Queen surprises shrugging off health fears

The Queen received a huge reaction from the crowd at an event she attended over concerns about her health.

Queen Elizabeth II was applauded and cheered by the crowd as she made a rare public appearance on Friday, just days after ill health and old age forced her to pull out of the opening of Britain’s parliament for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The 96-year-old monarch, dressed in a white blouse, blue cardigan and tinted glasses, was seen smiling as guests cheered on her arrival at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in her Range Rover.

She spoke to a festival-goer through the open car window, then donned a headscarf and used a cane to make her way to the royal box where onlookers seemed equally delighted to see her.

According to British media, the lifelong horse lover spent almost an hour in the parade ring, which is near her home in Windsor Castle, west London.

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday evening that the Queen will not officially open parliament on Tuesday – the first time she has missed the event since 1963.

Officials blamed her absence on “episodic mobility problems” – understood as difficulty walking and standing – which have plagued her since last year.

An unscheduled overnight hospitalization last October and her frailty saw her withdraw from a series of public engagements.

She was last seen in public in late March, at Westminster Abbey’s memorial service for her late husband, Prince Philip.

During this event, she used a cane and needed help getting to her seat.

His waning appearances, along with a bout of Covid earlier this year, have fueled concerns for his health in his record 70th year on the throne.

Four days of public celebrations for its platinum jubilee are planned for early June, including military parades and a public spectacle, as well as picnics and a pop concert.

Her eldest son Prince Charles, 73, attended the official opening of parliament in the clearest sign yet that his reign is coming to an end.

A YouGov survey for Times Radio conducted this week indicated a shift in public opinion towards the Queen, who has repeatedly insisted her job is for life.

A poll of 1,990 people on Tuesday and Wednesday suggested that one in three people (34%) thought they should now retire – up from 25% last month.

Just under half (49%) said she should remain queen, down 10 points from last month.

At the same time, Charles’ stock has risen, with 36% now believing he will make a good king, four points more than in April.

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