Britain's much-loved Queen Mother Elizabeth is due to leave hospital today after receiving a blood transfusion for anemia.
The "Queen Mum," who is due to celebrate her 101st birthday on Saturday, was resting at London's King Edward VII hospital after a "successful" transfusion, said a royal official in London today.
"The treatment has been completed satisfactorily and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother will be returning [home] this evening," said a spokeswoman at the Queen Mother's residence, Clarence House.
On Wednesday, the Queen Mum alarmed her many fans and admirers when she walked into the hospital for a blood transfusion and tests to determine why her red blood cell count is so low.
Traditionally, the Queen Mother appears outside the gates of her residence with other members of the royal family on her birthday. She greets well-wishers, who present her with gifts and cards.
Downplaying Health Concerns Amid Heat
The enormously popular Queen Mother's health and general well-being has always been a matter of concern and interest to the British public. But her aides have played down fears over her condition. "There is no cause for alarm," said her private secretary, Sir Alistair Aird.
Recent events, however, tend to suggest that the situation is a little more serious, especially given her advanced years. The usually energetic centenarian had to pull out of an official function Wednesday. She had been due to attend a stone-laying ceremony honoring the colonial war dead near Buckingham Palace, but doctors said she was suffering from heat exhaustion. Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, took her place at the engagement.
An official statement from Clarence House released on Tuesday said, "Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, is suffering from mild heat exhaustion and has been advised to rest."
Britain has been basking in an unexpected heat wave recently with temperatures rising past 90 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.
The hot weather has clearly taken its toll after an especially hectic week of public engagements for the Queen Mother. She visited Ascot horse races last Saturday to watch the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Last Wednesday, she attended Sandringham Flower Show with her grandson Prince Charles, the heir to the throne. The previous week she had visited Woolmer Castle in Kent.
These outings into the heat were exacerbated as Clarence House does not have air conditioning.
It was while she was receiving medical treatment for this initial ailment that her anemia was diagnosed.
Beloved Matriarch ‘Never Gives In’
The Queen Mother is perhaps Britain's best-loved royal. She is the widow of King George VI, who ascended the throne on the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, on Dec. 11, 1936. Edward had caused scandal and controversy by giving up the crown to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson.
After the unexpected accession, the new queen managed to hold the royal family together following the abdication fiasco.
Her popularity among the British people grew considerably during World War II when instead of evacuating with her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, to North America; she remained in London and endured the horrors of the Blitz. She was in Buckingham Palace when it was bombed in September 1940, and boosted public morale by visiting areas throughout the country that had been devastated by air raids.
Adolf Hitler described her as the "most dangerous woman in Europe," primarily because of her positive effect on public morale.
Known for her remarkable energy, the Queen Mother still carries out many public engagements, although the number has steadily decreased over the years. She is the patron or president of almost 350 organizations.
Her health has always been generally good, although she has suffered from age-related problems. She has endured two hip replacement operations: the first in 1995 and the second in 1997. She has also suffered from persistent ulcers on her left leg, which is usually bound up in bandages. In November 2000, she fractured her collarbone in a fall at her London home.
"The Queen Mother never gives in," says royal biographer Christopher Warwick. "That should be the motto for her life."