Queen expected to hold telephone meeting with PM and virtual audiences this week

The 95-year-old monarch is self-isolating at Windsor Castle after testing positive for Covid.

21 February 2022

The Queen is expected to hold a telephone audience with the Prime Minister and conduct virtual audiences this week as she carries on with light duties despite catching Covid.

The 95-year-old monarch, who is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms, is self-isolating at Windsor Castle, where a number of her team have also been hit by the virus.

Concerns for the nation’s longest reigning sovereign have been heightened given her age and recent health scare.

Platinum Jubilee
The Queen viewing memorabilia ahead of her Platinum Jubilee milestone (Steve Parsons/PA)

But Buckingham Palace has said the monarch expects to be at her desk continuing light duties over the coming days.

The Queen holds an audience with Boris Johnson most Wednesdays, either in person or by telephone, and has recently been holding one or two diplomatic audiences a week with ambassadors by video-link, and is likely to do so this week if well enough.

She is following all Covid self-isolating guidelines after testing positive on Sunday, but her diagnosis comes as Mr Johnson prepares on Monday to bring an end to the legal duty to self-isolate from next week.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister intends to repeal all pandemic regulations that restrict public freedoms in England when he lays out his “living with Covid” plan.

The Queen speaks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Windsor Castle in 2020 (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The Queen will also be working from her red boxes, sent to her every day and containing policy papers, Foreign Office telegrams, letters and other state papers from Government ministers and Commonwealth representatives that have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.

For company, she has her dogs – her elderly dorgi Candy, corgi puppy Muick and another young corgi.

The monarch, if she feels well enough, is also likely to study the Racing Post.

She had a win on Sunday when her horse Kincardine won the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.

Platinum Jubilee
The Queen with dorgi Candy at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

She will also be given a digest of the day’s news from the early-morning radio and television bulletins, and a selection of papers, with her photo gracing most of the front pages after the announcement that she has Covid.

Her diagnosis follows a string of cases among the royal family, with the Prince of Wales meeting his mother in the week he tested positive, and the Duchess of Cornwall also isolating after contracting the virus.

The Queen has only just reached her historic Platinum Jubilee of 70 years on the throne, on February 6.

The Royal Household has its own physicians and the Queen’s doctors will be on hand to take care of and monitor the head of state, with Professor Sir Huw Thomas, head of the Medical Household and Physician to the Queen, expected to be in charge.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Charles hosted an investiture ceremony on the day he met the Queen (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Queen has a number of major engagements coming up next month.

She is set to host the Diplomatic Reception on March 2, where she will meet hundreds of members of the Diplomatic Corps at Windsor.

She is also due to attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 14 and then the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, also at the Abbey, on March 29.

The Queen is believed to be triple vaccinated but until recently had been on doctors’ orders to rest since mid-October, after cancelling a run of engagements and spending a night in hospital undergoing preliminary tests.

Just a few weeks ago, she had begun to resume her normal duties, hosting at Sandringham her largest reception in months, on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee anniversary, and a few days later she held her first in-person audience with the Prime Minister in many weeks.

She now regularly uses a stick and recently commented about her mobility issues, telling two senior military officers during a Windsor Castle reception “Well, as you can see, I can’t move,” when asked how she was.

The Queen is expected to work from her red boxes as she recovers from Covid (Chris Jackson/Buckingham Palace/Getty Images/PA)

On Sunday, the Queen sent a message of congratulations to Team GB women’s curling team who became Winter Olympic champions after the men’s team won silver, but it is not known if she had tested positive at the time the words were signed off.

The Queen, whose husband, Philip, died 10 months ago, spent much of the pandemic in the safety of Windsor Castle, protected in “HMS Bubble”, the nickname given to her reduced household of dedicated staff.

The monarch, who for almost two years avoided contracting Covid, has served as a symbol of national stability during the pandemic, delivering two rare televised addresses to the nation weeks apart.

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