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Entries in Queen Elizabeth II (15)

Monday
Mar112013

Queen Elizabeth Takes Historic Stand Against Discrimination

Warrick Page/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth II is set to make history later on Monday when she signs a new charter taking a stand against discrimination, which some have interpreted as tacit support of gay rights.

The 86-year-old matriarch will sign the agreement in public to show her support.  With the stroke of the pen, the queen will be making a symbolic pledge for equal rights for billions of people in 54 countries in the British Commonwealth around the world.

The Commonwealth Charter states opposition to "all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political belief or other grounds."

"This is believed to be the first time she's shown her support of gay rights.  That's a big step," ABC News royal contributor Victoria Arbiter said.

The charter is still only a symbolic step for many of the 54 countries because homosexuality is still illegal in 41 of the nations in the British Commonwealth.

Embodying centuries of royal tradition, Britain's head of state has recently learned to relax a little, showing she's moving with the times.  But never in her 61 years as monarch has she done anything like this before.

"The queen has to remain politically neutral," Arbiter said.  "While we won't hear her personal views on this, the fact that she is endorsing it publically in front of television cameras, it really does speak volumes."

Reading between the lines, the British papers are also hailing this as a watershed moment for the new rules of succession.

The timing couldn't be any better with the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, giving birth this summer.  By signing this pledge, the queen is giving a silent nod to the changes.

If Middleton has a baby girl, her daughter will one day be the queen.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar042013

Queen Elizabeth Leaves Hospital in 'Good Spirits'

Warrick Page/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth left a London hospital on Monday after a stomach infection forced her to check in Sunday and cancel or postpone a week's worth of engagements.

The queen, 86, experienced symptoms of gastroenteritis and received treatment at London's Kind Edward VII Hospital, according to Buckingham Palace.  The palace says she was in "good spirits" before her exit and all signs suggested that her illness was not serious.

The queen first fell ill on Friday but kept up her scheduled events through Sunday morning, after which she was driven to the hospital in a car, rather than an ambulance.

"This is a precautionary measure," a statement from the palace read this weekend.  "She was not taken into hospital immediately after feeling the symptoms.  This is simply to enable doctors to better assess her."

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestine and causes diarrhea and vomiting, according to doctors.  It is usually treated with fluids, and symptoms often pass after two to three days, although the queen's age forced doctors to proceed cautiously.

"Age is a factor which makes us worry a bit more about when people have gastroenteritis, because it's more difficult for the body to maintain fluid balance.  Once you get a bit older, your kidneys tend not to work as sufficiently," Dr. Anton Emmanuel, a gastroenterologist who works at Edward VII Hospital but is not treating the queen, told ABC News.

The queen held nearly a dozen engagements last week, and she takes pains not to have her schedule interrupted.  She has cancelled only a handful of engagements over the years and has only visited the hospital about half a dozen times, according to local media.

She has cancelled or postponed a trip to Rome this week to meet the outgoing president of Italy, as well as a visit to a Royal Navy ship in London known as "The Queen's Frigate" on Tuesday, and a military celebration in Wales Saturday.  It is unclear whether these engagements will be back on.

The last time the queen visited the hospital was December 2003, when doctors operated on her knee to remove torn cartilage.

The queen's husband, Prince Phillip, maintained his schedule, attending an event by himself on Monday.  Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were travelling back from Switzerland after attending a friend's wedding.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar042013

Queen Elizabeth in 'Good Spirits' at Hospital After Bout of Gastroenteritis

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth is waking up in a hospital bed for the first time in nearly a decade, suffering from a stomach infection that forced her to check in Sunday and cancel or postpone a week's worth of engagements.

The queen, 86, is experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis and is expected to receive treatment at London's Kind Edward VII Hospital for two days, according to Buckingham Palace.  The palace says she is in "good spirits" and all signs suggest that her illness is not serious.

She first fell ill on Friday but kept up her scheduled events through Sunday morning, after which she was driven to the hospital in a car, rather than an ambulance.

"This is a precautionary measure," read a statement from the palace.  "She was not taken into hospital immediately after feeling the symptoms.  This is simply to enable doctors to better assess her."

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestine and causes diarrhea and vomiting, according to doctors.  It is usually treated with fluids, and symptoms often pass after two to three days, but the queen's age will have doctors proceeding cautiously.

"Age is a factor which makes us worry a bit more about when people have gastroenteritis, because it's more difficult for the body to maintain fluid balance.  Once you get a bit older, your kidneys tend not to work as sufficiently," Dr. Anton Emmanuel, a gastroenterologist who works at Edward VII Hospital but is not treating the queen, told ABC News.

Emmanuel said that doctors would intensely watch the queen's hydration levels and would let the infection pass through her system, but would aggressively treat any side effects she suffered, including fevers and cramps.

"There will be intravenous drip saline to replace the fluids the body is losing, very careful monitoring of the hydration status which we can do by clinical testing on the blood tests, and then treating symptoms and then waiting for the infection to break, which it usually does in two, three days," he said.

Last week, the queen held nearly a dozen engagements, and she takes pains not to have her schedule interrupted.  She has cancelled only a handful of engagements over the years and has only visited the hospital about half a dozen times, according to local media.

This week, she has cancelled or postponed a trip to Rome to meet the outgoing president of Italy, as well as a visit to a Royal Navy ship in London known as "The Queen's Frigate" on Tuesday, and a military celebration in Wales on Saturday.

The last time the queen visited the hospital was December 2003, when doctors operated on her knee to remove torn cartilage.

The queen's husband, Prince Phillip, will maintain his schedule, attending an event by himself on Monday, another sign that the queen's illness is not serious.  Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were travelling back from Switzerland after attending a friend's wedding.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec182012

Queen Elizabeth II Attends Cabinet Meeting

Lewis Whyld - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- For the first time in at least 100 years, a sitting monarch Tuesday attended a cabinet meeting in the U.K.

Greeted by Prime Minister David Cameron, Queen Elizabeth II attended the 90-minute session, where cabinet members presented her with a gift to celebrate her diamond jubilee, CNN reports.

The queen's political involvement is normally limited to formal or ceremonial events.  According to the British Monarchy's website, the queen "has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters, unable to vote or stand for election."

The queen spoke only twice at the meeting -- she wished everyone a merry Christmas and asked that her speech to parliament, which is written by cabinet members, be shorter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Dec072012

Nurse Hoaxed by 'Queen's' Call to Kate Middleton Is Found Dead

Danny Martindale/WireImage(LONDON) -- The hospital receptionist who was hoaxed by a prank call from a DJ claiming to be the queen asking about Kate Middleton has been found dead.

"It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement released Friday.

The nurse was identified as Jacintha Saldanha. The hospital said that Saldanha worked at the hospital for more than four years. They called her a "first-class nurse" and "a well-respected and popular member of the staff."

"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital," the statement said. "The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."

The hospital extended their "deepest sympathies" to family and friends, saying that "everyone is shocked" at this "tragic event."

"She will be greatly missed," the hospital said.

Earlier this week, the hospital fell for a prank call from an Australian radio show where the hosts pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles looking to speak to Kate Middleton, who had been admitted to the hospital for her pregnancy. The call was put through to a second nurse who told the royal impersonators that Kate was "quite stable" and hadn't "had any retching."

Saldanha was the nurse who transferred the impersonators to the second nurse who gave information about Kate's condition.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," a spokesman from St. James Palace said in a statement.

"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," the statement said.

Police were called to an address near the hospital at about 9:35 a.m. GT Friday to "reports of a woman found unconscious," according to a statement from Scotland Yard.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. "Inquiries continue to establish the circumstances of the incident. Next of kin have been informed," the statement said.

Circumstances of the death being investigated, but are not suspicious at this stage, according to police.

The duchess spent three days at the hospital undergoing treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum, severe or debilitating nausea and vomiting. She was released from the hospital on Thursday morning.

The Tuesday morning prank call came from Australian DJ's Mel Greig and Michael Christian. They impersonated the royals, complete with exaggerated accents. They even enlisted two co-workers to bark like the queen's pet corgis.

The Sydney radio station, 2DayFM, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Twitter accounts of both radio personalities have been deactivated, but it is unknown when the accounts were shut down. The DJs are being heavily criticized on Twitter, with many people calling for them to resign or be fired.

The queen impersonator asked for her granddaughter and was promptly transferred to another hospital employee.

"I'm just after my granddaughter, Kate. I want to see how her little tummy bug is going," the radio host said, suppressing laughter.

"She's sleeping at the moment, and she has had an uneventful night and sleep is good for her," the nurse said. "She's been getting some fluids to rehydrate her because she was quite dehydrated when she came in, but she's stable at the moment."

The fake royals went on to ask when would be a good time to visit and were told that "anytime after 9 o'clock would be suitable."

"She's quite stable at the moment. She hasn't had any retching ... since I've been on duty. And she has been sleeping on and off. I think it's difficult sleeping in a strange bed as well," the nurse said.

The hospital apologized for the mistake.

"The call was transferred through to a ward, and a short conversation was held with one of the nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement. "King Edward VII's Hospital deeply regrets this incident."

"This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore," John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive, said in the statement. "We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously, and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols."

The radio station has since apologized for the prank call.

"2Day FM sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the inquiry to Kate's hospital. The radio segment was done with lighthearted intentions," the station said in a statement.

"We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents," the radio hosts said in the statement. "We're very sorry if we've caused any issues, and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well. We wish Kate and her family all the best."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

Queen Elizabeth II Shakes Hands with Former IRA Leader

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(BELFAST, Northern Ireland) -- In an event that was once considered unthinkable, Queen Elizabeth II shook hands on Wednesday with Martin McGuinness, a former commander of the Irish Republican Army who was once her sworn enemy.

McGuinness, now Ireland's deputy first minister, was a deputy leader of the IRA when it assassinated the Queen's cousin back in 1979.  The paramilitary fought against British rule for three decades.

Wednesday's historic handshake in Belfast is perhaps the symbolic end to one of the longest running sectarian conflicts in history.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

Famous London Clock Tower Renamed in Honor of Queen

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Old habits die hard, so it's anyone's guess whether Londoners can call the clock tower of Britain's parliament anything but Big Ben.

They may not have much of a choice since it's been renamed Elizabeth Tower by the House of Commons in a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as Britain continues to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.

Members of parliament say the honor is "in recognition of Her Majesty's 60 years of unbroken public service on behalf of her country."

"Big Ben" actually refers to the bell in the clock tower, but people in London -- and everywhere else for that matter -- have called the whole thing by that name for as long as anyone can remember.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

WATCH: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Message

Lewis Whyld - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth II waved to a cheering crowd outside of London's Buckingham Palace Tuesday, the final day of her Diamond Jubilee.

In a pre-recorded video, the queen thanked celebration organizers and well-wishers.

Watch the queen's message:

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Watch the ABC News special report:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

Diamond Jubilee Goes On with Prince Philip in the Hospital

Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince Philip celebrated his wife's Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday from the hospital, where we was admitted the day before with a bladder infection.

The prince, who turns 91 this weekend, will remain in the hospital for a few days as a precaution, palace officials say.

Prince Philip was "understandably, disappointed about missing this evening's Diamond Jubilee Concert," the palace said Monday.

Prince Charles noted his father's absence as he addressed the crowd.

"Only sad thing is that my father couldn't be here with us," Charles said.  "If we shout loud enough, he might just hear us in hospital."

His absence was also noticeable on Tuesday as Queen Elizabeth entered St. Paul's Cathedral on the final day of her celebrating 60 years on the throne.

"When you realized she was on her own and suddenly it reminded us that she's always with Prince Phillip, so very sad for her but he's a tough guy," British journalist and CNN TV-show host Piers Morgan said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America.

"I mean, it was brutal out there on Sunday.  It was a ghastly day so I suppose at the age of 90 it got a bit much for him but the family goes on.  They are incredibly stoic people," he said.

Prince Philip spent four nights in the hospital at Christmas after suffering chest pains and underwent a successful coronary stent procedure to clear a blocked artery.  Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, married Princess Elizabeth in 1947.  She took the throne as queen six years later.

The Diamond Jubilee went on as planned Monday despite the condition of Prince Philip, as many members of the royal family, including Charles' wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princes William and Harry sat in a royal box to watch Elton John, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and others perform.

The festivities began on Saturday and will end on Tuesday, with the queen delivering a televised address from Buckingham Palace, where she will thank the public for the past four days of celebrations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun042012

Queen Elizabeth II Honored with Diamond Jubilee Flotilla

Danny Martindale/WireImage(LONDON) -- The weather certainly wasn’t fit for a queen, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of some 1.2 million people who lined the banks of the River Thames on Sunday to watch Queen Elizabeth II float past on a royal barge to mark her 60 years on the British throne. 

The barge was turned into a veritable floating garden for the Diamond Jubilee event, and was surrounded by a thousand smaller boats, including 10 carrying choirs and musicians.

The 86-year-old queen, dressed in a silver and white dress and matching coat, led a flotilla down a seven-mile stretch of the river to Tower Bridge, which was raised in her honor.

The royal family was on board as well, including Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who some say stole the show on the gray and rainy day by wearing a red-above-the-knee dress with a matching red hat.

Not everyone was thrilled about the celebration.  A small group of protesters gathered at the Tower Bridge to protest what one said was the "unaccountable power of the crown."  The protestors chanted "Democracy now"  but the group was drowned out most of the time by people who delivered impromptu renditions of "God Save The Queen."

Despite the protests, The Daily Mail reports a poll conducted Saturday found seven out of 10 Brits believe the nation is better off with the monarchy.

There is now a call amongst British lawmakers to formerly rename the east tower at the Palace of Westminster "The Elizabeth Tower."  The tower is commonly referred to as Big Ben because that’s the name of the bell inside the tower, but officials would like the tower itself to honor the queen for her Diamond Jubilee. 

The tower at the other end of Westminster was originally known as the King’s Tower, but was renamed Victoria Tower in honor of the late monarch.

The Diamond Jubilee celebrations continue on Monday with the Queen and the royal family attending a concert.  On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth will attend a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, followed by lunch and an appearance on a balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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