Queen Elizabeth Says COVID Leaves 'One Feeling Very Tired and Exhausted' Following Her Recovery

The Queen chatted with COVID patient Asef Hussain, who described the monarch as a "very warm lady who was interested in my story"

Royal London Hospital
Queen Elizabeth during a virtual engagement last week. Photo: Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth is sharing a small glimpse into her battle with COVID-19 earlier this year.

The monarch, who will celebrate her 96th birthday this month, virtually attended the official opening of the Royal London Hospital's Queen Elizabeth Unit earlier this week. During the video call from Windsor Castle, she spoke with Asef Hussain, who became severely ill after contracting the COVID-19 virus and was a patient in the unit.

"Are you better now?" the Queen asked.

"I'm getting there," he replied. "I'm recovering. I'm much better. I recently left the wheelchair, so I'm walking about now."

The monarch said, "I'm glad that you're getting better. It does leave one feeling very tired and exhausted, doesn't it? This horrible pandemic."

Hussain's wife also told the Queen of how they stayed in touch during his time in the hospital via video chats, including one event where 500 people from around the world signed on together to pray for his recovery.

Hussain said of the meeting, "It was an honor and a privilege. She was a very warm lady who was interested in my story — it was lovely."

Queen Elizabeth was diagnosed with coronavirus on February 20. A spokesman said at the time, "Buckingham Palace confirm 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 statement concluded.

The Queen was widely reported to be fully vaccinated and her COVID-19 diagnosis came after her son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall also tested positive for coronavirus. The Queen last met with Charles, 73, on Feb. 8, two days before he received his diagnosis. Both Charles and Camilla, 74, are triple vaccinated.

During her recovery, the Queen was able to hold a weekly audience by telephone with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but she canceled scheduled virtual meetings last week due to her ongoing symptoms.

By the end of February, the Queen was feeling well enough for an outdoor family visit from some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. On Feb. 27, she met up with Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — in the winter sunshine at Frogmore House, which is on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Daily Mail reported. Princess Beatrice and her 5-month-old daughter Sienna were also there for the visit.

Despite her recovery, the Queen has canceled a number of engagements in recent months, most recently announcing last week that she would miss a pre-Easter tradition of handing out Maundy money, in part due to mobility issues. She was able to appear in-person at a Service of Thanksgiving honoring her husband Prince Philip nearly, one year after his death at age 99.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth. Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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The Queen Elizabeth Unit was built on the 14th and 15th floors of the hospital in just five weeks. It consists of 155 beds, making it one of the biggest critical care spaces in the United Kingdom. The unit played a crucial role in supporting the surging numbers of patients due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis.

"It's amazing, isn't it, what can be done, when needs be," the Queen told healthcare workers during the video call. "It's been very nice to join you, and also to hear about what happened, and how well it has been achieved. Thank you very much indeed, all of you."

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