonds and to the Johnson family. Her Majesty said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a full and speedy recovery.”

Her grandson, Prince William, 37, also sent a message to Johnson.

In a tweet on Kensington Palace’s account, the second in line to the throne said: “Our thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family, who like so many in the UK and around the world are affected by coronavirus. We wish him a speedy recovery at this difficult time. W.”

It’s understood Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have also sent a private message to the prime minister. The couple sent their wishes for his “speedy recovery”.

Johnson was transferred to ICU on Monday evening, but has been in a stable condition overnight. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, will deputise for him in certain roles while he is in hospital.

However the PM’s spokesman confirmed the weekly audience with the Queen would be cancelled.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 07: A cyclist with a sign reading '#PrayforBoris' rides through Westminster on April 7, 2020 in London, England. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened last night. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
A cyclist with a sign reading '#PrayforBoris' rides through Westminster. (Getty Images)

The regular meetings have been taking place by phone since the Queen went to Windsor a week early for Easter Court.

Although they will not happen while the PM is in intensive care, the Queen will be kept up to date with his condition.

The palace and Downing St will also stay in touch.

The private audiences happen every week and Johnson is the 14th prime minister who the Queen has dealt with during her reign.

He is not the first prime minister to fall seriously ill while in power. Winston Churchill, the Queen’s first prime minister, suffered a stroke in 1953 but the extent of his illness was kept from the press.

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Similarly, Anthony Eden was on a cocktail of drugs while he was in charge of the country during the Suez Crisis.

Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Harold Wilson all also suffered varying degrees of health problems during their time in office.

Supporters of Johnson have called for a national ‘Clap for Boris’ on Tuesday evening in the same style as the weekly Clap for Carers which has been taking place to thank NHS staff.

He’s also received well wishes from across the political spectrum, and from international leaders like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Carrie Symonds and Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2020 in London, England. The Commonwealth represents 2.4 billion people and 54 countries, working in collaboration towards shared economic, environmental, social and democratic goals. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Pregnant Carrie Symonds also suffered symptoms of coronavirus. (Getty Images)

Johnson received oxygen support in ICU, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” his spokesman said.

“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.

“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”

The decline in the prime minister’s condition has caused shock in Westminster, but his spokesman denied that they had sought to downplay the seriousness of his illness.