Britain is on high alert following the announcement that Queen Elizabeth II was put under medical supervision at her Balmoral estate in Scotland after her doctors expressed concerns about her health.
Although the world’s longest-reigning monarch, aged 96, has scaled back her royal duties in recent years—including most recently her decision to appoint the country’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss from Balmoral instead of Buckingham Palace, where such appointments are traditionally done—the announcement on the status of her health is nonetheless a significant development. Buckingham Palace doesn’t issue such statements lightly, and the fact that senior members of the royal family, including the Queen’s immediate successors Prince Charles and Prince William, are gathering at Balmoral to be with the monarch suggests that the prognosis is more serious than previously known.
The development comes at an already critical political juncture for Britain, which only days ago welcomed its 56th prime minister, Truss, to Downing Street. The last public image of the Queen was released following her formal swearing in of Truss to the premiership on Tuesday, the 15th such appointment to take place during the Queen’s 70-year reign. (The first, Winston Churchill, was appointed in 1952). “The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime,” Truss said in a statement on her Twitter account. Similar outpourings of support for the Queen were issued by British leaders across the political spectrum.