Why We're Worried About Queen Elizabeth's Health

At 95 years old, Queen Elizabeth is experiencing a few ups and downs in terms of her health, which isn't unusual for someone her age. However, royal watchers were sent into a bit of a tailspin when it was revealed that Britain's longest reigning monarch had canceled a work trip and spent the night in the hospital instead. Apparently, it was for good reason: She's not really known for putting aside duty in favor of anything else, even her own well-being.

Things have gotten more tense after it was revealed that the palace initially tried to keep news of the queen's hospital stay out of the press. After The Sun published a report indicating the queen was at the very least under the weather, Buckingham Palace was forced to concede the truth. Since then, Queen Elizabeth's health has been a near constant discussion point in royal watcher circles.

Here is everything we know about how Queen Elizabeth is doing these days, including a look into events that might have influenced her health.

Queen Elizabeth is known for prioritizing work over nearly everything else

If you follow the royal family, you probably already know this truth: Queen Elizabeth isn't really known for taking days off. Ever. Town & Country has pointed out that the queen has done more work for longer than any other monarch who has come before her. She once told her cousin that she had no plans to give up the throne "unless I get Alzheimer's or have a stroke," and she later told the retired Archbishop George Carey that retirement isn't something that's in the cards for her.

When asked what kind of relationship Queen Elizabeth has with her beloved dogs, psychologist Dr. Roger Mugford couldn't help but indicate that it seems she approaches all of her relationships the way she approaches her work when he stated that she has "friendly, authoritative control over each and every one," which certainly says something about her. 

The queen actually refused to give up any of her patronages and responsibilities to other families until 2016; in short, the woman simply does not want to be slowed down.

The last year or two have been pretty stressful for Queen Elizabeth

Despite the queen's strong work ethic and well appearance, there were whispers that the royal family was worried about Queen Elizabeth as early as January 2020. As you might recall, that was the same month that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle opted to effectively resign as senior members of the royal family. Furthermore, it appeared that they did so without explicit authorization from, or even notice to, the queen.

At the time, a source told Us Weekly that Prince William was said to be quite mad at the couple, especially as the queen was already worried about the health of her husband, Prince Philip. The source explained, "He's worried about the queen's stress levels too. She's 93 years old, Prince Philip's incredibly sick, and Andrew only stepped down a month ago over the Epstein scandal ... and now this." (Prince Andrew is currently facing a lawsuit regarding alleged sexual abuse after he was linked to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as CNN reported.)

Per Us Weekly, the source went on to add that William felt his brother's seemingly selfish behavior could really do damage to their grandmother. The queen was also said to be angry with both William and Harry for their public fallout, but hoped both would put on a positive face for the rest of the family (and likely her own stress levels).

Some were worried the queen would lose momentum after the death of her husband

When Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021, many were unsure of how losing her husband of so many years would impact the Queen Elizabeth's health. In fact, some were so worried that whispers of abdication soon filled the air. However, Queen Elizabeth made no indication that she was even considering the idea at all.

A royal historian told Reuters that abdication in the wake of Philip's passing was never on the table. Hugo Vickers explained, "I can assure you the queen will not abdicate. There is every indication the queen is in extremely good health and with luck she will continue to be our queen for as long as possible." The publication also recalled the queen's own words on her birthday in 1947, words she'd later repeat: "It is a job for life."

Since taking the throne, the queen has only ever reaffirmed her intent to fulfill her role to the British people until the end of her life. While the loss of her husband was understandably a tough blow, it was not enough to shake the queen from her own sense of responsibility. 

Queen Elizabeth used a cane in public for the first time in October 2021

Rumors that all might not be well for the queen began on October 12, 2021, when she stepped out using a cane in public for the second time. While it's quite the feat that she made it all the way to 2021 before needing an assistive device, use of the cane worried many who are used to seeing the queen one way. As Us Weekly notes, Queen Elizabeth has only used a cane in public once before back in 2003, when she was recovering from knee surgery.

No one from Buckingham Palace offered an explanation for the queen's cane, so many royal followers and fans were left wondering what exactly could be going on. Queen Elizabeth certainly appeared to be in good spirits, and was photographed smiling broadly throughout the day's responsibilities and events. Us Weekly also pointed out that this day was part of a series of events she had already attended during the month, including a tree planting and the opening of the Scottish Parliament.

The queen was told she needs to stop drinking

While using a cane in public might not have been the most worrisome thing Queen Elizabeth could have done, eyebrows were further raised on October 14, 2021, when it was announced that she had been advised to stop drinking martinis at night. A source was quick to tell Vanity Fair that the queen was healthy, but that doctors were concerned that her daily habit might negatively impact her health and stamina as she heads into a particularly busy royal season that includes the Platinum Jubilee next summer.

The source told the publication, "The Queen has been told to give up her evening drink which is usually a martini." The family friend also explained that while Queen Elizabeth is "not a big drinker," the advice had ruffled a few feathers at home, particularly as it seemed "a trifle unfair." Vanity Fair added that her son Prince Charles is also fond of martinis and that the queen sometimes has red wine with dinner and a glass of champagne before she goes to sleep as well.

Queen Elizabeth canceled a trip to Ireland

In even more worrying news, on October 20, 2021, Queen Elizabeth was compelled to cancel a two-day trip to Northern Ireland. She was advised to rest for a few days instead, something that officials at Buckingham Palace said she wasn't exactly thrilled about. In a statement, the palace explained, "The Queen has reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days. Her Majesty is in good spirits and is disappointed that she will no longer be able to visit Northern Ireland, where she had been due to undertake a series of engagements today and tomorrow" (via The Guardian).

It's possible that the queen was still recovering from an event she had hosted only days before. Tech leaders from all over the world, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, were in attendance at an investment summit sponsored by the U.K. government and hosted at Windsor Castle. Additionally, The Guardian noted that the queen held three virtual meetings with leaders from New Zealand, Japan, and the EU, and attended horse races over the weekend.

Buckingham Palace later revealed Queen Elizabeth spent the night in the hospital

While Buckingham Palace issued a statement affirming that the queen's cancellation of her Ireland trip was no big deal, they were later forced to discuss Queen Elizabeth's health when The Sun revealed the monarch had actually spend the night in a London hospital. The palace eventually issued a statement supporting this news (via CBS News), stating, "Following medical advice to rest for a few days, The Queen attended [the] hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today." The palace also noted that the queen "remains in good spirits."

Sky News also explored what could be going on with Queen Elizabeth's health and stated that the queen's hospital stay was not related to COVID-19. Prior to this recent hospital visit, the queen had not stayed overnight at a hospital since 2013, when she was dealing with gastroenteritis. 

Queen Elizabeth returned to work on October 26, 2021

However, Queen Elizabeth clearly isn't one who is interested in being down for the count for too long. On October 26, 2021, she returned back to work, taking two virtual meetings with ambassadors from the Republic of Korea and the Swiss Confederation. Queen Elizabeth's official Instagram account shared a photo of the monarch enjoying her meetings, and explained that she has a meeting with each British Ambassador as they begin their tenure in their respective countries (via Us Weekly).

Buckingham Palace did not provide any additional information or photos from any other events or meetings the queen may have taken part in. The Instagram account for the royal family followed suit by providing photos of other family members as they carried out official royal tasks and engagements over the following days. These family members included Princess Anne, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and the Duke of Gloucester.

Queen Elizabeth was ordered to rest for two weeks

While plenty of people were thrilled to see Queen Elizabeth back to taking meetings, it seemed that this might have come at a cost. On October 30, 2021, numerous outlets revealed that she had been advised by doctors to take two weeks off to rest. The news didn't seem especially welcome, particularly as it means she's had to cancel showing up at the Festival of Remembrance on November 13, 2021. The queen's representatives did make it clear that she fully intends to be in person at the Remembrance Sunday events the following day (via Harper's Bazaar).

Though she is meant to rest for these two weeks, a statement from Buckingham Palace has noted that the queen "can continue to undertake light, desk-based duties during this time." Virtual meetings are also okay, but in-person meetings are supposed to be prohibited. 

Notably, the statement says nothing about what kind of leisure activities the queen can get up to. Notably, on November 1, 2021, Queen Elizabeth was spotted carrying out one of her regular pastimes: driving herself around the grounds at Windsor Castle (per the BBC).