Queen leaves hospital after illness
The Queen has left hospital after spending just 24 hours being treated for symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Looking relaxed and smiling, she appeared on the steps of King Edward VII's Hospital in central London and walked to her waiting limousine.
The Queen was admitted on Sunday for assessment by doctors after being struck down by the stomach bug on Friday.
Her illness forced her to cancel a trip to Rome to meet the country's president Giorgio Napolitano for a private lunch on Thursday. Being admitted raised concerns about the Queen's health generally as this is the first time the 86-year-old has been treated overnight at hospital in 10 years.
But she looked well and cheerful as she said goodbye to a uniformed member of staff who curtseyed to her. The Queen, who wore a scarlet coat, was driven away by a chauffeur and is likely to spend time convalescing at her favourite home, Windsor Castle.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman declined to discuss in detail her condition and just said that she remained in "good spirits".
The spokeswoman confirmed that the Queen's diary for this week would remain suspended. She said: "Engagements cancelled or postponed this week remain so. Next week we'll have to see, as she has only just been released from hospital." The Queen has a number of events next week including the annual Commonwealth Observance multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey in London. At the engagement, usually attended by other senior royals, the monarch's pre-recorded video message to the family of nations will be broadcast to the 2,000-strong congregation on March 11.
Soon after leaving hospital the Queen's royal standard was raised above Buckingham Palace, indicating her first stop was her official London home.
Despite being ill since Friday the monarch was well enough on Sunday to meet an employee privately to award her a medal for long service. Aside from aides visiting shortly before her departure the Queen did not receive any visitors from the Royal Family during her time in the hospital, which also cared for the Duchess of Cambridge when she suffered from severe pregnancy sickness in December. The Queen was last admitted to hospital in December 2003 for an operation to remove torn cartilage from her left knee.
This evening the Duke of Edinburgh will undertake a solo public engagement. Philip will attend the Imperial Poona Yacht Club's private reception and dinner in London's Knightsbridge in his role as an honorary member of the club.