HM in Hospital

03.04.13

How Sick Is The Queen?

Queen has suspected norovirus
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Ian Gavan/Getty

The Queen was spending a second day in hospital today, Monday, after walking unaided into the King Edward VII hospital yesterday afternoon with symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Despite relentless spinning from the palace on the precautionary nature of the 86-year old Monarch’s admission to the same hospital which suffered a prank call with tragic consequences when Kate Middleton was admitted there, there is speculation that the Queen may be sicker than the palace is letting on.

The palace has flatly refused to confirm the exact nature of her illness or treatment, but it is thought that the Queen’s gastroenteritis has been caused by the virulent norovirus, a winter vomiting bug. The bug usually last just 24 hours but it is clear that the Queen has received a particularly nasty dose.

Older victims of norovirus infection – the Queen is 86 - are most often hospitalised to combat dehydration.

Although there is no suggestion the Queen is at death’s door, the bug does kill some 800 people a year according to the CDC.

In contrast to yesterday, when the palace was busily briefing journalists that the Queen was being hospitalised purely as a precaution, this morning, no official update was available on her condition, and even off the record lips were being kept sealed.

There was no repeat of comments yesterday that the Queen would only be in hospital for two days.

The Queen is proud of her robust health, and despite suffering from debilitating sciatica for several years, she has only missed two public engagements in the last two years.

However, given that last year she undertook over 400 public enagements, questions are once again being asked about whether it is time to scale back her commitments.

Senior advisers have been urging her to do so for many years but she tends to dismiss them, replying, “I have to be seen to be believed.”

There is a concerted effort to minimise 'fuss' on the part of the queen surrounding her hospitalisation.

Although all official engagements for this week, including a trip to Italy, were cancelled, the Queen fulfilled a personal engagement with a staff member receiving a long-service award yesterday morning before she was admitted to hospital at about 3pm.

She travelled from Windsor by private car.

The Queen will not have any visitors and has ordered the the rest of the Royal family to continue their routines as normal.

The Duke of Edinburgh will attend a function at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London this evening.

William, Kate and Harry, who were in Switzerland at the weekend for a friend's wedding, are being kept updated on the Queen's progress.