Queen Elizabeth II for the first time is opening up about her recent battle with COVID-19. During a virtual visit to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel on Wednesday to mark the official opening of the Queen Elizabeth unit, the monarch, who turns 96 next month, revealed that COVID has left her "very tired and exhausted."
The Queen detailed the lingering effects of the virus she has been experiencing while speaking virtually to former COVID-19 patient Asef Hussain and his wife. Hussain, according to the New York Post, contracted the virus in December and was on a ventilator for seven weeks and is still recovering. He tragically lost both his brother and his father, who died while Hussain was on a ventilator. Recalling his experience, Hussain shared, "I remember waking my wife saying that I feel like there's no oxygen in the room. I remember sticking my head out the window, just trying to breathe, trying to get that extra oxygen."
"I'm glad that you're getting better, and 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 Queen responded, later acknowledging the difficult experiences patients have faced as they were unable to see family and friends while hospitalized. "Of course, not being able to see your relatives was very hard."
The Wednesday virtual appearance came nearly two months after Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 20 that Her Majesty tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesman said at the time, "Buckingham Palace confirms that The Queen has today tested positive for Covid. Her Majesty is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms but expects to continue light duties at Windsor over the coming week. She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines." The Queen's diagnosis followed that of her son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The Queen was reportedly fully vaccinated and had also received her booster.
Despite her battle with the disease, the Queen continued with light work duties, likely referring to her head of state responsibilities, including reading and answering documents and letters. Although the Queen canceled several virtual audiences amid her recovery, she still held her weekly audience with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. She appeared to have made a full recovery by Monday, Feb. 28, when she met with Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their three children, as well as other members of the royal family, at Frogmore House.