Queen Elizabeth Reveals Why COVID-19 Left Her Feeling Frightened

Queen Elizabeth II has dealt with many setbacks over the past year. In addition to the death of her husband Prince Philip, the monarch has had to grapple with her own health issues. According to the BBC, the queen spent the night at the hospital in October 2021 — and was consequently forced to cancel many engagements due to health concernsPeople reports that the queen had also given up one of her favorite pastimes of horseback riding, and had been advised to quit drinking alcohol. In February 2022, the queen tested positive for COVID-19 just days after her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall had also both contracted the virus. "Her Majesty is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms but expects to continue light duties at Windsor over the coming week," the palace said in a statement (via Marie Claire).

After the news of the queen's diagnosis broke, BBC reporter Daniella Ralph revealed that the palace was taking great caution with the British ruler's health, per the Daily Mail. "When you see the queen now she is considerably thinner and frailer than she was a year ago and of course she will now have to be carefully monitored," Ralph said. Now, the queen is speaking out about her experience with COVID-19 for the first time.

Queen Elizabeth II remembers her experience with COVID-19

To commemorate the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Unit at the Royal London Hospital, Queen Elizabeth II spoke with National Health Service workers about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Reuters. During her virtual visit, the queen spoke to one patient in particular who had dealt with severe and life-threatening symptoms after contracting the virus. This patient — Asef Hussain — told the monarch that he felt that he couldn't breathe and was eventually put on a ventilator for seven weeks, per the New York Post. Hussain was then confined to a wheelchair after finally returning home. 

Upon hearing his story, the queen revealed that she could sympathize with Hussain, since she had also recently recovered from the COVID-19 virus. "I'm glad that you're getting better," she said (via the New York Post). "It does leave one very tired and exhausted, doesn't it? This horrible pandemic. It's not a nice result. It obviously was a very frightening experience to have COVID very badly, wasn't it?" The pair also bonded over the fact they'd been kept away from family members during their respective illnesses.

The queen, who turns 96 in April, has noticeably scaled back her public engagements since the pandemic hit. However, it appears that she's still hard at work despite her health issues.