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Queen Elizabeth II ‘reluctantly’ accepts medical advice to rest, cancels Northern Ireland visit

Queen Elizabeth II has canceled a planned trip to Northern Ireland on medical grounds, Buckingham Palace said on Oct. 20. (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II has “reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days” and has canceled this week’s two-day trip to Northern Ireland, Buckingham Palace said in a statement shared Wednesday.

The monarch, who is 95, is reported to be in “good spirits” but “disappointed” that she will no longer be able to make the trip and undertake her engagements there.

The palace said that the trip, which was slated to take place Wednesday and Thursday, would hopefully be rescheduled for the future.

During the two-day trip to Northern Ireland, the queen was scheduled to attend a church service to mark its centenary — an event that had already become controversial. Irish President Michael Higgins previously declined an invitation to the service, saying that it had become politicized. He denied accusations that he was snubbing the queen, insisting that his problem was with the title of the event, which was organized to “mark the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland.”

The queen’s decision is not believed to be related to the coronavirus — which continues to ravage the country, royal sources said.

An official at Buckingham Palace, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that the queen was still expected to attend the upcoming climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26, at the end of the month.

Last week, the queen was overheard — on a microphone — expressing irritation at world leaders who haven’t committed to attending the summit.

On Tuesday night, the queen hosted a reception at Windsor Castle where she welcomed business leaders, presidential envoys and entrepreneurs for a British government investment summit. U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were among the guests.

Pictures from the event show her talking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and her grandson Prince William, seemingly in good spirits.

Britain’s nonagenarian monarch keeps a busy schedule, often with several “engagements” every week, including in recent days. Earlier this week, she met, via video, with the governor general of New Zealand, the ambassador to Japan and the ambassador to the European Union.

Last week, she traveled to Cardiff to open the Welsh parliament and was in London to present accolades at Buckingham Palace. She also attended a service at Westminster Abbey, where she used a walking stick for the first time at a public event. She was then seen with one in Cardiff.

Next year will see the monarch celebrate 70 years on the British throne during a string of Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The news comes just one day after it was revealed that the monarch, who has four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren “politely” declined Britain’s “Oldie of the Year” award, saying she “didn’t believe she met the relevant criteria.”

The award, which has been presented by the “Oldie” magazine for almost three decades, exists to “celebrate the achievements of those who have made a special contribution to public life — while maintaining undoubted snap in their celery,” according to its website.

Organizers of the prize said the idea of inviting the queen to receive the award came over lunch one day when judges discussed the queen’s leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic and ahead of her Platinum Jubilee next year.

But while judges deemed Elizabeth a good fit, their invitation was met by a polite rejection letter, penned in August by the queen’s assistant private secretary, Tom Laing-Baker, and sent to chairman of the awards, Gyles Brandreth.

“Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, as such The Queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient,” the document read.

The magazine prides itself on being a “timeless” and entertaining read, calling its pages a “lighthearted alternative to a press obsessed with youth and celebrity.”

Past winners of the accolade include the queen mother, British artist David Hockney, former prime minister John Major and the queen’s late husband, Prince Philip — who said he appreciated the award.

“There is nothing like it for morale to be reminded that the years are passing — ever more quickly — and that bits are beginning to drop off the ancient frame,” he said at the time.

The magazine did not appear offended by the monarch’s decision, writing on its website: “Long live The Queen!” and later tweeting “#youareasoldasyoufeel.”

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