Queen Elizabeth II makes first public appearance since contracting Covid-19

The monarch is self-isolating at Windsor Castle

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II appears via video link from Windsor Castle a week after testing positive for Covid-19. Photo: Reuters
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Queen Elizabeth II has returned to public duties a week after testing positive for Covid-19.

She appeared via video link from Windsor Castle to speak to dignitaries at Buckingham Palace after postponing multiple similar engagements last week.

The UK head of state’s recovery from the virus seemed to be progressing and she appeared to be in good spirits. She tested positive for Covid on February 20 and at the time was experiencing “mild cold like symptoms”, the palace said.

She is believed to be triple vaccinated, although the palace has declined to confirm this.

On Tuesday she received His Excellency Mr Carles Jordana Madero, who presented the Letters of Recall of his predecessor and his own Letters of Credence as ambassador from the Principality of Andorra to the Court of St James’s.

He was joined by his wife Soraia Maria Valls Pinilla.

She also received His Excellency Mr Kedella Younous Hamidi, who presented his Letters of Credence as ambassador from the Republic of Chad to the Court of St James’s.

During the two audiences the queen wore a green dress with a large brooch and her trademark pearls.

The queen, who is due to celebrate her 96th birthday in April, was forced to push back a diplomatic reception at Windsor Castle scheduled for Wednesday. However, her illness is not believed to have played a part in the decision.

She had been due to host hundreds of members of the Diplomatic Corps but the palace said on Saturday she had accepted Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s advice to delay the event. It is understood the decision was made because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The queen has a string of high-profile events coming up that she is due to attend, including 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.

She recently spent more than three months resting, on doctors’ orders.

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Last autumn she pulled out of attending the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow, the Festival of Remembrance and then the Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service due to a sprained back. She also missed the Church of England’s General Synod.

In recent months she has appeared in public carrying a walking stick and looking frailer than she had previously appeared.

During a recent Windsor Castle event, she touched on her changing condition, saying: “Well, as you can see, I can’t move.”

Her light duties as head of state include working from her red boxes, sent to her every day and containing policy papers, Foreign Office telegrams, letters and other State papers which have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, undertook an engagement of his own on Tuesday, to formally present Southend with the Letters Patent which grant it city status following the death of MP Sir David Amess.

Sir David, who had served as Conservative MP for Southend West since 1997, was stabbed during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15. He had campaigned for the Essex town to be given city status.

The 69-year-old was posthumously made the first freeman of the new city in a ceremony on Tuesday.

Acting on behalf of the queen, Charles, 73, formally presented the legal document which entitles the change of status, to Southend’s mayor Margaret Borton at a council meeting.

He was joined by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who is set to become queen consort when her husband ascends the throne.

The Prince of Wales recalled meeting Sir David on a visit to the Palace Theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea in 2014, describing him as “a renowned and respected parliamentarian and an effective campaigner on many national and local issues”.

“Among them was his passionate determination to secure city status for Southend-on-Sea,” he said.

“Today, we mark the culmination of that dedicated campaign — and yet, how we all wish we could celebrate the occasion without the shadow of the dreadful event which took the life of such a devoted public servant.

“I am only too aware that today’s ceremony cannot possibly replace the agonising loss felt by Sir David’s widow, Lady (Julia) Amess, and their five children, but I do hope it will offer at least some small comfort in such unbearable sorrow.”

Updated: March 02, 2022, 6:07 AM