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Queen Elizabeth II announces she will no longer attend COP26 summit in person

Queen Elizabeth II appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle, where she is in residence, during a virtual audience at Buckingham Palace in London on Oct. 26. (Victoria Jones)

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth will not physically attend an upcoming United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, after spending the night in a hospital last week and being ordered to rest by doctors.

The British monarch, 95, had been expected to travel to the Scottish city to attend an evening reception at COP26 on Monday. In a statement, Buckingham Palace said that she now hoped to send a message virtually to the high-profile summit.

“Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the Reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message,” the statement said.

The announcement came just days after Buckingham Palace announced that the queen was hospitalized for “preliminary investigations” before returning to Windsor Castle.

The tests marked her first overnight stay in a hospital in eight years, generating widespread concern. On Google, “How is the queen?” was a trending search term in Britain.

The queen has returned to “light duties at Windsor Castle,” Buckingham Palace said. On Tuesday, the monarch held two virtual audiences from Windsor Castle, one with the incoming South Korean ambassador, Kim Gunn, and one with the Swiss ambassador, Markus Leitner.

Buckingham Palace said that during the meeting, both ambassadors presented the queen with their “credentials” — letters from their respective heads of state that serves as proof that the queen “can trust them to speak on behalf of their country.”

“The Queen is back in action,” wrote ITV royal editor Chris Ship.

Photos taken of the virtual meeting showed the monarch smiling as she sat facing the screen in a lemon-colored ensemble and three-layered pearl necklace.

Doctors directed the queen to rest as she canceled her trip to Northern Ireland last week.

“Good to see the Queen is all smiles back at work,” tweeted Roya Nikkhah, royal editor at the Sunday Times, who shared several of the photos.

Though the queen is not expected to attend in person, COP26 is a high-stakes event for the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Other royals, including her son Prince Charles, are expected to attend and feature prominently.

Earlier this month, the queen had expressed irritation about the number of elected world leaders who had not committed to coming. Some big names, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, have said they will not attend, while others like China’s Xi Jinping have not confirmed.

“We only know about people who are not coming,” the queen said while attending the opening of the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff, in comments that were picked up by the microphone of a nearby a live stream. “It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

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