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British Royal Family

"A very frightening experience": The Queen opens up about her COVID-19 battle after cancelling another key appearance

Her Majesty beat the virus earlier this year.

By Maddison Leach
The Queen has appeared for a virtual engagement days after announcing she will not attend the annual Easter Maundy Day service, the latest in a string of cancelled appearances.
Her Majesty joined hospital staff and former COVID-19 patients via video link to mark the official dedication of a critical care facility at a local London hospital named in her honour.
The ward was dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients during the worst of the pandemic in the UK, something the 95-year-old monarch understands after contracting the virus in February.
The Queen appeared in good spirits on the video call. (Image: YouTube)
Though Her Majesty only suffered from mild cold-like symptoms, according to palace reports, she shared new details about her experience with the virus on the call.
"It does leave one very tired and exhausted, doesn't it, this horrible pandemic?'' she said, opening up to a recovering COVID-19 patient who was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Unit.
Asef Hussain and his wife, Shamina, explained to the monarch how their family dealt with Asef's long isolation on the COVID-19 ward while being treated for the illness.
Tragically, his father and brother had also contracted the virus in 2020 and died, while Asef was on a ventilator for seven weeks and is still recovering.
He wasn't allowed to see his wife or family during this time, but they would regularly connect over video calls, at one point gathering 500 people from around the world to pray for Asef on a call.
"And of course, not being able to see your relatives was very hard … it obviously was a very frightening experience to have COVID-19 very badly, wasn't it?"
While her comments were directed at Asef, it's clear she was also drawing on her own experience with the virus, which forced her to step back from royal duties while she recovered.
WATCH: The Queen looks frail after months of health scares. Story continues after video.
Her diagnosis came shortly after Prince Charles' second bout with the virus, and off the back of months of other health concerns for the Queen.
After being hospitalised overnight in October 2021 for an undisclosed reason, Her Majesty has cancelled many major royal engagements and been absent from key events like the Commonwealth Day service.
Though Buckingham Palace continues to reassure the public that the 95-year-old is in good health and that the cancellations are for her "comfort", there has been a spike in public concern.
During the video call, the Queen was seen to be sitting in a plush chair with a pillow propped behind her back for added comfort.

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