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LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II missed yesterday’s Commonwealth Day service in London as she is still recovering from the symptoms of gastroenteritis, Buckingham Palace said.
The 86-year-old was admitted to hospital for the first time in 10 years last week due to the illness. She was discharged last Monday after an overnight stay in a private London hospital.
The monarch, who is the head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations, was “regrettably” unable to attend the service at Westminster Abbey, “as she continues to recover following her recent illness,” the palace said in a statement. Her 91-year-old husband Prince Philip represented her at the service, which was attended by Commonwealth ambassadors, or high commissioners, from around the world and featured an address from Virgin tycoon Richard Branson.
“This time last week she was in hospital but she’s in great spirits and apart from this is in good health and will be going to the reception in the evening,” a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said. “It’s just the tail end of the symptoms, her condition has not worsened at all.”
At the evening reception at the organisation’s Marlborough House headquarters, the queen will sign the new Commonwealth charter, a document that includes commitments to rights of the “queer” among other issues.
She also hopes to undertake some other official engagements planned later this week, Buckingham Palace added.
The BBC, Britain’s publicly-funded national broadcaster, reported that doctors had recommended it would be best for the queen not to sit through an hour-long church service.
It is the first time the queen has missed a Commonwealth Day Observance service for 20 years, the last occasion being when she had flu in 1993.
Last week the queen had to cancel a visit to Rome and other engagements after she was hospitalised with the stomach bug.
The queen celebrated her diamond jubilee marking 60 years on the throne last year and has been known for enjoying robust health and rarely missing engagements.
The 16-point charter being signed by the Commonwealth later yesterday was adopted in December by all nations in the group. It aims to protect democracy, the rule of law, international security and free speech.
“We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds,” the document reads. AFP