British Queen Elizabeth II spent Wednesday night in hospital for “preliminary investigations”, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
The 95-year-old, who was ordered by doctors to rest for a few days and advised to miss a trip to Northern Ireland, returned to Windsor Castle at lunchtime on Thursday and remains in “good spirits”, a palace spokesman said.
It is understood the trip to hospital on Wednesday afternoon was expected to be for a short stay for preliminary investigations, so it was not announced by the palace at the time.
The lack of announcement was also to protect the queen’s privacy.
The overnight stay was said to be for practical reasons. The queen’s medical team are understood to have been taking a cautious approach.
The queen was said to be back at her desk by Thursday afternoon, undertaking light duties.
She was reported to be disappointed that she could not travel to Northern Ireland on Wednesday, but reluctantly heeded the advice of her royal physicians.
She has had a busy schedule since returning from Balmoral at the start of October, and hosted a major global investment summit at Windsor Castle on Tuesday evening, where she looked bright and cheerful as she carried out her royal duties.
It was the monarch’s first overnight hospital stay in eight years.
She spent a night at the private clinic in 2013 when she was treated for a nasty bout of gastroenteritis.
She travelled to the hospital on Wednesday by car rather than by helicopter.
King Edward VII’s Hospital is 23 miles from Windsor – around a 55-minute drive in good traffic conditions.
The Queen’s team of royal physicians are understood to have been taking a “cautious approach”.
Last week, the sovereign used a walking stick at a Westminster Abbey service – the first time she has done so at a major event.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Queen retreated to Windsor Castle for her safety, where she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh in lockdown.
The couple were vulnerable to Covid-19 because of their advanced age, but were protected by the so-called HMS Bubble – their reduced household of about 20 staff.
King Edward VII’s is the royal hospital of choice
Many a royal has been cared for at the private King Edward VII’s Hospital, where the Queen spent the night on Wednesday.
It was the place where the Duke of Edinburgh spent almost a month before his death in April this year.
The exclusive clinic in central London has been used for years as a first port of call for ailing members of The Firm, as the royal family is known, including the late Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.
The Queen was seen by specialists at King Edward VII’s and her admission is understood not to have been related to coronavirus.
The first time the Queen was admitted to hospital was at the King Edward VII’s in July 1982 when she had a wisdom tooth extracted.
In 2003, the clinic’s surgeons also removed minor non-cancerous growths from her face and operated on her knee.
Philip had been admitted a number of times in recent years.
The duke was treated at the hospital for a short period in 2018 following a planned admission for a pre-existing but undisclosed condition.
The previous year he spent nine days receiving treatment and physio following a hip replacement at the institution.
The Duchess of Cornwall had a hysterectomy at the medical institution in 2012.
But tragedy also struck in 2012 when nurse Jacintha Saldanha apparently killed herself after she was duped by two hoax callers who phoned the hospital.
The Duchess of Cambridge was being treated at the hospital for severe morning sickness when pregnant with Prince George, and Ms Saldanha – believing the Australian pair were senior royals – put them through to a colleague who described in detail Kate’s condition.
King Edward VII’s Hospital was established in 1899 by two sisters, Agnes and Fanny Keyser, who turned their home at 17 Grosvenor Crescent into a hospital for sick and wounded officers returning from the Boer War.
King Edward VII became the hospital’s first patron – a role now held by the Queen.
Edward VII, Charles’s great-great grandfather, had an affair with Camilla’s great-grandmother Alice Keppel.
The hospital moved to its present site in Beaumont Street in 1948, and in 2000 it changed its title to King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes.