LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II’s health appeared to deteriorate sharply on Thursday, as Buckingham Palace announced she had been placed under medical supervision and her doctors were “concerned” about her health.
The Queen, who is 96 and has reigned for 70 years, remains at Balmoral Castle, her estate in the Scottish Highlands where she spends much of her summer, the palace said in a statement. But on Wednesday evening, she abruptly canceled a virtual meeting with members of her Privy Council after her doctors advised her to rest.
“Following a further assessment this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended that she remains under medical supervision,” the palace said in a statement.
Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and his wife, Camilla, visited the Queen at Balmoral Castle, his office said. Her eldest son Prince William, second in line to the throne, was also on his way to Scotland, as were the Queen’s other sons, Andrew and Edward. His daughter, Princess Anne, was already there.
Details of the Queen’s condition are not known, although the palace has said in the past that she has mobility issues. She recovered from a bout with Covid-19 in February but later said it left her exhausted.
In a photo released by the Palace on Tuesday of her and Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss, the Queen held a cane in her left hand.
The Queen’s declining health has been a recurring source of concern for the past few years, forcing her to cancel many public appearances, even solemn events like her annual commemoration of Britain’s wartime dead.
She has largely retired to Windsor Castle, her country residence outside London, although this year she has maintained her summer habit of decamping to Balmoral, a castle set amongst steep hills and sylvan valleys of Scotland.
During the Platinum Jubilee in June, marking her 70 years on the throne, a smiling monarch appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a Royal Air Force parade and flyby in her honour. But she skipped most of the rest of the celebrations, including a gala concert held in Queen Victoria Square outside the palace.
As the Queen faded from public view, Charles, her heir, took on many of her public duties, including the official opening of Parliament and the bestowal of knighthoods. She stopped traveling outside Britain several years ago.
In April 2021, the Queen lost her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who died weeks before his 100th birthday. During Philip’s memorial service, she sat, masked and alone, in a choir stall in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a poignant symbol of the pandemic’s social distancing restrictions.
Even in her state of decline, the Queen has been a constant and revered figure in the country’s public life. In the depths of the pandemic, she spoke to a socially isolated nation, assuring Britons, in the words of Vera Lynn’s beloved song from the Second World War era, that ‘we will meet again’ .