Queen Elizabeth II appears in public after heavy cold

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday made her first public appearance for over a month after missing traditional Christmas events due to a heavy cold.

The 90-year-old attended a Sunday church service at her private Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England, having missed a New Year's Day church service due to an illness that also forced her to delay her Christmas plans.

The world's longest reigning monarch was filmed getting out of a royal car at around 10:55 am (1055 GMT) for the service, accompanied by 95-year-old husband Prince Philip, who was also hit by the bug.

Despite her illness, the queen continued to receive her red boxes containing official papers, and spent Christmas at Sandringham with members of her family, as normal.

However, the royal couple's journey from London to the estate was delayed by a day because of their illnesses.

When she failed to appear on Christmas Day, speculation grew about the queen's health, and a fake report on Twitter that she died prompted news stories in some of the tabloid newspapers.

Fears grew when she missed the traditional New Year's Day service, with Buckingham Palace saying she "does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold."

British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that the monarch had a persistent "hacking cough" and was worried about disturbing other worshippers.

When asked about her mother's health, daughter Princess Anne said she was "better", according to the Daily Mirror.

© Provided by AFP Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visited Westminster Abbey in November 2016, in one of her last public appearances before she fell ill with a heavy cold just before Christmas

Queen Elizabeth II goes to church after recovering from heavy cold

One can never be too careful when one is 90 years old with a nasty cold.

Queen Elizabeth II, the indomitable nonagenarian who has reigned Britain for nearly 65 years, went to church Sunday near her Norfolk estate, a weekly ritual interrupted on Christmas and New Year's by a "heavy cold" that kept her and, initially, husband Prince Philip, 95, indoors.

It was the first time the queen had been seen in public since early December, and her reappearance, in her familiar brightly colored coat and hat, led to discrete sighs of relief around Britain: She's back on the job.

Prince Philip accompanied her to St. Mary Magdalene Church on her Sandringham estate, about two hours northeast of London by train, and both seemed well as they walked back and forth from their Bentley, seemingly recovered from their colds.

Philip apparently recuperated even more quickly than his wife, since he turned up for the New Year's service last Sunday without her.

The royal couple were accompanied by their grandson Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate of Cambridge, who turns 35 Monday, and other members of the royal family, who walked the short distance from Sandringham to the church.

Also there were the former Kate Middleton's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, sister Pippa Middleton and her fiancé James Matthews, and brother James Middleton. Will and Kate live nearby at their country retreat, Anmer Hall, on the Sandringham estate.

The queen was applauded by well-wishers as she arrived at the church. She was dressed in a royal blue coat and matching hat, as per usual. Even the blanket on her knees in the car was blue.

"Lovely to see you Ma'am!," shouted the Daily Mail headline. "Queen finally wins battle over heavy cold to attend church after a MONTH indoors."

The queen, who as monarch is head of the Church of England, is as devoted to church as she is to duty and ritual. In nearly three decades, she has almost never missed an important religious service where she is expected to appear.

She and Philip were too unwell from what Buckingham Palace described as "heavy colds" to travel by train before Christmas to Sandringham, where they go every year for the holidays, and instead were flown there by helicopter the next day.

Neither appeared for Christmas Day services with the rest of the family, and only Philip appeared for New Year's services.

Last Sunday, a palace statement said only that, "The Queen does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold." The palace did not announce ahead of time that she would be attending Sunday.

The queen's 65th anniversary as sovereign — she is Britain's longest-reigning monarch — is next month; a vast majority of people in Britain and the Commonwealth nations where she reigns have never known anyone else on the throne. She has rarely been ill, even after she became a senior citizen, so her non-appearance caused alarm.

Now that she's entered her 10th decade, she has cut down on overseas travel and patronages, turning some of her job over to her son and heir, Prince Charles, and his son, Prince William. But she and Philip still show up for hundreds of public appearances per year.

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