The Queen has revealed that having COVID has left her “tired and exhausted”.
The 95-year-old monarch, who contracted the virus in February, made her admission in a video call with NHS staff and patients last week.
She told them: “It does leave one very tired and exhausted, doesn’t it? This terrible pandemic. It’s not a nice result”.
When Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had tested positive at Windsor, it was said that she had “mild cold-like symptoms”.
While she had her weekly audience with the Prime Minister, she did not appear on scheduled video calls.
Sources told the Daily Mail the cancellations were made because she sounded “croaky” and “full of cold” and not because her condition had worsened.
She also pulled out of the annual Commonwealth Day service, albeit more due to mobility problems.
However it seems that like many who have contracted COVID, the Queen – who is triple-jabbed and likely to have had her second booster injection by now –is suffering from after-effects including extreme exhaustion.
This will no doubt add to the mounting health problems of the last six months, which saw her needing hospital care last autumn and unable to conduct an engagement outside palace walls for six months.
She was finally seen in public at the Duke of Edinburgh’s service of thanksgiving at the end of last month.
While she has also pulled out of this week’s Maundy Service in Windsor for the first time ever due to her mobility and handed responsibility to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, she has stoically continued video calls and hearings.
This week the Queen – who will celebrate her 96th birthday at the end of next week – marked the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Unit at The Royal London Hospital, of which she is patron, talking to staff and one former patient.
Wearing a floral dress with a pearl necklace, she said the staff ‘s work was “splendid”.
Nurse Charlie Mort said: “The amount of bravery that both the patients and my colleagues showed throughout the entire pandemic was amazing and the amount of kindness we were shown was inspiring. I think we will all be bonded together because of it, forever”.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it, what can be done when needs be,” the Queen said
Imam Faruq Siddiqi, hospital chaplain, said families “felt a sense of hope’ when they knew he was visiting their loved ones.
“Although I didn’t hold any miracles, I hope I was able to bring some sort of comfort to them through my presence and prayers,” he said.
The Queen replied: “It obviously was a very frightening experience to have COVID very badly, wasn’t it?”
Mr Siddiqi said: “I think what made it worse was being by themselves”.
“Exactly. So they were alone, too,” the Queen remarked.
Mireia Lopez Rey Ferrer, senior sister, said that the intensive care unit had been “unrecognizable” with so many patients.
“As nurses we made sure they were not alone,” she said.
“We held their hands, we wiped their tears, and we provided comfort. It felt at times that we were running a marathon with no finish line.”
“It must have been a terrible time for all of you,” the Queen said.
‘Not seeing your own families and also working so very hard… That [was] the unusual part of it wasn’t it, not being able to meet your relatives and being isolated.’ Asef
Hussain, a former patient, explained how he and his family had contracted COVID in December 2020.
His father and brother were also treated at the unit for COVID before they passed away.
Mr Hussain, joined by his wife, Shamina, said his brother was admitted first and died that day.
He was taken to hospital himself after struggling to breathe and was put to sleep for seven weeks.
“Once I woke up I saw the brilliant work the nurses, the doctors – the whole team here were doing. They supported me and my family in a fantastic way.
“Unfortunately while I was asleep my father passed away from COVID as well,” he said.
“Are you better now?” the Queen asked.
“I’m getting there, I’m recovering, I’m much better,” Mr Hussain said.
Mr Hussain’s wife explained how she prayed for his recovery on Zoom calls with family around the world.
“Praying for him, oh wonderful,” the Queen said.
She added: “I’m glad that you’re getting better. It does leave one very tired and exhausted doesn’t it, this horrible pandemic? It is not a nice result.”
The monarch also spoke to the team behind the building of the new unit and burst out laughing when Jeff Barley, project director, told her he plundered his “black book” to find people to help him.
The Queen replied: “That is marvelous isn’t it. It is very interesting isn’t it, when there’s some very vital thing, how everybody works together and pulls together. Marvelous, isn’t it.”
Mr Barley hailed the “little bit of Dunkirk spirit” involved, prompting the Queen, smiling, to say: “Thank goodness it still exists”, amid laughter.
The plaque was then unveiled and held up to show the monarch.
The Royal London Hospital has served the residents of East London for the past 280 years. It was granted its royal title by the Queen during a visit in 1990 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of its opening on the Whitechapel site.